Honoring the US Flag in a church procession

Discussion in 'Other US Flag Etiquette' started by Chaplain Jeff, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. Chaplain Jeff

    Chaplain Jeff New Member

    In a formal Episcopal worship service a procession is made by the acolytes, choir and clergy. Very often, the procession includes the American flag. When the flag passes in church in the context of worship, is the proper protocol to render honors the same way as when it passes in a parade, i.e. place the right hand over the heart? As Episcopalians, we reverence the processional cross with a slight bow; however, I have not seen any honoring of the American flag when it is included in the procession - and it caused me to wonder. It would seem a bit awkward to honor the flag in this way, given it is a worship service and not a civic or patriotic event. Is the honor itself the fact that we include the American flag in the procession (and we display it in the customary position near the altar)? Thank you for any insight on this issue.
     
  2. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's."

    There is no law saying you have to display flags in a church, or carry flags in religious processions. However, if you choose to include the flag of the USA in your church or in related ceremonies, follow the United States Flag Code.
     
  3. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .
    Greetings, Chaplain Jeff ! :D

    Welcome to the USA-Flag-Site Forums !


    The only reason I can think of WHY it would seem to be "awkward" in having the American Flag as part of an Episcopalian Church Service "procession", is because it IS awkward!

    Everything else that is part of the church service is pretty much "religious", right? The building it's held in, the prayers that are said, the sermon that is given, the hymns that are sung, the robes and the clothing that is worn, the symbols that are present, and most importantly, the PRIMARY reason (and some would say, the ONLY REASON), you and everybody else is there is to conduct and attend a RELIGIOUS service.

    The "awkwardness" that you (and undoubtably others) feel, is because everything that is connected to and part of that service and the people attending it is "religious", EXCEPT the Flag of the United States of America!

    The Flag of the United States of America is a "secular" object, NOT a "religious" one. Religion is NOT connected to The Flag, and The Flag is NOT connected to religion.

    To get a "true" sense as to how "out of place" an American Flag might be in your Church's "procession", imagine replacing it with some OTHER secular (non-religious) item.

    So in the procession, instead of an American Flag there is a fully functioning "TIKI TORCH" (on fire & smoking!) from someone's back yard?

    Instead of The Flag, it's a fully chromed FRONT BUMPER (in mint condition!) from a 1959 Cadillac?

    Maybe a 50" FLAT SCREEN TV (High Def!) showing a GREAT game in progress that everybody is missing because they are attending a religious service in church instead of being at home (or in the neighborhood bar!) watching it !!! :eek:

    Kind of goes way, Way, W-A-Y beyond "awkward", doesn't it?

    One of your observations about having an American Flag as part of the "procession" is : "As Episcopalians, we reverence the processional cross with a slight bow; however, I have not seen any honoring of the American flag when it is included in the procession - and it caused me to wonder. It would seem a bit awkward to honor the flag in this way, given it is a worship service and not a civic or patriotic event."

    Chaplain Jeff, I do believe you have successfully answered your own questions and addressed your own concerns !!! :D

    I give my advice as follows NOT as an Episcopalian nor as a Christian, but as a FREE & EQUAL American Citizen : Do NOT include an American Flag as part of your Church's Procession. If it is NOT in the procession, then you won't have to worry about rendering it "honors", which might be associated with breaking the First Commandment.

    I hope this helped to clear things up, at least a little bit.

    Thank You for bringing your Flag-related question to our Forums!

    Robin Hickman

    PS. If the "Elders" and/or the congregation choose to have an American Flag in the "main" room, make sure that the Flag is up front and all the way to its own right (which would be on the far LEFT as the congregation would see it from where they would be sitting in the pews).
    .
     
  4. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    There is no law saying you have to display flags in a church, or carry flags in religious processions. However, if you choose to include the flag of the USA in your church or in related ceremonies, follow the United States Flag Code.

    My thought would be that it's up to the church authorities and the congregation to decide what rules to follow. For example, there is a separate "flag code" for the Christian flag that gives it precedence over the US flag.

