Question of the Day: Should National Flags be in the Sanctuary

Sunday is July 4th, and I imagine that many congregations will be draped in red, white, and blue, but before we even get there, most congregations have two flags in their sanctuary – the U.S., the State and sometimes, a third, Israel.

But, should sanctuaries host nationalism and patriotic pride daily?

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14 Replies to “Question of the Day: Should National Flags be in the Sanctuary”

  1. I think it's okay to have such on display, since many churches pray for those entities. However, I do not think it's okay to push nationalism and force the issue from the pulpit. Made to feel uncomfortable by a pastor saying such as, “If you do not support national Israel, then something is wrong with your salvation,” or the like. I have had that kind of rhetoric before, and it frightens me. People on that line have been drinking far too much dispensational waters in that case. Basically, the Jews are better than us, and the Muslims are all bastard offshoots. It's sickening to hear such a rabid frothing at the mouth labled as “support for Israel, while not voicing the same concern for Muslims and people who are not believers.

    Okay to pray for these things, yes. Okay to force dispensationalism on unsuspecting visitors or passers by or themed services when they are trying to get a flavor for the church while visiting, and require that dispensationalism be a addendum or further requirement fo rsalvation, not okay.

  2. I think not, unless a flag is there for a special day or occasion such as a national day or funeral. The center of attention should be Jesus, not a flag or anything else.

  3. In our sanctuary we have no US flag, no state flag, and no flag of Israel. We do, however, have about ten other flags on the side walls along with plaques under them giving info about the countries the flags represent. This is done for missions purposes. As a congregation, we have a tie to most of these countries via missionaries.

  4. Interesting question, Joel. We actually talked about this in one of my Ethics classes. Basically, the flag has to be on the right (position of authority) with no other flag or pennant being over or to the right of the US flag (US Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Section 175 c). Therefore, the US flag cannot be in a Christian church's sanctuary, because as Gerard rightly points out, Christ is the center of attention.

  5. No. The church is the embassy of God. No other sovereignty should be acknowledged on divine grounds.

    Besides, it's strange to see a national flag in a sanctuary that goes out of its way not to have idolatrous graven images, as so many Protestant sanctuaries do.

  6. as an outsider, it's just plain nutty as are the weird flags all over airports bombarding foreigners like me with God Bless America on them. Yup God blessem indeed, conceited that they be. I'm relieved that not all americans run around echoing that maxim. Our national anthem (oh why do we have to have one?) begins God of Nations which I find quite repulsive. God, if there is one, would not be God of nation states at all but God of humanity and animality and planety. I know not one Kiwi who approves of that silly song, we all want it burned and buried. It was written by a Scottish person anyway!!

  7. Wait… if a Scottish person wrote it…

    I am not a maxim type of guy. I believe that while non-sectarian displays of patriotism is fine (once we really determine what patriotism is) I don't want it in the sectarian atmosphere. Further, as I Christian, I try to live by the maxims found in the Epistle to Diognetus, in that as Christians we are citizens of every nation, but alien all.

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