Blog Musings

How Patriotic Should Christians Be?

Does this not seem strange to anyone else?

According to the United States Flag Code:

When used on a speaker’s platform, the flag, 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. (emphasis mine)

How about now?

When did Christians become okay with giving more honor to the flag that represents the country they live in than to the flag representing the God we serve?  I’m not a fan of having the United States flag anywhere inside the church, but if you insist on having it in your church, could you at least put it in its proper place?  I realize that flags are just pieces of fabric, but when you display a flag you are expressing your loyalty to whatever that flag represents.  And the flag that you place in the position of prominence and highest honor tells everyone who you are most loyal to.

It drives me nuts when I go into a church or Christian organization and I see the United States flag displayed, especially when it is above the Christian flag or the Christian flag is not present.  By doing this it tells people that your ultimate loyalty is to the United States.  Our loyalty should not be to any country, state, organization, or system, but to God and God alone.  That is why I have issues with flying the United States flag inside church buildings.

It’s also why I struggle with saying the Pledge Of Allegiance.

I pledge allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America,
and to the republic for which it stands,
one nation under God, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.

I guess my biggest issue with all this is whether or not it’s possible to profess allegiance and be loyal to both God and the country I live in.  My ultimate loyalty will always be to God, but loyalty to a country can change.  If I were a citizen of Djibouti, would my loyalty and allegiance be to America or Djibouti?  I would probably be okay with pledging my allegiance to the United States above any other country, since it’s where I was born and where I live, but I’m not okay with pledging my allegiance in general to a flag or a country.

I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this, but not too long ago I was at a function at a church and they had everyone stand up and say the Pledge of Allegiance.  I just couldn’t wrap my head around how they could think that it seemed like a good idea.  It was at a graduation ceremony for a preschool at a church in town and they had the kids singing church songs and patriotic songs, one right after the other.  When did American patriotism become so intertwined with Christianity in this country?  And why do Christians seem so okay with them being so closely bound and get so upset and defensive when other people aren’t as patriotic as they think they should be?

Please don’t misunderstand – I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be appreciative of the rights and freedom that we have as a result of living in America.  We should appreciate and be thankful for the rights and freedom that we are afforded as a result of living where we do.  We should be thankful for, respect, and honor those in the military and public service who have sacrificed their time, effort, energy, and lives to protect us and our freedom.  We should show a certain amount of respect to the flag and what it represents.  What we shouldn’t do is be more devoted to the country in which we live than to the Kingdom to which we belong.

Be patriotic if you want.  Be appreciative and grateful that you live where you do.  Show respect to the country, the flag, and those who have given so much so that you may have something to respect and be appreciative of.  Just don’t forget that God and His Church must take priority over whatever country, state, or city you live in.  Nations will come and go, but the Kingdom of God will reign forever.