The Christian flag is regularly displayed outside of buildings and churches, and in classrooms, but few realize its important history and significance dating back to hundreds of years ago. The flag is typically seen and used in Latin America, North America, and Africa, and it represents Christianity and its community and values.
The Christian flag
came into existence in the 19th
century when Charles C. Overton, a Sunday school teacher at a chapel in Brooklyn, New York, realized there was no flag or universal image to represent Christianity as a whole. Ten years later, in 1907, he collaborated with secretary Ralph Diffendorfer and began the official plan and formation of the flag.
The Christian flag began to be accepted by most Protestant churches
and began to be displayed inside of churches around the world toward the late 1900s.
The flag is placed on a solid plain white background. The left-hand corner of the flag is made up of a solid blue background featuring a red cross in its center. The cross is in line with the traditional Latin Cross, and it does not include the figure of Christ’s body like a crucifix would.
The colors of the Christian flag
are true to those of the flag of the United States of America: namely, red, white, and blue. The idea for the flag came when Overton presented a lecture on the American flag and its virtue, impact, and meaning, so the identical colors prove to be appropriate and intentional.
Each of the colors used in the Christian flag has a symbolic meaning. Red stands for sacrifice and represents the teaching of the blood Jesus Christ shed on the cross to redeem the world. Blue stands for fidelity, or faithfulness and loyalty. White stands for purity and peace.
These virtues relate to the Christian Bible and represent values that Christians are called on to strive for and pursue. Christians believe that Christ’s blood, when he died on the cross, redeemed the world, creating purity and peace for those who believe in him. Thus, the Bible calls Christians to honor and uphold the teachings of Scripture with faithfulness and loyalty through any trials or blessings.
Pledge to the Christian Flag
The pledge to the Christian flag
is a verbal salute to respect, honor, and uphold what the flag stands for, and is formatted very similarly to the pledge to the American flag. The pledge promises allegiance to the flag and the savior—namely, Jesus.
The pledge also denotes loyalty to a body of people and a community, just as the pledge to the American flag references the entire nation. Christianity is referred to as a brotherhood. The key values mentioned in the pledge are service and love, promising unity within the community of believers.
Christianity is extremely broad and varied, so it is often broken down into smaller groups called denominations. These groups hold similar values and interpret the Bible and certain issues similarly. Typically, each denomination will also have its own doctrine or specific teaching outlining exactly what their key beliefs and values are. Many denominations tend to be like one another, but they can also be extremely diverse.
Some denominations have their own flag in addition to or in place of the Christian flag. Examples of these flags include Catholic churches flying the Vatican flag, Episcopal churches flying the Episcopal flag, and Anglican churches flying a flag with St. George’s Cross. Churches from different countries often add their own personal color or border to the flag.
One of the greatest disputes surrounding the Christian flag is its relationship to patriotism and allegiance to one’s country. Some question if the American flag should be displayed within a church or sanctuary, and some question if the Christian flag requires representation outside of a church at all.
The question of whether a Christian flag should be displayed in the schoolroom alongside an American flag is heavily disputed as well. Some feel it should be proudly and prominently displayed, and the pledge to the flag should be practiced as well, but others believe this crosses inappropriate lines of separation between church and state.
An example of controversy relating to the Christian flag took place in 1938 when a minister took issue with the U.S. Flag Code, which states the American flag should always be higher than any other flag. To remedy this issue, he created the Christian Flag Code, stating that the Christian flag should always be to the right of the American flag. Some believe this contradicts the U.S. Flag code, but, for much of the time, the Christian flag is seen with respect and honor.
The Christian flag is a symbol and testament to Christianity as a whole and a unified body of practicing Christians. Accompanied by the pledge to the Christian flag, it honors and commits to Christianity. Although the Christian flag has sometimes been surrounded by controversy, it continues to be respected and allows for loyalty both to one’s country and one’s faith.