A bunch of people weighed in on this flag being displayed in church. As my 4th of July lazy blogger gift to them, I thought I'd share their comments with you.
David Frydrychowski at 4:30pm July 2
The reason that so many European rulers might have objected to the practice might have been less a fear of treading on the sacred and more a fear of losing pride of place. The national churches of Eastern Europe are great examples of national culture being used to unite the individual with the transcendent. I think it works so long as the national culture stays on ground level. With us. Looking up.
Paul Jarzembowski at 4:39pm July 2
If God is truly present in all things (including our American culture), then to have a flag in the church should not be seen as anti-God or anti-sacred. Perhaps it might be best placed on the side of a church or in the back of church (just to remind worshippers that we are not worshipping the flag), but I agree with Mike that this should not a major issue.
Jeanne Schaefer at 4:43pm July 2
I don't think the American flag should have a permenant place in the sanctuary. Political boundaries are artificial and have no role in the Kingdom of God.
On special occassions, however, the flag is a useful symbol when giving thanks to God for the freedoms we have and when remembering our responsibility to protect freedom for others. Or, in the case of World Youth Day, it is a useful symbol for noting how far each pilgrim traveled to get there.
Roger Mella at 5:16pm July 2
Interesting topic, Mike. The issue for me is not whether or not the flag should be displayed in church but rather how I don't really think about its presence. We don't say the Pledge of Allegiance during mass and there have hardly been any sermons about it. It's just, kinda...there.
Leota Roesch at 6:13pm July 2
Oh, God, NO!-
Mary Cummins Wlodarski at 7:19pm July 2
When we enter the church building with a body for a funeral, we remove the flag from the veteran's coffin and replace it with a white pall. This is not disrespectful nor dismissive of our country's symbol...it just points out that the symbol of baptism is more inclusive.
In the Body of Christ there are no countries nor boundries nor governments. Flags have their places...church is not one of them.
Joseph Muscente at 10:03pm July 2
YES to celebrate and honor the country that allows us to worship
Edward Karasinski at 12:31am July 3
....One Nation under God....
Mary Cotter Naughton at 10:04am July 3
Paul Jarzembowski at 10:31am July 3
Call me utilitarian, but I think that the sanctuary of a church should be reserved for objects that are either used in worship (i.e. altar, processional cross, chair, chalices, etc.) or are decorative (i.e. flowers, altar cloth, banners, etc.).
The American flag is neither utilized in worship nor is it a decoration. So I guess I would probably keep it out of the space for these two reasons.
Gerry Czerak at 11:56am July 3
I agree with Paul, but have no problem with a flag in the Narthex.
Raul Rousset Jr at 11:13pm July 3
In GOD We trust!!!
I think the esteemed Paul Jarzembowski had the best take by suggesting that the flag not be placed on the altar but can in fact have a role within the church building somewhere. I've suggested that the flag not be displayed near the altar but rather can be placed in the front of the parish but on one of the side altars. This is where I most often see it placed BTW and the papal flag is most often on the other side or maybe a flag for a local Knights of Columbus group or something.
I'll add the following as a New Yorker. During September 11th's disaster I would say that the flag played a pretty prominent role by being visible to people who had lost a friend or a family member at that time. My parish at that time lost a choir member and we kept a small memorial for her in the church. I think a flag not being in that place wouldn't look right.
How about the papal flag? Should THAT be displayed? How about those felt banners from the 70s? Should we have done that? A banner from the Catholic School?