Should a Church Display the American Flag?

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Every so often I hear of a pastor embroiled in some controversy over his removing the American flag from the church sanctuary. The most memorable incident to me was the pastor who simply secreted the flag away in the middle of a Saturday night, as though the flock wouldn’t notice the next morning. But by dawn’s early light, they saw the flag was not there. And that’s when the metaphorical bombs started bursting in air.

A few years ago, Christianity Today asked me to weigh in on this issue, in a Village Green conversation with Douglas Wilson and Lisa Velthouse. Wilson says “Don’t Do It” and Velthouse, a Marine Corps wife, thinks churches should enthusiastically display the Stars and Stripes. I say, “Yes, But.” You can read all three essays here at Christianity Today.

What do you think? If you’re for displaying an American flag, how do you keep from nationalizing the gospel? Does it suggest to, say, a Christian brother or sister from Dubai or Dublin that this worship service is an American event rather than a kingdom of God happening? For those of you who are opposed to American flags in church sanctuaries, do you think this is a proverbial hill on which to die?


A version of this post originally ran on August 3, 2012.

We live in a fearful and cowardly time. The crisis we face is not a crisis of clarity but a crisis of courage.


About Russell Moore

Russell Moore is Public Theologian at Christianity Today and Director of Christianity Today’s Public Theology Project.