Mary Valle, who recently heard of the Christian flag for the first time, I
grew up pledging allegiance to it at school. In 1897, a Sunday school superintendent
in Brooklyn was discussing with students the symbolism of having a U.S. flag in
the chapel. Someone asked why no
flag with Christian symbolism existed
as well, and the teacher came up with the design for the Christian flag then
It's troubling that the Christian flag took the U.S. one as
its model—and that the two tend to be flown in tandem, with the national flag
given its customary
priority. The Kingdom of God flag
is one attempt to address these issues. But no variation on design or protocol
can escape the fact that flags in general connote militarism and nationalism,
not the way of Christ. So why display a cross flag at church when you could
just display a cross?
Still, a more pragmatic part of me sees the Christian flag
as benign—its distinctness from the U.S. flag is at least as obvious as their
similarities. So while displaying the U.S. flag alone might encourage
churchgoers to conflate citizenship with faith, the two flags flown side by
side might push back, their presence together emphasizing that they're two
different things. Flown alone, many might interpret the Christian flag simply
as a highly visible cross.
What do you think? Is the Christian flag useful, idolatrous,
pointless? Do you judge it any differently than, say, a denominational flag?