September 06, 2010

Putting the 'Glory' in Old Glory

I received a surprising amount of pushback recently when I posted something that seemed (to me) self-evident: the American flag has no place in church.

Now that Glenn Beck has everyone all stirred up again, and Christians must once again "beware the idolatry of a Christless civil religion," let me ask this question: Does the U.S. flag merit a "position of superior prominence" to the Creator of the universe?

5 comments:

  1. Timothy Terrell11:39 AM

    No, it doesn't belong in church at all. Or on a flagpole outside the church. From an article I wrote a while back on this topic:

    For one Presbyterian pastor, William E. Hill, Jr., it became the largest controversy of his ministry. Bill Hill (1907-1983) was the longtime pastor of West End Presbyterian Church in Hopewell, Virginia, the founder of Presbyterian Evangelical Fellowship, and later an influence in the founding of the PCA. Once, at a West End funeral service for a veteran, Hill insisted that the American flag be removed from the coffin before being brought into the sanctuary. Hill, after receiving severe criticism, harassment, and even threats for this action, offered several explanations. He contended, in part, that the church is “a place of worship of God alone,” that it “recognizes allegiance to no temporal or worldly state,” and that “the church exists for the honor of God, but that is not the purpose of the flag.” [Derek Iannelli-Smith, http://bellsouthpwp2.net/e/p/eph61820/documents/ThePetersofPresbyterianism-MachenHill.pdf] Hill “had consulted with the members of the family of the deceased veteran, and …none of its members had voiced any disapproval of the removal of the flag from the casket.” The widow, in fact, had “offered her hearty approval of my action,” he said.

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  2. Anonymous4:12 PM

    So answer Brandon's question with another question: Would our founding fathers find our American flag offensive in a Christian sanctuary? "A Godless Republic cannot stand" said Benjamin Franklin.

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  3. Anonymous9:07 PM

    The Republic may need God, but the Church does not need America.

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  4. I completely agree. It has no place in church.

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  5. Anonymous10:23 PM

    Well,

    If you believe that the Church is made up of the body of believers, and the building is just a place to meet, I don't see a problem with having an American Flag in the building. Should it be displayed during service. NO. Should it be made available for other functions that may be happening at the building, YES. It would be hard to hold our Boy Scout meetings at the building without it.

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