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Aug 01, 2005

Your Turn: This Kingdom Is My Kingdom


Last month, the Christian Broadcasting Network took up the cause of a U.S. Christian flag.

The proposed design was created by Marcia Thompson Eldreth of Cecil County, Md., and was inspired by a sermon she heard in church.  It is intended to replace the international Christian flag (which Ms. Eldreth describes as "crisp and dignified, but politely cold").  This version is supposed to be flown alongside the stars and stripes.

Christian flag website.

For background and clarification, here is the artist's explanation of the elements:

The eagle carrying the cross represents the American Christian taking the gospel around the world declaring Christ's shed blood for the people.

The Purple represents His royalty, the White represents His purity, the Red represents His shed blood, and the Blue represents His bruises.

The 50 stars that create the border of the flag represent all the Christians of the United States banding together to protect our right to preach the gospel and to protect our Christian heritage.

The Scriptures are Matthew 24:4 "take heed no man deceive you" and Matthew 24:14 "and this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world ......and then shall the end come".

I am interested in your analysis (especially since I've left on vacation by now.  See below).


The first thing that comes to mind is that's one big eagle to be able to carry a cross that can support a man.

In fact, that's probably its purpose: to show that the eagle symbol (nationalism) dominating and controlling the cross (religion).

Indeed an eagle is often considered to be a war-like bird while Jesus is often shown to be a peaceful dove. This shows a distinct subversion of the religion.

Other things to consider: The cross is usually shown upright. In this case, it's shown at an angle. Additionally, it's usually shown alone or supporting the body of Christ. To have an eagle carrying it implies it no longer stands for itself but it's something (a weapon or at least a tool) to be used.

In the U.S. seal, the eagle is shown with thirteen arrows in one claw and an olive branch with thirteen berries in the other, each symbolizing war and peace. As well, it's at rest.

In this flag, the eagle carries a bloodstained cross in both claws while it flies to the right.

It's quite unsettling to look at this and consider its implications.

The Bald Eagle is a scavenger. Much like a vulture, it feeds off of dead or dying animals, fish, and birds - whatever it can find, it's no hunter. The Eagle is indeed a beutiful bird but I don't think a scavenger represents Christianity well, or does it?

Good eye on the blood stains on the cross, Mike. That's probably why the eagle picked it up.

I give this flag two talons down.

imagine that you cannot read English, or cannot read, period. you live in some tribal-village context, and see this flag symbol thingy.

a bunch of foreigners, white people with "lots of cargo", in the lingo of Guns, Germs and Steel ~ plant this flag symbol thingy in your village, or perhaps they plaster it on a wall, or maybe it's nose art on the noisy helicopter that brought the strange white people to your village.

OK. you know animals pretty good (you live among them). you know that this eagle-bird creature is a bird of prey, some kind of carrion-feeding, vulture-like animal.

and you know that a crucifix is a killing device, like a hangman's noose or an executioner's axe: you know that tyrants and warlords use these kinds of things to punish or just plain terrorize people into submission.

uh-huh. So, you and your local folks look at this image and see that this menacing bird is carrying a bloody killing thing. a crowd of locals gather around it, wondering WTH it all means.

the white people with "lots of cargo" struggle through some local interpreter to tell you:

" this guy Jesus, he loved you. but this guy who loved you, he died on this killing post that's being carried by this carrion-eating bird of prey."

well, that's a bummer, you and the other villagers say. and by the way, who are you white people? the interpreter tells the white people, "they say 'that's a bummer.' they say, 'who are you?' "

the white people tell you, "Oh, we're from the land of the Eagle," they point to the bird, "that's US. we're called, Americans."

much excitement in the village! the interpreter struggles to pick out one voice among so many in the crowd. finally he tells the white people: "they say, 'why you Americans kill Jesus who loved them?!!' they say, 'are you going to kill them, too?' "

The new flag sends one message very clearly: American Christianity, and only American fundamentalist born-again Christianity, is the only acceptable Christianity. The first so-called Christian flag (you can see it at the BAG link), which claims to be in 244,000 churches, comes across as very non-denominational. It doesn't say whether the old flag is used in other countries, but it does say it was first conceived in the United States.

This new proposed flag asserts American fundamentalist Christianity as the true religion. The American bald eagle holding the cross and the end-times Bible passages could not make it more starkly clear that this is a flag only for those who are saved.

And that separation of church and state thing?

