Christian Flag over American Flag?

DrillMasterCommentary, DrillCenter News, Instructional, Protocol and Flag 33 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 and several other passages in scripture). 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.


“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 (emphasis mine).
  • 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

  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 positioned to the left of all national, state, and territory flags and to the right of organizational flags.
    5. The Christian flag dips to national flags and 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 follows national, state, and territory flags and precedes organizational flags.
    3. In a column of twos formation processional, the Christian flag is to the left of national, state, and territory flags .
    4. When the Christian flag is flown from the same halyard, it is flown below the American flag. The standard is to have only two flags flown from the same halyard. Other national flags must be flown from separate pole/halyards.
    5. Where the Christian flag and another flag are on separate halyards/poles, the Christian flag is on the left as it faces the street or audience (viewer’s right).
    6. When posting the Christian flagstaff inside a 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 33

  1. The Flag Code is primarily focused on government use and display of the nation’s flag. Not civilian display of the flag. The reason it’s not a crime for civilians is because it’s not a law for civilians. As such, civilians are not breaking any laws (or being insubordinate) by flying the Christian flag above the other. If they were breaking laws, then there might be need for discussing submission to government and to what extent, but there’s nothing illegal going on here.

    Now, you’ll likely receive some sort of reprimand if you’re in a government position and displaying the flag against the Flag Code, particularly on government grounds, but maybe even just at your own house, which you rent or pay for using your government income. As such, you might argue that etiquette should be followed anywhere and at all times if you are a government employee, regardless law or not.

    But there are lots of things the government does and has made rules or policies for which do not apply to civilians. This is one of them.

    If I have both flags in hand and only one pole, I would never fly the government flag over the Christian flag. If I’m going to represent both in some way, it’s God, then country. And we have the freedom to say as much, and act on that belief.

    We often forget Who (capital W) gave us this country and our freedoms to begin with. God, through primarily Christian men who wanted a fairer and more accountable government.

    One day we may not have this particular freedom, but until that time, I’m going to place God, my faith in Him, and my reliance on Him in His proper seat. And I’d probably still do so if/when we no longer have the freedom. I will say that I’d rather be in jail and/or pay fines because I chose to honor God than to submit to a government who’s chosen to place itself over Him.

    The fact of the matter is I choose God over country every day of the week, and I love this country. Served my 4 years in the US Army. Honorably discharged. I don’t regret the time I spent in, and I recommend it for young people who either know with every fiber that they want to serve their country, or kids with no direction and don’t even know who or what they want to serve. The military has room for all types.

    All that said, I’m by no means a perfect Christian. I struggle a whole lot, and in a whole lot of ways, but I’ll go down swinging defending God’s sovereignty and right over my life against false gods and their idol worshippers. He’s at the top, always.

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      And you’re 100% wrong. What a ridiculous and unnecessarily long diatribe. The Flag Code is EXACTLY for civilians. It’s ideas were taken from military manuals shortly after the end of WWII with the specific intention of being applicable to every American not governed by military manuals, i.e. civilian Americans. It’s also applicable to local government.

      The reason the law is no longer enforced is because SCOTUS declared Desi ration “freedom of speech”.

      It’s people like you who screw up clear communication by putting in your “two cents” that end up producing a negative balance in the end.

      Please read The Three “Codes”, here:

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  2. Question-What is the proper order to say the pledges,and where is it written on proper protocol or etiquette?
    Everywhere that has done a flag a ceremony reciting pledges that I have seen or remember normally start with the American flag,State flag if there is a pledge (Texas),Christian flag,and Pledge to the Bible.

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  3. I too have wrestled with this issue and have come to a different conclusion. First, the scriptural injunction to obey governing authorities is not without qualification. We are to obey God, rather than men. Second, the US flag code says that the flags of other nations are not to be displayed on the same halyard as the American flag. Certainly this applies to the Kingdom of God. So I make a practice of using separate poles. Just my opinion.

  4. Hello, I have a question, our church has flag poles for both the US Flag and the Christian Flag and they are flown side by side. For days where the US Flag goes to half staff, is it customary for the Christian Flag to also go to half staff (thinking Pearl Harbor Day, or the recent death of a Supreme Court Justice, for example)? Thank you!

