Should churches display the American flag?

Christianity Today hosts a forum on whether or not churches should display the American flag in their sanctuaries. Douglas Wilson says no, Lisa Velthouse says yes, and Russell Moore says “yes, but…” Wilson and Moore have some characteristic rhetorical greatness in their short reflections. After arguing against displaying the flag in the sanctuary, Wilson does insist that Christians ought to fly it elsewhere:

Being a Christian doesn’t mean we should hate our home country, just that we should know how to rightly order our allegiances. This is why, in my ideal scenario, the elders who vote in session to remove the American flag from the sanctuary should all have that same flag on their pickup trucks, right next to the gun rack.

And from Russell Moore:

There will come a day when Old Glory yields to an older glory, when the new republic succumbs to a new creation. Until then, let’s reorder all our affections, including our flag-waving. But let’s do so maintaining the paradoxical tension of “resident aliens.” There is no need to play “Rapture the Flag.”

Read the rest here.

7 Responses to Should churches display the American flag?

  1. Paula Bolyard July 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    Our (Regular Baptist) church displays the American flag and it’s a reminder to me that we live in a country where we can freely worship and freely speak about our faith. When I look at it, I often offer a silent prayer of thanks to God for those freedoms and for those who died to protect them. Though those freedoms are ultimately God-given, they are enshrined in our Constitution and our civil law. It’s something unique about our country and whether one is an American by birth or an immigrant or just passing through on vacation, he should be able to look at the flag as a representation of the unique freedoms our country has historically offered and appreciate the contributions those freedoms have made to the world.

  2. Matt Svoboda July 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    No. Good job Doug Wilson!

    Man, it is hard to disagree with Dr. Moore.

  3. Reg Schofield July 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    As a Canadian and yes many of us are patriotic just in a different way , I have a Canadian flag on my car and in the house but when I walk through my Church doors , I’m entering God’s place of worship. By not having a flag present I’m reminded that although I live and have my being in Canada , ultimately this is not my home nor is it my first allegiance. I will lawfully do my best to live peacefully but I know I’m a pilgrim and sojourner . If there comes a day when my country goes against God’s word , who’s kidding who its happening as I speak , my soul and loyalties must be with my King and Lord . Just my thoughts as a Canuck .

  4. Eric Schumacher July 5, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

    An interesting dilemma is how to display the flag, if the so-called “Christian flag” is also displayed.

    US flash code requires that the US flag be given the place if honor over all other flags it is displayed with.

    If flag code is honored, then Christianity takes a symbolic second seat below America. OR, one must dishonor the nation by violating it’s flag code.

    IMO: It’s best to not display the US flag, for Wilsons reasons. And then we don’t have to invent that goofy Christian flag. 🙂

  5. Jack Bailey July 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    Dear Mr. Burk I believe the only reason America came through all the trials and test, wars, etc. is because God’s Almighty hand was with George Washington, when the three bullet holes went through the tail of his coat but didn’t touch him. There are so many divine happenings which came about, only God could have sustained our men and guided their coarses so exact.
    I believe America is God’s gift to the world for those who love Him and wish to serve Him.
    Yes, I believe our churches should fly the American Flag. It remindes me of the hundredes of thousands of men who have given the ultimate sacrifice,even in foriegn lands, that has made it so we can worship freely. I lost a cousin in Veitnam and one in Iraq.
    I am wiery of aliens telling us what to do, if they don’t like it they can go home.
    The Lord challenged us to be Honest and Straight Forward.

  6. donsands July 5, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    I agree with Doug Wilson for the most part.

    “It is unlikely that we as Christians would display another country’s flag, such as the flag of communist China, in a sanctuary”; And not even Israel’s flag, which some churches in America have displayed as well as the American flag.

    Good article. Thanks.

  7. Steve Moss July 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    This is a logical question regarding the separation of church & state. I have no issue, per se, with a Christian symbol being placed on public property. In this case the situation is reversed: a state symbol is being placed on church property. As long as it is voluntary, I see no issue.

    However, my greater concern is with the idolatry that we unconsciously embrace when we venerate our country so highly. Perhaps I suffer from it a bit. The song America can bring me to tears.

    Steve
    Member, Monticello Association

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