I wonder what is the protocol of flying a flag aside or below the S and S? Is permission or official blessing required? Can I make a flag and fly it just for the hell of it? Why doesn't everyone make a flag and do this? What about a pagan flag or a flag for the NRA or for my cats?

it looks like Japan's flag with a border thrown around it. There's all that trapped white/negative space: a classic design faux-pas anybody will learn in the most basic design courses. Running a dark border around trapped white space will only create more distraction in terms of design. In Japan's flag, at least the whie space isn't trapped by a border. It's free to spread at its own will, whereas in this flag it's penned in by a border. If the white symbolises Christ's purity and the border represents the believers in the US, it seems indeed that only Americans are able to decide what Christianity is. It also makes for bad design, as I find this flag very hard to look at. There are too many layers and the design is heavily influenced by text. Hardly the kind of symbol people outside the US would understand.

It's simply a bad design. I'd file this under Christian Bumper Sticker Art.

"Protecting our Christian heritage"? Are these the same group of morons who think this country was founded on Christianity?


Besides, that line, "Christian heritage" sounds too close to "Aryan Heritage".

Does the border of stars keep the faithful in? Keep the faithless / infidel out?

The King James diction and fonts subliminally ( and fondly? ) recall the tyranny of the English crown.

This is an odd world view that seeks to avenge the death of Christ while ignoring the words of Christ, at least the words about peace and neighbor loving.

I think it's perfect. It should be tattooed on every Christian Evangelist's right arm. Then His people shall be known for what they are... dumb-ass dominionists with a penchant for crowded, nasty, violent, yet kooky symbolism of the lowest order.

I'm confused. Why is this "flag" necessary? The other day, we discussed the US national flag, which is already in service to spread the American way of life - and death - around the world, thanks to a born-again leader. Also confused by the symbolism. In the past, I always understood that the Christ had carried his cross, so why mut now a bird carry it? Please Lord do not let the bird drop it on my head!

How big would that flag need to be to show an American anti-semitic Jesus, smoting gays, feminists, Liberals, intellectuals and atheists with a flaming cross blazing with Arab oil? Guess Old Glory isn't representative enough for true Christofascists.

Oh crap . . . this means ANOTHER flag burning bill probably with a death penalty rider attached. LOVE the cultcha of strife, er, life!

Oh, this is so much fun! Monsieur Gonzo--I tried looking at it as if I didn't speak English. It looked to me like a variation of a bullseye with the Eagle and blood-stained cross as the target. So, speaking no English, I interpret the semiotics as "kill the Eagle and blood-stained cross."

The design is terrible, but may reflect the mind of the fundamentalist Christian: Their thinking is cluttered, distracted. They don't use the graphics to highlight the core elements, and the proportions are all wrong. The flag has a bunch of conventional elements arranged to assert a text-based story to soothe the anxieties of members of an in-group. And the story it tells isn't even the Christian story. It is something else: The design reflects paranoia, parched imaginations and an inability to comprehend the lavish and loving fullness of the divine.

They see the black borders with the white stars as protecting the Christian heritage. I see it as their prison wall: These people are imprisoned by their beliefs.

Their choice of Bible verse astonishes me: "Take heed no man deceive you...?" carried on a banner in the mouth of the Eagle??!? That verse is NOT a core text at any time and place in Christian history. Yet that is placed in the symbolically important center of the flag. It is even ironic, given that these folks are so deceived that they think they are Christian.

It is just a shame: Once Christianity inspired Michaelangelo and Raphael.

Christofascists? If I remember correctly from my school lessons, the Nazi and Communist ideologies were seen as totalitarian, whereas fascism was a somewhat weaker version, not thoroughly totalitarian. Are religious fundamentalists totalitarian? Are the extremist Christians, Muslims and Jews (to mention but a few...) capable of allowing a measure of freedom, or are they bent on controling all aspects of our lives? The flag depicted suggests a total control, with the bloody cross about to smite any dissenter, and the United States' eagle controling the Cross... so, I think that the term "Christofascist" is a bit feeble, I would prefer "Nazis for Jesus". Is it not true also that these people wish to provoke armageddon, so as to destroy Judaism as a religion?

The new American Empire flag specifically evoking the END OF THE WORLD seems a bit ominous. Suddenly the mission of the US is to deliver the message of Jesus and bring about the End Times ?!

Who is writing this story now? Surely this "flag" concept is very far fetched. Right?

In Germany (and maybe the rest of Europe?) an envelope or letter with a black border represents a death notice. (They do that so you can sit down - and you're not shocked when you open it.) How will that culture interpret this "flag"?

I've only seen the 3 sided border on a flag one other place: Tibet's flag. It has a yellow border on 3 sides. Very asymetrical, and aesthetically displeasing in my mind. What a contrast between Buddhist Tibetans and Right Wing Fascist Christian End-Times Americans!

"Take heed no man deceive you" -- how ironic.

