Christian Flag over American Flag?

DrillMaster Commentary, DrillCenter News 6 Comments

As a Christian, I get it. On church grounds, inside or out, the Christian flag should be flown above the American during services or really, all the time. After all, God is the One in control. However, Christians know that we are to follow the rules of those appointed to authority (Romans 13). Those rules state that no other flag is placed to the right or above the American flag (US Flag Code).

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake.

1 Peter 2:13

I’ve gone back and forth about this, but have come to the conclusion, after about five years of scripture and flag display information reading/studying, the Christian flag needs to be subordinate to the American. It is the best decision to follow scriptural guidance, even though I may feel the Christian flag should be in its rightful place of prominence, subordinate to no other flag. However, it is not about how I feel, it is about submitting to authority, as internally uncomfortable as that may be.

The following is an excerpt from my book, The Honor Guard Manual.

MYTH

“Nothing can be above the American flag.” Part II

Let’s take a look at some information on the subject.

  • American Law: The Bill of Rights, Article 1, The Constitution of the United States: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
  • The United States Navy: During the Service of Divine Worship led by the Fleet Chaplain, a triangular Pennant of White with a blue Latin cross is flown at the masthead above the American flag.
  • Flag and Protocol Manuals from each service say basically the following: Placed in mourning. Flags carried by troops will not be placed in mourning unless ordered by the President or the Secretary of the Army. When so ordered, a streamer of black crepe 7 feet long and 1 foot wide will be attached to the staff at the center of the streamer immediately below the spearhead of the U.S. flag and the organizational flag. Example text from AR 840-10
  • The State of California: Excerpted from Stars, Stripes and Statues, National Flag Foundation, p. 66, item 2. No flag or pennant shall be placed above, or if on the same level, to the right of, the United States flag, except flags flown during church services. (Emphasis mine)

The Unofficial Code for the Christian Flag

DrillMaster Note: this Code does not replace the United States Flag Code. Again, the Flag Code states that no flag will be placed to the right of or above the American flag. Period.

The following is paraphrased from www.steve4u.com/christian/facts.htm.

  1. When the Christian flag is on the floor level, the Christian flag is placed to the right, front, of the congregation and outside of the communion railing (if present).
  2. When the Christian flag is placed within the chancel, communion railing or choir loft, it is placed to the right side of the pastor, and of the choir as they face the congregation.
  3. When the Christian flag is displayed with the American flag and other flags:
    1. DrillMaster Note: the Christian flag should be displayed alone or with the American flag as a minimum. The Christian flag should not be displayed with other flags without the American flag.
    2. Place the American flag and other flags symmetrically on the opposite side of the sanctuary and on the same level as the Christian flag.
    3. If desired, it is also proper to place the Christian and national flags side-by-side wherever stationed in the church, thus symbolizing both the spiritual and patriotic loyalties of the congregation.
    4. When the flags are placed side-by-side, the Christian flag is always stationed on the right of all other flags.
    5. The Christian flag never dips to any other flag. It should dip to the Cross.
  4. Use of the Christian flag in other situations:
    1. Where a Cross is carried in a processional, the Cross leads, followed by the Christian flag.
    2. In a single-column formation processional, the Christian flag precedes all other flags.
    3. In a double-column formation processional, the Christian flag is on the right.
    4. When the Christian flag is on the same flagpole with any other flag, the Christian flag receives the top position.
    5. Where the Christian flag and another flag are on separate poles, the Christian flag is on the right as it faces the street or audience (viewer’s left).
    6. When posting the Christian flag staff in its base, it should be adjusted so that the blue canton and Cross are turned toward the congregation, fringe gather facing forward, and draped to its left (viewer’s right).

 

Comments 6

  1. Thanks for this post! I have a question. You say it is a myth that the American flag must always have primacy. I have seen this:

    The Flag Code (United States Statutes at Large, Seventy-seventh Congress, Second Session 1942, Volume 56 — Part I, Public Laws) states in Section 3 (k):

    “When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the [American] flag should occupy the position of honor and be placed at the clergyman’s or speaker’s right as he faces the congregation or audience. Any other flag so displayed in the chancel or on the platform should be placed to the clergyman’s or speaker’s left as he faces the congregation or audience. But when the flag is displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium elsewhere than in the chancel or on the platform, it shall be placed in the position of honor at the right of the congregation or audience as they face the chancel or platform. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the congregation or audience as they face the chancel or platform.”

    You list the examples of a Navy tradition and a California law that seem to contradict this but do you know of any federal law that qualifies the above statute concerning church worship? The federal law seems quite explicit about what is to be done in church and it does not allow for the American flag to be on the left.

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  2. “… do you know of any federal law that qualifies the above statute concerning church worship? ”

    I’m trying to determine if there is a FEDERAL law that makes the exception for worship. It reads to me like there is a conflict between what the California law says and the Flag Code says. How do we resolve that?

    Thanks!

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      Great question. My research came up with what you read here on my site. Just don’t know how to resolve it. I do know that the Christian churches I attended over the years had the Christian flag to the right of the American.

      1. Thanks for your feedback. I have found no simple resolution to the conflicting rules either. This is very helpful to a discussion we are presently having in our congregation. Peace! Mike

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