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Time to remove national flag from sanctuary?

Time to remove national flag from sanctuary?

Benjamin L. Corey writing in his blog on Patheos thinks it’s time to remove national flags from sanctuaries:

61px-Us_flag_with_eagle.jpgDisplaying the American flag in the church sanctuary is one of those issues I see which has slowly crept in over time, and has now become a firm tradition for many churches. For those those of us on the journey to follow a more counter-cultural Jesus, I think it’s time we start asking our churches: “is it time for us to remove the flag from the church sanctuary?”

My answer is an overwhelming “yes, it is”, and I hope that others will begin questioning this practice as well. Here are a few reasons why it is time:

Us flag with eagle” by Mightymights


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Dirk C. Reinken

I’ve been all over the map on this one. I think it’s important to remember the flag is the flag of the nation, not the government or the ruling party. Thus, it is the people’s flag, and it has strong cultural attachments as a result.

If we bring other elements of who we are into church with us, why not the flag that represents our national identity? It is impossible to separate our story as the people of God from our story as Americans.

Likewise, I would have no difficulty with the Taiwenese flag being displayed in a Taiwanese sanctuary or where the Bishops are gathering today.

I remember getting word in Stratford one summer that my grandfather, a retired Navy Captain and WW2 veteran, had died. I went to Holy Trinity church the next morning for their mid-week service to pray, and was struck by the American flag sitting in the sanctuary, with a plaque expressing gratitude for American support in WW2.

Flags are made for the people, not people for the flag. Just don’t commit idolatry.

Geoffrey McLarney

The story is told of a Remembrance Sunday service at St James’ Cathedral in Toronto when Hugh Stiff was bishop-dean. The CO of the regiment wished to “lay up” the colours on the altar, which Bishop Stiff would not countenance. When the CO protested that the flag had been consecrated, Stiff replied, “So have I, but you don’t see me lying on the altar!”

Lisa Shirley Jones

I have always been to church that have flags and have not found it particularly distracting. I personally do not say the pledge of allegiance because I believe it is against my faith. I am a patriot and am married to a disabled veteran, but as much as I love my country, I will not pledge my allegiance to it or pray that it succeeds over other countries. But my ancestry is Native American so I guess I have more nuanced feelings than most Americans. I simply love the land that God created and Man calls America. With that said, I think there are many more battles to fight besides this one. HOWEVER, I once went to a church that sang the national anthem at every church service. Nope.

tobias haller

I don’t have any flags in the sanctuary, but the US and Anglican Communion and TEC flags are in the transept, and the 20 or so national flags representing the nationalities of my multicultural congregation line the back of the nave.

I see this as unity in diversity: all these symbols (and the people) gather in the same place to worship One God.

Lionel Deimel

I don’t have strong feelings about flags in church, but I am inclined to think there is a good case for an American flag in an Episcopal Church. See my essay “Flags in Church.”

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