Patriotism, the last refuge of pastors...

(David) A brother wrote suggesting Baylyblog explain that it's not good for congregations to recite the Pledge of Allegiance during Lord's Day corporate worship. So, here goes...

It's not good for congregations to recite the Pledge of Allegiance during Lord's Day corporate worship.

There now, that's done. Anyone have a bulletin documenting the Pledge in an order of worship? Some of the spirituality of the church guys might like a copy--particularly if it's a Presbyterian congregation. Send it to me and I'll post it. But please make it a digital copy.

Finally, for extra credit, which commandment(s) would such a pledge violate?

Comments

Since we are no longer a republic such a pledge may be in violation of the nineth commandment.

I agree with whoever wrote to you on this. My reason? Speaking as a non-American, it seems to me that to have the Pledge of Allegiance *in church* is to put the flag before the Cross.

Nothing wrong in having such a Pledge - just not in church. Jesus said, "My house will be a house of prayer for /all/ nations" and I've always thought that having one's national flag in church gets in the way of that principle.

Uh, that would clearly be the 7th.

I guess you boys don't like Halloween either? I bet you boys don't allow the girls to sale Girl Scout cookies at church either.

Charles, I guess you like breaking commandments...

Ha! - Mr. Whisnant, I think you're baiting us! I looked at your blog and don't reckon you go for goblins or socially engineered kiddies either!

I was going to say that the Pledge thing was a Southern peculiarity, but then I found this:

http://heraldbulletin.com/local/x1703948073/Church-News-July-3

Indiana Churches leading the charge

al sends

Anderson, IN is sort of strange in that it is also home to Bill Gaither, the godfather of all things Southern Gospel. Perhaps that explains it.

To answer the question, reciting the pledge during worship would violate the 1st (with an eye to the prelude to the commandments), 2nd, possibly the 3rd, and the 4th.

When considering what one would be pledging allegiance to, I also wonder if nearly every commandment from the second table would be violated as well.

David,

Great post! I would have said 1st if Mr. French hadn't beaten me to it. I do think he has a good case as to the rest as well.

Kamilla

Never in church that I can remember, but they do it in AWANA. Drives me nuts.....

I was once subjected to The Battle Hymn of the Republic during a Lutheran Lord's Day service that occured on July 4. Being of southern extraction and having sympathies appropriate to my lineage, I found that ode to the murderous John Brown so galling that I was compelled to lead my family out of the sanctuary( much to my wife's embarrassment ).

:-)

But I have sung The Battle Hymn of the Republic in a context (New Zealand) where the song has none of the 'cultural associations' it does in the USA; and for those of us wanting more 'masculine' hymnody, for want of a better word, it does well!

Charles,

Tim has a post on Halloween, in which he says he doesn't have a problem with it - and urging us to show tolerance for each other's views on it.

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I have no problem with the pledge, though "indivisible" was not the intention of the founders.

Nonetheless, saying the pledge in a worship service is unseemly. And I grew up doing exactly that.

My favorite is the church that recites the Pledge of Allegiance adjacent to the scripture reading of Exodus 20.

True story.

Since no one else has said it, the Commandment in question is the Second.

What does "during Lord's Day corporate worship" have to do with it? Should we say it at all? Did Lot pledge his allegiance to Sodom? I agree with Scott on "indivisible." We're "under God," even if our leaders hate Him, but "indivisible," I won't utter. We're more long-suffering than the founders, when it comes to tolerance of tyranny.

We were in a nearby SBC church for a year when we moved here. Until the next Fourth of July, that is, when they handed out little flags at the door. They also had red, white and blue balloons up in the ceiling that were to be released at the end of the service, like at a political convention.

That was it for me -- it was definitely time to start making the commute two cities away to the PCA church, where we've been 16 years.

I really don't get where Christians conclude they have no allegiance to the state in which the Sovereign Lord has placed them. It is not an unlimited or unqualified allegiance that is due but it is an allegiance nevertheless. How you can read the epistles and conclude such a thing is beyond me.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 50.

Q: What is required in the second commandment?

A: The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his word.

> I really don't get where Christians conclude they have no allegiance to the state in which the Sovereign Lord has placed them.

Who's saying we have no obligations?

Willingly obeying the law and paying our taxes is showing our allegiance. Those are things the Bible tells us to do. Pray for them. But mouthing empty pledges about indivisibility and liberty and justice for all isn't really necessary or required by the Bible. It is more an ideological statement than anything. It is not even required by the state. Better to do the required than to say empty words not required.

For example, "liberty and justice for all" now obviously includes homosexual rights, and rights of illegal aliens to stay here, and rights of foreign combattant mass-murderers to civilian trials, rights of women to abortion. It also means the right of the state to forcibly re-distribute the wealth of the productive to the unproductive, which our current leaders make not secret of. I am under no obligation to unreservedly pledge my support to uphold the goals of a godless state on the path to self-destruction.

By your comment, David, I would have to conclude that you would consider the Revolutionary War not something justifiable from Scripture. I would say so, whether you do or not, though the patriotic thing for Christians to do is assume God was all for the bloodshed over taxes on tea and what-not.

