From the Nov/Dec, 2014 issue of Touchstone


Flagging Faith by S. M. Hutchens


Flagging Faith

Caesar in the Sanctuary

When used on a speaker's platform, the flag [of the United States], if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right of the audience. [From the United States Flag Code, 4 U.S.C. 7(k)]

Sometime in the early twentieth century, an emblem called the Christian Flag was invented, a white flag with a blue canton containing a red Latin cross in the corner where the union is found on the United States flag. By all accounts this flag stands for the kingdom of Christ. In churches it is typically displayed at the rear of chancel or platform, to the left of the clergyman or speaker as he faces the audience, in the place of lesser honor, while the flag of the United States, in accordance with the law cited above, is given the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right.

Churches that display the Christian and U.S. flags together must give the flag of the state the place of honor over that of the kingdom of Christ or violate federal law. For American Christians, to bear vexillological witness to the cosmic order in which they believe, that is, in the infinite superiority of the eternal kingdom of the Savior, and their primary obligation of loyalty to that kingdom over every earthly polis, they must break the law of their country. Can there be any question among us that the kingdom of Christ, and hence its symbols, "should hold the position of superior prominence" when displayed with the emblems of any country, including those of the United States of America?

There are many reasons one might oppose a call to stop the unfaithful practice of elevating the flag of any nation in this manner, the most plausible of them involving the testimony of blood shed for our freedom. But there is precisely the point.

—S. M. Hutchens, for the editors

S. M. Hutchens is a senior editor and the book review editor of Touchstone.

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