Flag display in Church

Discussion in 'US Flag Display' started by EmailPoster, Jun 6, 2006.

  1. EmailPoster

    EmailPoster New Member

    Flag display in a church during boy scout week....
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2006
  2. sarahw

    sarahw Guest

    Dennis,

    I believe if there are two American flags they should both be on the speaker's right, or the left side of the stage. Here's what the flag code has to say:

    (Section 7, subsection k, US Flag Code)

    To me that says the first American flag should be to the speaker's right, but so should the second, and any other flags should be to the left of the speaker or the right of the audience. But you're probably right that they should have limited it to one flag at the speaker's right to eliminate confusion.

    Thanks for asking!

    Sarah
     
  3. Tom

    Tom Guest

    I find the guidance on displaying the flag in a church confusing and somewhat misleading. In our church, and many others, the American flag is posted at floor level beside the podium, not on the podium because of limited space. However the American flag and the Christian flag are displayed as a part of the alter area at the front of the church. We display the American flag to the right of the clergyman and the Christian flag to the left.

    It seems to me that this is proper given that the flags are a part of the alter area arrangement and in the area of the clergyman as he speaks.

    Is the rule about on or off the podium relevant when you are posting the flag as a part of the speaker area?

    Tom





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  4. sarahw

    sarahw Guest

    Tom,

    I don't think it matters if it is on or off the podium, if it's in the area of the altar it should be on the speaker's right, as your church has done.

    sarah
     
  5. My Church has a issue with flag in front of church during lent. They put it in the back. Is that proper.
     
  6. Barbara 5706

    Barbara 5706 Guest

    Hi Victor,
    Let me know if they resolved this issue. I don't understand why all at hand seem to want the flag to fade into the backround and not be in sight at all. Let me know? Thanks!
    Barbara
     
  7. Jim Abbott

    Jim Abbott Guest

    What should be the proper etiquette if the flag is removed from its postion such as lint? Should it be carried in and placed againg in its rightful place and the "National Anthem" sung? thanks
     
  8. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Greetings, Jim!

    What should be the proper etiquette if the flag is removed from its postion such as lint? Should it be carried in and placed againg in its rightful place and the "National Anthem" sung?

    If the flag is just being repositioned as part of rearranging the room before the service, there is no need for any ceremony -- just pick it up and move it. If the positioning of the flag is to be part of a service or meeting, the usual procedure is to ask the audience to stand while the flag is carried from the back to the front of the room and placed on the stage, or wherever. Once it's there, the presider can lead the group in the pledge of allegiance or in singing the national anthem if desired. There are no hard-and-fast rules about this, other than the general idea that the flag should be treated with respect.

    This is the second post that we've seen about the flag being removed from the front of a church during Lent. Apparently, the idea is that Lent is a time when earthly concerns (like the symbol of the country) should not compete with religious symbols. Could you tell us more about this? Is it an established doctrine? Is it uniquely Catholic, or do other denominations observe it also?

    Best regards,

    Peter Ansoff
     
  9. chuckmet

    chuckmet New Member

    The Flag site states:

    "[FONT=Monotype Corsiva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]From a Staff in a Church or Public Auditorium on a Podium
    The flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker (to the right of the audience).
    [/FONT]
    [/FONT] [FONT=Monotype Corsiva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]From a Staff in a Church or Public Auditorium off the Podium
    Custom and not the flag code hold that the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence as part of the audience, in the position of honor at the audience's right."
    [/FONT]
    [/FONT]


    [FONT=Monotype Corsiva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]However, the flag code states in Title 4, Section 7(k):[/FONT][/FONT]


    [FONT=Monotype Corsiva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]"[/FONT][/FONT](k) When used on a speaker’s platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman’s or speaker’s right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right of the audience."


    This subsection of the Flag Code does not seem to make a distinction in a church or auditorium whether the flag is on the platform or off. The US Flag should be on the speaker's right. This subsection also contradicts the websites statement that the Flag Code does not address displaying the flag off the podium. Further, it contradicts what the website says about how the flag should be displayed off the podium.



    Bottom line, Title 4, Section 7, Subsection k, seems to say always on the the speaker's right (audience's left) in advance of the audience and in a place of honor. Do you agree?
     
  10. bmj2476

    bmj2476 New Member

    Did anyone answer this question...the basic question is where do you post the US flag when it is present in front of the audience but NOT part of a podium or speaker area...looks like the code indicates that this should not occur...US flag should always be part of Speaker area and posted to the right of speaker...so it needs to be moved out of the Audience and into speaker area in any public auditorium..it that the correct interpretation? If there is a moderator can you please clarify?
     
  11. american_flag_uk

    american_flag_uk Moderator

    Hi there

    If the flags arent going to be part of the speakers area - have them still at the front - in front of the audience- where they can be seen. nothing to stop you having them at the sides of the stage fro example.
     
  12. RAD

    RAD New Member

    Still looking for firm answer to question: When US flag is on floor of church (not platform) which side should it be on, the right or left of the audience? The flag code is not clear on this. Marine Corps says right, American Legion says left, Boy Scouts say right. I'm confused.
     