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  5. I agree to some extent with your explanation but I would like to remind you of our pledge of allegiance….one nation under God. This means no nation, especially ours, is above God. A nation must humble itself before God, it must serve God, it must be subservient to God in order to have his protection. America is the only nation that had been founded and its existence was dedicated to God.His laws were to be our laws.Now in the depths of the apostasy of this age it is a bad time to perpetuate it. While we may “render unto Cesar that which is Cesar’s.and follow the laws of our government we must still put God above country as was always intended. To ever put your country before god or above him is clearly disrespectful. My compromise is to fly the Christian flag above the American flag at service and at home. I’m not involved in flying either in public. But if I did I would fly a small Christian flag pendant at the top of the pole above the American flag. As a nation I believe it is high time we put things in righteous order. What would be the issue with flying the pendant at the top of the pole?

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      Whether you agree or not with my explanation is immaterial. This about protocol and nothing else.

      Flying a pendant wouldn’t be practical. The pennant is explained in military manuals.

    2. Totally agree!, One Nation “Under” God. Could you send a picture of the pendant you’re talking about? I am getting ready in the next year to put a large flag pole in my yard and was considering this for a while now. Thanks

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  6. Won’t to place American flag, Christian flag and our family gen flag appropriately on our property close to our home, is American flag on right side of house approaching house or leaving house

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      Mr. Rogers,

      Thank you for the great question.

      When displaying flags on separate outside poles there is what I call, the Intended Direction of Display. Since your poles will be relatively close to your house, the Intended Direction of Display would be out, away from the house so that others would see the flags in proper viewing order from the front. So, that means that when you look at the poles while standing on your doorstep, the American would be to the far right, the Christian flag would be in the middle, and your family’s flag would be at the far left.

      [This is for anyone else who has the following instances] If you are displaying the flags on a single pole with a single halyard, the American flag would be at the top, Christian flag in the middle, and Family flag at the bottom. If you are displaying the flags from a single pole and a double halyard as viewed from your doorstep, the American flag would be on the right halyard and the christian flag would be at the top of the left halyard with the family flag underneath the Christian flag.

      I hope that answers your question. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have further questions.


  7. I am a funeral service director and my question is this: Is is appropriate for a casket to have a draped American flag at the foot of the casket and a casket spray at the head of the casket when closed?

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  8. “… 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?


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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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    2. I would like to display the American, North Carolina, Christian, Navy, Army, and an East Carolina University flag on the six columns on the front of my house on special days. The main entryway and steps are between the second and third columns. What would be the proper way to position them from left to right facing the house from the street?
      Thank you.

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        Mr. Watkins,

        What a nice display this will be! First, the order of the flags, right-to-left (viewer’s left-to-right): US, NC, CH, US Army, USN, ECU.

        If you will fly them from a mounted pole attached to each column, that’s it. However, if they will be attached to each column vertically by their header (the band at the end with the grommets), the top of each flag must face to the left.

        I hope this answers your question.

    3. Apparently the First Amendment need not be considered in this issue unless the Christian flag is a part of an establishment of religion, then…

  9. 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. The flag code is not a law. Some very patriotic people tried to make it a law but did not succeed. The flag code tells how to display the flag but there is no enforcement.

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      2. The Bill of Rights contains no enforcement clauses, so is unenforceable without relevant US Code.
        Flag etiquette appears in the United States Code Title 4, without enforcement clauses.
        Unless the United States Government is considered to be superior to Christ, the superior placement of the Christian flag would have to be obvious for true Christians.
        Given the fact that the American flag is more widely found as advertising or decoration than as a flag, in violation of Title 4, perhaps the Christian flag should be used for diapers outside of a church.

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          Disdain drops from every word here. You don’t want to deal with the situation as it is and would rather spout off with ugly, nasty sarcasm. Words that are the opposite of being Christ-like.

          I contemplated whether to allow either of your comments and I’m only allowing this one. The other is in the trash where I probably should have sent this one.


    3. As a Citizen of Heaven I handle the matter simply. I don’t fly or display any flag other than the Christian Flag. This line in the sand position was solidly reinforced when the decision to allow the “Gay Pride” flag is to be permitted to be flown on federal lands.

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