Does the American flag belong in church? Our allegiance belongs to God, not state power

From: The Christian Science Monitor

American Christians seem as devoted to their government as Ruth was to Naomi. But should they be? Do either the flag or the Pledge have any place in the Lord’s house? …

The trouble doesn’t lie with Christianity but with power. The two have always been at odds. Political power is a synonym for “physical force,” for bending people to government’s will regardless of their inclinations, interests, or welfare. But Christianity is love – power’s antidote. Anyone who sincerely follows Jesus Christ will never try to compel others – because he didn’t. Jesus sought to persuade by word and example, loving men so much that he let them judge for themselves the truth of his teachings. …

And many support a war in Iraq that has killed tens of thousands and put civilians – including Iraq’s brave but tiny Christian community – in great tribulation. Sadly, I have yet to hear any American church pray for Iraqis as they endure the persecution, poverty, and pain this war has inflicted. But congregants who are Americans first and Christians second often ask God to bless our troops on Sundays.

If they think about it at all, most believers probably see the flag and Pledge as tokens of affection for their country. In reality, both symbolize an infatuation with government. Churches hope to change circumstances through political force when Jesus called us to change hearts and minds with his message. We cheat ourselves, trusting the state’s inferior and transitory power instead of the Almighty.

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One thought on “Does the American flag belong in church? Our allegiance belongs to God, not state power

  1. I speak as a disabled war veteran that served my country for over 20 years. I love my country and the freedom that it gives us.
    I also have issue with some, but not all use of the flag in Churches. In Nazi Germany Churches were required to have the Nazi flag in the front. In the United States, no one is required to display an American flag in the sanctuary. I agree with that! It has no purpose as it relates to Christianity. I would protest any requirement to have a flag in a Church; it would be a denial of the rights that I fought for.
    I personally do not like much of what our country has become. It has always been flawed, but it is the best system known to man! I do not agree with what the flag symbolizes; forced homosexual tolerance, anti-Christian bias in government and education, using public monies to perform abortions, and more. When I see the flag, it represents something great, and also sadly represents the endorsement of public evil. It has no place in the Christian sanctuary as a permanent fixture. The United Stated is not synonymous with Christianity! Giving it an equal and central focus in the sanctuary is to demean Christ and His Church by making it a symbolical public equal!
    Now, having said that, I have no problem celebrating the freedom to worship as we please being granted as rights that are symbolized in the U.S. flag! I believe that we should pray for, honor the good in our country in a public manner in our Churches. I love my country, and at the same time I am ashamed of it. I love the Church, and that too is an embarrassment to me at times. We are not allowed to force our Christianity on the State, and I firmly resist any force by the State, or well-meaning patriots, upon Christianity! I will agree with and follow America only in as far as it follows God. My allegiance is to God first, my family second, and my country third. I have no obligation to separate myself from my Christianity in the voting booth; I’m obligated to keep my Christianity intact! Christianity and the United States are two separate things, so why symbolically represent them as the same in the Christian sanctuary? I like to see the flag on special occasions as in the celebration of out freedom of worship, but would be very pleased to find the U.S. flag absent the rest of the time. I’m there to focus upon God, not my country!
    On a side note I would like to address the condemnation of U.S. Churches in the comment. “I have yet to hear any American church pray for Iraqis as they endure the persecution, poverty, and pain this war has inflicted.” You know, I have yet to hear any Iraqi or Iranian mosque condemn the fruit of their evil religion on 911! How many Iraqi mosques openly pray for the safety of American troops? Ehh? Where is his or her moral outrage over this? The writer of the article is so biased against war and America that he overstates his view. I have heard many prayers for those suffering in Iraq–even in military chapels! But the writer is not interested in the facts, he/she wants to imply an anti-war moral superiority and make their point!

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