  13. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Active Member

    Hello, RAD !

    Welcome to the USA-Flag-Site Forums !

    From reading through the entire thread, as near as I can tell from your question, Peter Ansoff gave the best and most complete answer. Perhaps if you re-read it that might help?

    From what I got from it all, is that the U.S. Flag should be at the "front" of the room. Whether it is on or off the dais (platform, stage, etc.), the Flag should be to its OWN right, or as the audience would see it, to THEIR left.

    Sometimes the "right/left" thing can be a little confusing.

    As I understand it : "Flag's RIGHT = Observers' LEFT".

    U.S. Code, USMC, BSA, are all in agreement. The Flag should always be to its OWN RIGHT and thus to the OBSERVER'S LEFT. As the audience (the observers) looks at the podium (dais, stage, platform, etc.) the Flag should be on the LEFT side (whether it's on the raised area or not). From the Flag's "perspective", IT (the Flag itself) is at its OWN RIGHT.

    Flag's own RIGHT = "Observer's" LEFT.

    I hope that helps you!

    IF I've somehow screwed it up, don't worry, it'll get cleared up here in the next day or two!

    Robin Hickman
     
  14. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Still looking for firm answer to question: When US flag is on floor of church (not platform) which side should it be on, the right or left of the audience? The flag code is not clear on this.

    Actually, the flag code is quite clear:

    "When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman’s or speaker’s right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right of the audience."

    What's confusing everyone (including the person who wrote the "American Flag Protocol" section in the front page of our site), is the sentence that comes immediately before that one in the code:

    "When used on a speaker’s platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker."

    The reference to "speakers platform" in that sentence was not supposed to restrict the rest of the paragraph. It addresses the case when the flag is to be displayed flat, and was (I think) written for outdoor events when the speaker would naturally be on a raised platform. The other sentences deal with indoor situations when the flag is displayed from a pole, and are not limited to cases when the speaker is on a raised platform.

    In any case, the overall sense of the flag code makes clear that the flag's right (viewer's left) is the position of honor. This is a tradition that goes back to medieval heraldry, when the "dexter" side of a knight's shield was the position of honor. Its actual roots go back even farther than that; the right side of a formation was the position of honor in Roman times.

    When dealing with display in churches, there is another consideration. There is a separate flag code for the Christian Flag, and it specifies that the Christian flag should take precedence over the US flag. The Christian Flag code contradicts the US Flag code, and it's up to individual congregations to decide which they want to follow.

    Marine Corps says right, American Legion says left, Boy Scouts say right. I'm confused.

    Where does the American Legion say "left"? They generally follow the flag code fairly exactly. I suspect that this is just a misunderstanding -- the US flag goes on the speaker's right, but the audience's left.

    Peter Ansoff
     
  15. RAD

    RAD New Member

    The American Legion book I have says: "...speakers right as he faces the audience, without regard to a platform or floor lever". But, my old USMC book says: "If displayed in the body of the church, the flag should be at the congregations right as they face the clergyman". Dr. Whitney Smith of the flag research center offers additional information: "Prior to the revision of the flag code in 1976, flags at public gatherings, religious or secular, could be displayed to the right of the audience as an alternative to being to the right of the speaker. This practice is now discouraged, although still legal". It sounds like either would work. Maybe the best placement is always have the flag ON the plateform and therefore on the audiences left.
     
  16. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Active Member

    Hey, RAD !

    I think the answer is hinted at in Mr. Ansoff's reply when he wrote :

    "When dealing with display in churches, there is another consideration. There is a separate flag code for the Christian Flag, and it specifies that the Christian flag should take precedence over the US flag. The Christian Flag code contradicts the US Flag code, and it's up to individual congregations to decide which they want to follow."

    IF what he is saying is correct, it sounds like inside a church, the Christian Flag would take precedence over the U.S. Flag. Which, I assume, would mean that it would be to the Speaker's right (audience's left) and the U.S. Flag would be on the speaker's left (audience's right).

    Does that make sense to you?

    Robin Hickman
     
  17. RAD

    RAD New Member

    Robin: Right now our church has the US flag on the left side facing the platform (on the audience left) and the Christina flag on the audience right. Both are on the audience level, not on the platform.
     
  18. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Active Member

    HiYa, RAD !

    Ahhhh..... OK.

    So it comes down to four options: two levels with two options each.

    1. Floor : U.S. Flag on audience's left; Christian Flag on right (current).
    2. Floor : Christian Flag on audience's left, U.S. Flag on right.
    3. Platform : U.S. Flag on audience's left; Christian Flag on right.
    4. Platform : Christian Flag on audience's left, U.S. Flag on right.

    IMHO : Option #4 (if there's room on the platform), Option #2 (if not).

    Mr. Ansoff is MUCH more knowledgable about this than I am, so check back to see what HE says. Whichever way your Church decides to arrange them, Good Luck !!!

