Jim Daly Christian Blog and Commentary

Should Churches Display the American Flag?

  • Jim Daly Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
  • 2012 Aug 30


Posted by Jim_Daly Aug 29, 2012

With the opening of the Republican National Convention this week and the Democratic Convention next, the American flag will be front and center as members of both parties proudly fly and wave the red, white and blue.

It’s difficult to put into words the emotions and sentiments that stir when the Stars and Stripes ripple in the breeze. When you know that men and women have died in its defense, you can’t help but stand a little straighter when you see it.

But in this month’s Christianity Today, the magazine asks a provocative question:

Should churches display the American flag in their sanctuaries?

Douglas Wilson is the pastor of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, and he doesn’t think so.

“A Christian church has absolutely no business displaying a national flag in the sanctuary, at least not as it is commonly done,” he wrote. “The church born at Pentecost was a reversal of Babel, not a doubling down on the fragmentation of Babel.”

Lisa Velthouse, a Marine Corps wife and author, disagrees.

“Putting the flag in our local church does not mean we have made religion bow to nation.” 

Russell D. Moore is dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and like Mrs. Velthouse, he understands that some might be prone to make patriotism an idol, but doesn’t believe such a threat warrants the flag’s removal.

“The flag can prompt the church to pray for and honor leaders,” he wrote. “The flag can prompt us to remember that national identity is important but transitory. ... There is no need to play 'Rapture the Flag.'”

I’m interested in your opinion. What do you think?

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