A church in North Carolina is protesting various same-sex marriage by flying the Christian flag over the American flag. The subtle demonstration is part of the growing God Before Government movement.
On July 5, Elizabeth Baptist Church in Shelby, North Carolina, became the first church to fly the Christian flag (shown above) above the Stars and Stripes in clear defiance of flag etiquette. Raw Story described the Sunday flag raising was a “special event” for Christians to reevaluate their priorities.
The group’s message is simple — their Christian faith comes before their allegiance to the government.
The organization explained on their website, “If there was ever a time when people need to stand up for traditional values and beliefs, it is now…”
“This new approach to flag etiquette symbolizes that our service and commitment to God is greater than our service and commitment to government – especially a government that coerces us to violate our commitments to God.”
More Christian churches have followed suit, and according to the group, their message has gone viral using the hashtag #GodBeforeGovernment. Pastor Rit Varriale even went on Fox and Friends to make his case.
Varriale claims that his protest is about more than just the gay marriage ruling, but also focuses on other issues undermining “traditional Christian values” — such as children not being allowed to pray in school.
The pastor does not shy away from controversial statements, either. During a prayer service in the North Carolina General Assembly, he compared the soft stance of most American churches to the passive behavior of German Christian churches during the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.
“The sad truth about the church is that it often takes the path of ease, when instead it should take the path of resistance, responsibility and reform. … The American church, like the German church of the 1930s and 1940s, is free of persecution because it has done little that is worthy of persecution.”
Some commentators have called the Christian flag demonstrations unpatriotic, which Varriale, a former Army Ranger, doesn’t pay much attention to. He told WBTV, “I’m willing to give my life for my country.”
“When you think of military mottoes, for example, God and country, God first and then country.”
The Christian flag may be the latest in America’s growing list of controversial flag-related issues.
[Image Credit: David Shankbone / Wikimedia Commons]