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Flag and faith: flags in sanctuary

Flag and faith: flags in sanctuary

Vanessas Gonzalez Kraft, writing at Busted Halo, raises the issue of flags in churches

When I was a kid, I always enjoyed holding my hand over my heart and saying the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the school day. I love singing the “Star-Spangled Banner” at the beginning of baseball games. My heart can’t help but swell with pride for my country. My dad, being from Mexico, always made sure I knew how blessed I was to be born and live in the United States of America.

That being said, my first allegiance is to God. When it comes to “God stuff” in “State stuff,” I have no problems. I think it’s great that the Pledge of Allegiance includes “one nation under God.” I know the Knights of Columbus fought hard for this addition. It is citing the correct order of things — God first, Country second.

As Christians, I do believe that we are called to be patriotic and to perform our civic duty. I see nothing incompatible with a patriotic Catholic who has pride in his/her country. But in the physical space of the Mass, in that sacred place, our country is heaven and our allegiance is to God.

This being a country with a very large immigrant population, I have often wondered if immigrants feel somewhat excluded when they are in Mass and see a flag up there by Jesus. Do they feel like the church is telling them that Jesus is only for the American citizens?

What do you think? Does your church have the US flag displayed? Where?


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Earl Barber

The Episocopal parish I used to attend moved the flags to the narthex, Episcopal and USA flags on each side of the door.

The one I attend now has them pretty much ‘out of sight’ by placing them in our ‘modern’ sanctuary.

By that, I mean the choir stands behind the altar, the musicians to each side. The flags are to the sides of the musicians.

In other words, they are not occupying a space that is in the visual, focal, focused range of the congregants. In fact, it is easy to NOT see the flags there.

As noted by others, I do approve of the addition of the USA flag on appropriate days of remembrance and honor for our country’s servants in what they (and most of us) believe to be in the honor and purpose of our Christ.

Kurt Huber

We have an Episcopal and an American flag that hang off the balcony on the side aisles of the Church.

They seem to fit in just fine in this 200 year old Church…

Rev. Kurt Huber

St. Peter’s, Monroe

tobias haller

My parish has the US, TEC and Anglican Communion flags all in a side chapel. The US and TEC used to fly from the rear of the church over the central doors, but the plaster was cracking and they came down to stand in the chapel. In addition, my parish has the national flags of the twenty or more countries from which members of my congregation hail, as well as the “Pride” (Rainbow) flag among them, all lining the top of the partition dividing the pews and the “narthex” (such as it is).

Apps 55753818692 1675970731 F785b701a6d1b8c33f0408

Our parish has the Episcopal Church flag and the American Flag displayed in the narthex. They used to be in the sanctuary but were moved in response to concerns about the appropriateness of their presence. This was before my I came to the parish but my impression is that we want to send the message that all are welcome, not just Americans and not just Episcopalians.

[Thank you for your comment. Our comment policy requires you include your first and last name. – ed.]

Kate Jackson

My church (TEC) has a flagpole outside in an appropriate location for both faith and nation flags.

My mother’s church (RCC) carries the nation’s flag into the sanctuary only on special occasions where prayers are offered specifically for the country (such as national holidays like Memorial Day or Labor Day), for a military funeral/wedding/ceremony, or when the BSA (Boy Scouts of America) are assisting with a service in some way (which is a few times a year, as the deacon is both a scoutmaster and the troop’s chaplain). And on those occasions, the flags are carried in at the start of Mass, and removed immediately after.

Both, I think, are appropriate.

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