    Robin Hickman
     
  19. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    RAD: The American Legion book I have says: "...speakers right as he faces the audience, without regard to a platform or floor lever".

    Right -- this is consistent with the current version of the flag code.

    RAD: But, my old USMC book says: "If displayed in the body of the church, the flag should be at the congregations right as they face the clergyman". Dr. Whitney Smith of the flag research center offers additional information: "Prior to the revision of the flag code in 1976, flags at public gatherings, religious or secular, could be displayed to the right of the audience as an alternative to being to the right of the speaker.

    Well . . . it was just a bit more complex than that. This particular part of the code has been updated at least twice. The original version that was adopted by the National Flag Conference in 1923 said:

    "When used on a speaker's platform the Flag should be displayed above and behind the speaker. It should never be used to cover the speaker's desk nor drape over the front of the podium. If flown from a staff it should be on the speaker's right."
    . . .
    "When the Flag is displayed in church it should be from a staff placed on the congregation's right as they face the clergyman, with the service flag, State flag or other flag on the left wall. If in the chancel the Flag of the United States should be placed on the clergyman's right as he faces the congregation."

    In other words, the original version of the code had two separate paragraphs, one for speakers in general and one for church display. The principal point of the general speaker part was that the flag shouldn't be draped on the podium; the reference to displaying it on a staff was almost an afterthought. The church part put the flag on the clergyman's right if it was displayed in the chancel, and on the congregation's right otherwise.

    When Congress adopted the Flag Code in 1942, they combined those two paragraphs into one, which read as follows:

    "When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, if it is displayed in the chancel of a church, or on the speaker's platform in a public auditorium, the flag should occupy the position of honor and be placed at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the congregation or audience. Any other flag so displayed in the chancel or on the platform should be placed at the clergyman's or speaker's left as he faces the congregation or audience. But when the flag is displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium elsewhere than in the chancel or on the platform it shall be placed in the position of honor at the right of the congregation or audience as they face the chancel or platform. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the congregation or audience as they face the chancel or platform."

    With all due respect to my good friend Whitney Smith, the pre-1976 code did not say that putting the flag to the right of the audience was an alternative -- it made a specific distinction depending on where the flag was. Notice also how the original meaning of the first sentence was subtlely changed from the 1923 version. Its original intent was to say that the flag should be displayed on the wall behind the speaker rather than draped on the podium.

    In 1976, the code was re-codified to say what it says now:

    "When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman’s or speaker’s right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right of the audience."

    The revision deleted the part of the 1942 language after the "But," thus eliminating the distinction between on and off the chancel/platform. The code now says that the flag will be on the speaker's right in all cases, no matter where it is in the church/auditorium.

    Thus, your USMC manual would have been correct before 1976, but it is not correct now. I suspect that your manual was simply quoting the then-current version of the civilian flag code. The current version of the USMC Flag Manual (MCO P-10520.3B) quotes the current (post-1976) version of the code.

    RAD: This practice is now discouraged, although still legal".

    Actually, it would be "legal" even if it completely contradicted the flag code. The code itself states that it is just a "codification of existing rules and customs pertaining to the display and use of the flag of the United States of America." It's not a "law" that one can be penalized for breaking.

    Robin: IF what he is saying is correct, it sounds like inside a church, the Christian Flag would take precedence over the U.S. Flag.

    No, that's not what I said. I said that there are two conflicting codes, one for the US flag and one for the Christian flag, and that "it's up to individual congregations to decide which they want to follow."

    Rad: Right now our church has the US flag on the left side facing the platform (on the audience left) and the Christina flag on the audience right. Both are on the audience level, not on the platform.

    In other words, you've decided to follow the US flag code rather than the Christian flag code.

    Peter Ansoff
     
  20. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Active Member

    Hello, Again !

    We're now at a point in this thread where it looks like a "solution" has been found and a "problem" solved. I guess it's all up to RAD's opinion.

    This also serves to point out the need to have a "searchable", or at least "delineated" (if that's the right word) and "notated" copy of the MOST current "U.S. Flag Code" on this website. It would be SO much easier to be able to easily refer people to an ON-SITE Flag Code.

    As noted in a different thread :

    http://www.usa-flag-site.org/forum/what-no-u-s-code-website-5240.html

    It's NOT that I think we should use an on-site Flag Code as an evasive way to answer every question brought up here. It's more like we'd have something to refer people to when and while we were discussing their Flag-related inquiries.

    Right now, whenever the Flag Code is used, it's in the form of a great big chunk of text that gets plopped down in the middle of a reply and folks are just going to have to trust that it really did come from the portion of the U.S. Code that deals with Flag-related "stuff".

    While I think that most folks are more than satisfied with having the "answer" provided for them, there are others who might want to go have a "look-see" for themselves.

    I think I'll end with that little tid-bit as it seems that I've been going a little "off subject" with my opinion. (Sorry!)

    Robin Hickman

    PS. Sorry, Peter! I did NOT mean to put words into your mouth. I was merely trying to point out to RAD that perhaps the "Christian Flag Code" was the "guiding" authority for his/her question.
     

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