The Great Deceiver sits in the Oval Office (or maybe he's at Crawford clearing brush) and tells lie after lie after lie.

Do the pseudo-quasi-Christians simply not understand the meaning of deception?

The center phrase is very illogical, does anyone understand what it's supposed to symbolize? "Take heed that no man deceive you" makes little sense in any interpretation I can think of of this so-called flag (The whole point of a flag is that it doesn't use words, it uses symbols).

I also fail to see why a "Christian" flag is needed for America, and strongly suspect it will instead become the swastika of the Southern Baptists and friends. I find it hard to imagine most Christians in America flying this.

The context of "Take heed that no man deceive you" is that of the Day of Judgment, Christ's second coming when he will judge the quick and the dead, when "Heaven and Earth will pass away."

In the passage in Matthew, Christ assures "the elect" that terrible things are about to happen, and warns them that they need to guard against false prophets and stick it out until the End: " will hear of wars and rumors of wars...nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake....For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect."

It is quite frightening. The rest of us are trying to live peaceable lives, trying to build a just society and preserve the earth, and they are longing for the final judgment. The command to "not be deceived" gives them license to close their minds to any and all actual reality.

And THIS is proposed to be the Christian flag???

I was struck by the same image of the death notice letter as Gasho: " envelope or letter with a black border represents a death notice." Along with the frightening mindset of Apocalyptic loving Christians (which I admit I cannot fathom that desire, nor the focus on a symbol of death and torture to represent a faith) -- guarantees that outside of those right-wing fanatics, the plain symbolism of this flag spells fear: the Death Bringers. It is a terrible design, artistically and thematically -- and perhaps that gives me hope that it will be rejected.
Let us re/turn to a culture of peace.

Indigo..."Death Bringers"

Perhaps, a la Harry Potter, we could call fundamentalists "Death Eaters"? Heh.

MG: ...much excitement in the village! the interpreter struggles to pick out one voice among so many in the crowd. finally he tells the white people: "they say, 'why you Americans kill Jesus who loved them?!!' they say, 'are you going to kill them, too?' "

PTate in MN: ...looking at it as if I didn't speak English. It looked to me like a variation of a bullseye with the Eagle and blood-stained cross as the target...

The wise old tribal Chief tells the villagers, "I know what this means! I remember 9 moon cycles ago, another great iron bird came down from the sky; out of it came other white people with lots of cargo and they gave us "guns" and taught our warriors how to use them with these things called, "targets". these white people, they said they were from land of "N.R.A."

" This is a great omen!" said the wise old Chief. "this danger is foretold, and our warriors are prepared. We must avenge the death of Jesus who loved us!"

" I command you: kill the white people from the land of the eagle in the target! "


To me, the flag as a whole is reminiscent of Klan symbolism and the font of Nazism-White Supremacy. Scary.

Violates the following rules from the flag-grading site:
-Do not write on your flag.
-Do not put a picture of anything on your flag.
-Too busy.
-Hideous colors.
-Too many stars.

Definitely an 'F'.

susan: "I'd file this under Christian Bumper Sticker Art."

Like the image of George W. Bush praying, while the ghosts of Washington & Lincoln lay their hands on him? Creepy.

Gasho: The flag concept is not as far-fetched as we want to believe. The Dominionists have gained in numbers over the last 20 years and they take their end times seriously. I recommend the Yurica Report for anyone who needs a quick primer:

Take their oath. I laughed the first time I read it thinking how "out there" it must be. Then I read the rest of Yurica's site. If we don't take this threat seriously, we're in terrible trouble.

"I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen and coming again, with life and liberty for all who believe."

From "The Crusaders: Christian Evangelicals Are Plotting to Remake America in Their Own Image" by Bob Moser: wide-spread is the support for such a flag? Eeesh.

I'm starting to avoid all kinds of symbology. How ...very ...Quaker-ish of me.

Yeesh, this is the scariest thing I've ever seen.

This looks like an international warning label...Beware an eagle carrying a cross. Is it just my twisted imagination or do the two sets of words contradict each other? OK, "let no man deceive you"--says to me that we shouldn't rely on any "man's" words. "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached..." Well now, WHO is doing the preaching? That human cadre of born again right wing neo-con evangelistas. This flag is a cryptic (and desperate) plea from one on the inside (maybe Cheney looking to get out!) trying to warn the rest of us. The enigma has been cracked--don't listen to them and their deceptive words....! Have a nice day.

It is intended to replace the international Christian flag (which Mrs. Eldreth describes as "crisp and dignified, but politely cold").

In some ways, a comparison of the two flags is a perfect metaphor for the division between "mainline" and "evangelical" Protestantism in the U.S.

This flag could trigger a migraine.

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