You know, I got to thinking the past few days about the incredible reverence that people in the US have for the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance. For example:
-When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.
-The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use.
-The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations.
-The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night.
-The flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is the longest.
-When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the street runs north-south, the stars should face east. For streets running east-west, the stars should face north. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag’s union should be farthest from the building and the stars facing away from it.
-During The Pledge of Allegiance all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart.
And that is a small sampling of the rules, regulations, and laws regarding the flag of the US. It is treated like a deity! To the best of my knowledge, no other country treats the flag of that country with such reverence and devotion. It is as if we, as the US worship it. I wouldn’t care as much if it was just the unconverted and Godless of our nation who all but worshiped this piece of cloth; this symbol of an earthly country. But it is when Christians, and Christian schools, even churches start falling into this flag worship… That is when I get concerned. Should we, as citizens of heaven and ambassadors for God and His Kingdom, be so devoted to a country, even less, a flag? Why do we as Christians ‘pledge our allegiance’ to a flag? We are to pledge our allegiance to One only and that One being Jesus Christ. I understand that in Romans 13, Paul stated that every Christian should “be subject unto the higher powers.” However, we need to understand that our foremost allegiance is to God. We are to be subject and submissive to our government but that does not mean to pledge our devotion and allegiance to it! It is clearly a form of idolatry to salute a flag and swear our devotion to it. In James 5:12, the Bible reads, “But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath”.
It also reminds me of Daniel 3:18. “Be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” And then a point that I find very curious. Why is the pledge “to the flag”? Why not the government. Yes it says the ‘and the Republic for which it stands” but it says ‘and’, so the flag is still an object of allegiance.
My conclusion to this is as follows. I, as a follower of Jesus Christ, will not participate in saying The Pledge of Allegiance, nor will I pretend to participate by putting my hand over my heart or taking a similar posture while others are reciting this pledge. Why? A Christian’s loyalty is to the Kingdom of Heaven, not to any earthly kingdom. As such, a Christian ought not to participate in rituals which sanction a kingdom other than the Kingdom of Heaven. Furthermore, in obedience to Scripture, a Christian cannot take a pledge which he or she is not certain they will follow. Also, I do not support the idea of the United States of America being “indivisible”, which is incompatible with liberty. The Pledge of Allegiance contains untruths regarding the US, including the statement “with liberty and justice for all”. It is quite clear to any Christian in this country that there is not liberty and justice for all, particularly Christians. I will not speak or proclaim these untrue statements. And finally, The United States of America, is no longer a nation “under God” if it ever was and I will not claim it is and in turn, give a bad name to my faith and more seriously, tarnish the reputation of my Lord to others.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Gal. 1:10