Displaying Flag in Church Lobby

Discussion in 'US Flag Display' started by cosrock, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. cosrock

    cosrock New Member

    In our church lobby the US and Christian flags are displayed on separate staffs flanking the entry. The flag code deals with placement in auditoriums and sanctuaries, not lobbies on staffs. What is the proper positioning of the flags in the room and relative to each other?
     
  2. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Hi. The general principle is that the position of honor is the flag's own right, or the observer's left. This is a convention that goes back at least to the days of medieval heraldry, when the right side of a knight's shield was the place of honor. The sense of the US flag code is that the US flag takes precedence over all other flags, except for the Navy church pennant. This would indicate that the US flag should be on the left of the entry and the Christian flag on the right (again, as seen by an observer facing the flags).

    I have seen a flag code for the Christian flag that was apparently adopted by a church authority in the 1940s, which states that the Christian flag should take precedence over the US flag when displayed in churches. This contradicts the US flag code, of course. I suppose it's up to individual church authorities and congregations to decide which set of rules they wish to follow.

    Peter Ansoff
     
  3. irbudde70

    irbudde70 New Member

    Should'nt the reply to this question have started by asking "is this flag in the church lobby in addition to the flag the would be at the Clergymens right when he is speaking to the congregation?" or "is this the only flag being displayed in the church"?

    In my opinion, "if only one flag is on display in this church", it should be on the podium at the Clergymen's right, not in the "lobby".

    I belive the question of proper "lobby display" should have hinged on whether this was the primary flag on display or it was a secondary flag. If only one flag is to be displayed it should follow the code and be placed at the clergymrn's right when he is addressing his congrgation.
     
  4. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Hello, Irbudde -- welcome!

    In my opinion, "if only one flag is on display in this church", it should be on the podium at the Clergymen's right, not in the "lobby".

    Why? I can think of good reasons why the congregation might want to display the flag in the lobby rather than inside. For example, they might feel that the flag is a secular symbol and is out of place in a religious setting.

    I belive the question of proper "lobby display" should have hinged on whether this was the primary flag on display or it was a secondary flag.

    Again, why? The question was about the proper way to display the flags in the lobby. The custom of the right side as the place of honor is valid regardless of whether or not there are other flags in the building.

    Peter Ansoff
     
  5. irbudde70

    irbudde70 New Member

    I'm not takeing exception to your logic of the proper display in the "lobby', rather, I'm trying to make the point that if this church is going to display a flag it should first comply with the "Flag Code" that states that "When displayed from a shaft in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America SHOULD (my emphasis) hold the position of superior prominence, in advanceof the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergymen's or speakers right as he faces the audience."

    A reading of the "flag code" makes no mention of any alternate displays of the flag in a "church" lobby. I'm sure a flag in the lobby displayed as you described is proper but I believe the proper answer is, first, display the flag as directed in the code. If they want to display a second flag in the lobby also, do it the way you described.
     
  6. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    I'm trying to make the point that if this church is going to display a flag it should first comply with the "Flag Code" that states that "When displayed from a shaft in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America SHOULD (my emphasis) hold the position of superior prominence,

    I think that you're misinterpreting this passage a bit. It simply means that, when the flag is displayed in a place where someone is speaking to an audience (such as a church or auditorium), it should be in the place of honor. The fact that it mentions a church as an example doesn't mean that it's wrong to display a flag anyplace in a church but in the sanctuary, or that the flag in the sanctuary somehow has prominence over flags that are elsewhere in the building.

    A reading of the "flag code" makes no mention of any alternate displays of the flag in a "church" lobby.

    Of course not. The flag code doesn't cover every possible use of the flag, and was never intended to do so. It doesn't mention displays of flags in legion halls, offices, or banks either. It provides the principles of how the flag should be displayed, regardless of the specific setting.

    As I've pointed out in many other posts here, the flag code is not an arbitrary set of rules to be parsed like a holy scripture. It's just a set of commonsense guidelines for appropriate handling and displaying of the flag. If a church wants to display a flag in the lobby but not in the sanctuary, there's no reason that they shouldn't do so. As I mentioned before, I can at least imagine reasons why a congregation might feel that this is appropriate.

    Peter Ansoff
     

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