The Federal government was designed to be a very minimal glue holding the states loosely together, doing things that the states couldn't do individually themselves. Now it is an all-intrusive, all consuming thing which wants to control every aspect of our lives, even down to what we can eat. When these folks have implemented all the things they have in mind, it will look more and more silly to be flippantly pledging our allegiance to the state.

> I really don't get where Christians conclude they have no allegiance to the state in which the Sovereign Lord has placed them.

David, I suppose I should ask what is the point of your comment: that we should not object to saying the Pledge of Allegiance?

If so, should German Christians have been pledging allegiance to the Nazi flag, and to the Reich for which it stood? God placed them there, too.

Patriots "defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic." Waving a flag is hollow, worthless patriotism.

Whether either end of that spectrum is Christian is another matter.

>Patriots "defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

When did you raise your right hand?

>By your comment, David, I would have to conclude that you would consider the Revolutionary War not something justifiable from Scripture.

Absolutely correct.

>Whether either end of that spectrum is Christian is another matter.

This is where anti-Biblical sophistry and posing winds up. A man can seriously posit the idea that performing the God ordained function of the state is not Christian.

> When did you raise your right hand? [re: "defend the Constitution against all enemies"]

1972 would have been the first time, as a Midshipman. Several other times over the next 13 years, as I got promoted in the Marines. Perhaps you missed my point that patriotism is more than going to fireworks displays, while the state seeks more ways to enslave us and our children.

Sure, our godless government is God-ordained. And we rightfully deserve what God is giving us. But there's a difference between obeying the king, and enabling a wicked king or being duped by him.

> Absolutely correct. [re: Revolutionary War not justifiable]

Glad we agree. Not many would take my position on that one.

> A man can seriously posit the idea that performing the God ordained function of the state is not Christian.

Let's stick to patriotism and the Pledge of Allegiance, as your rabbit trail is not one I am defending. You skipped my question about Nazism. How is a Christian magistrate or average citizen supposed to perform his duty to God who placed him there under such a regime?

I'm still not sure why you said "I really don't get where Christians conclude they have no allegiance to the state in which the Sovereign Lord has placed them." You were objecting to something, but I don't know what. Most people's comments had to do with the Pledge of Allegiance being against various commandments. Thanks.

>Let's stick to patriotism and the Pledge of Allegiance, as your rabbit trail is not one I am defending.

Then why invoke the "defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic" bit? And question whether doing so is "Christian"?

The Pledge isn't against any commandments. Inserting the Pledge in a worship service is idolatry amongst other things.

> The Pledge isn't against any commandments.

Others have been mentioning different commandments, not me. Something can be against one's conscience, or not advisable, even though it didn't make the Top Ten.

> Then why invoke the "defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic" bit?

If patriotism is measured by reciting the Pledge, we're sunk. Tyrants always rely on such patriotism and lofty slogans.

Anyway, I think the hearts and minds and futures of our children and grandchildren are at stake, and pledging allegiance to the flag will not help change any of that. I think many people are in denial, or just too distracted to notice.

> Inserting the Pledge in a worship service is idolatry amongst other things.

Now, that's odd that it is only idolatry in a worship service! Just so I don't bring my idols to church, I'm fine...

>Now, that's odd that it is only idolatry in a worship service! Just so I don't bring my idols to church, I'm fine...

No, something fine can become an idol when it is not kept in its appropriate place...

I've agreed with almost every suggestion as to which commandment is broken by the pledge of allegiance to the flag in worship--including the suggestion offered by one that it's the eighth, though I'm not sure it was offered seriously.

But the most obvious place where God's commands are violated by a pledge to a flag in a service of worship is clearly the second, and it's not the pledge itself that lies at the core of the violation, but even more foundationally, the presence of a pagan icon--or idol--at the heart of Christian worship. When the icon is there fealty should be assumed.

Love in Christ,

David Bayly

> When the icon is there fealty should be assumed.

Yes, keep the state totally out of the church.

I'm not real comfortable with the so-called "Christian" flag in churches, either. Seems to make it more an "of this world" kingdom; it cheapens it, or something. And, it's based on the American flag.

From Wikipedia:

The Christian Flag was first conceived on September 26, 1897, at Brighton Chapel on Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York in the United States. The superintendent of a Sunday school, Charles C. Overton, was forced to give an impromptu lecture to the gathered students, because the scheduled speaker had failed to arrive for the event. Overton saw a flag of the United States in the front of the chapel (a common custom in many American churches). Drawing on the flag for inspiration, he gave a speech asking the students what a flag representing Christianity would look like.

Overton thought about his improvised speech for many years afterward. In 1907, he and Ralph Diffendorfer, secretary of the Methodist Young People's Missionary Movement, designed and began promoting the flag.

I see there's even a Pledge of Allegiance to the Christian Flag. It is based upon the American Pledge, of course. Some sort of syncretism is going on here, making the church in the state's image.

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