If you have ever been to a Vacation Bible School, you know the pledges. "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America..." "I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag and to the Savior for whose Kingdom it stands..." "I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God's Holy Word..." The pledges are usually done in that order.
For a while now, I have had some reservations about pledging to the Christian flag. Not that I do not pledge allegiance to the Savior and His Kingdom. But a Christian flag? Where did this come from? It seems to me that the Christian flag is only used so that we can salute the American flag in church. Think about it. When have you ever saluted the Christian flag without saluting to the American flag first?
A couple of weeks ago I spoke at the Veritas chapel service. I noticed as the children did the pledges that they did them in the reverse order. They pledged allegiance to the Bible first, the Christian flag second, and the American flag last. I thought this was brilliant.
Before I explain, let me say that I am not anti-American. I love America. I love living in America. I just think that the Kingdom of God is a bit more important than the USA, and I assure you that those two are not synonymous. (I recently saw a t-shirt that said "JesUSAves." Yikes.)
Now think about this. Which is more likely? 1) Pledging my highest allegiance to America makes me a better Christian, or 2) Pledging my highest allegiance to Christ makes me a better American.
I think we need to seriously consider the nature of our patriotism within the church. It is backwards for a Christian to pledge allegiance to America before the Kingdom of God. It is a shortcoming when we remember the fallen from U.S. wars, but forget the blood of the martyrs who passed our faith along to us and who continue to die for the faith even today. We must not drape our crosses with the flag of any earthly nation, and we must reserve our highest allegiance to the King and the Kingdom that will reign in the world without end.