    Peter Ansoff
     
  5. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .
    QUOTE (Peter Ansoff) : "My thought would be that it's up to the church authorities and the congregation to decide what rules to follow. For example, there is a separate "flag code" for the Christian flag that gives it precedence over the US flag."

    QUESTION : And this separate "flag code" for the Christian Flag (that gives it precedence over the US Flag) can be found..... WHERE ???

    It sure would be nice if we had a copy of THAT code here on this site...


    Robin Hickman
    .
     
  6. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    Maybe it is posted on the Christian Flag Forum?
     
  7. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .
    QUOTE : "Maybe it is posted on the Christian Flag Forum?"

    I'll go look, Thanx !

    Robin
    .
     
  8. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .
    Apparently, there aren't that many "Christian Flag Forums" around. :rolleyes:

    As for a "Christian Flag Code", this is about as close as I got :

    http://www.steve4u.com/christian/facts.htm


    About 2/3 of the way down the page, you'll find THIS :


    DISPLAY OF THE CHRISTIAN FLAG
    1.When the Christian flag is on the floor level, the Christian flag is placed to the right, front, of the congregation and outside of the communion railing.

    2.When the Christian flag is placed within the chancel, communion railing or choir loft, the Christian flag is placed to the right side of the altar, of the clergymen, and of the choir as they face the congregation.

    3.When the Christian flag is displayed with the American flag and/or other flags:
    • The American flag and/or other flags may be placed symmetrically on the opposite side of the sanctuary and on the same level as the Christian flag.
    • If desired, it is also proper to place the Christian and national flags side-by-side wherever stationed in the church, thus symbolizing both the spiritual and patriotic loyalties of the congregation.
    • When the flags are placed side-by-side, the Christian flag is always stationed on the right of all other flags.
    • The Christian flag never dips to any other flag. It may properly dip to the altar Cross.
    4.Use of the Christian flag in other situations:
    • Where a Cross is carried in a processional, the Cross leads, followed by the Christian flag.
    • In a single-column processional, the Christian flag precedes all other flags.
    • In a double-column processional, the Christian flag is on the right.
    • When the Christian flag is on the same flagpole with any other flag, the Christian flag receives the top position.
    • Where the Christian flag and another flag are on separate poles, the Christian flag is on the right as it faces the street or audience.
    • In placing the Christian flag staff in its supporting base, it should be adjusted so that the blue canton and Cross are turned toward the congregation.
    • No other symbol or flag should ever be placed above the Cross.
    "Steve" (Steve4U.com) has some other "Flag-related" pages on his website.


    FWIW : When I "Googled" the search term, "Christian Flag Code", I ran across THIS page which has an article titled, "Should We Have Flags in the Church? The Christian Flag and the American Flag".

    http://www.gbod.org/worship/default.asp?act=reader&item_id=2832&loc_id=9,10,38

    The author of "Should We Have Flags in the Church? The Christian Flag and the American Flag", is a fellow by the name of Hoyt Hickman! As far as I know, I am NOT related to Hoyt Hickman. :eek:

    I liked Mr. Hickman's article, especially the summation of his final paragraph :

    "To sum it up, we in American wisely separate church and state. As American Christians, we honor the cross and we honor the flag; but we keep them separate. An American flag used in the worship of the universal church is no more appropriate than hanging a cross in a civil courtroom used by Americans of all religions."


    So..... there you have it, I guess.


    Robin "No Relation To Hoyt!" Hickman
    .
     
  9. fast1

    fast1 Member

    din know there was a christian flag forum, will check it out[​IMG]
     
  10. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    I was just being facetious. There is no "Christian Flag Forum".

    But as Robin noted this instance, as well as in the past, you can take any phrase or combination of phrases like "christian flag" and "flag code" and "google" them (or use any other search engine you perfer) and find links that will get you pretty darn close to the info you are looking for. All you have to do is discriminate between the real stuff, the advertisements, and the cra%#^ posted by loonies out there.

    Nick
     

Share This Page