Two pastors in North Carolina have raised a Christian flag higher than the American flag at their churches, in part to voice their disapproval over the legalization of same-sex marriage and to promote the values of Christianity and for more Christians to speak out about their faith.
Pastor Rit Varriale of Elizabeth Baptist Church spoke to local news station WBTV on July 5 about the controversial decision.
“Our typical flag etiquette is to have the American flag above the Christian flag. But when you stop and think about it, it should be our commitment to God first, then our commitment to country.”
TheBlaze notes the Christian flag has the same colors as the American flag and was created in 1897 to symbolize the Christian faith.
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It was only after another pastor, Walter Wilson of Focus Missionary Baptist Church in Shelby, North Carolina, moved the Christian flag to its new location that Varriale decided to do the same. For Wilson, it was God telling him to move the flag that caused him to act.
“As I was changing the rope one day, the Lord just laid on me that he is first and when he told me that, I switched the flags around,” Wilson said.
Varriale also discussed the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to federally recognize and legalize same-sex marriages throughout the nation, which he believes occurred due to the LGBT community fighting harder for their cause than Christians have been.
“The reality is, they have been willing to sacrifice more and be more bold for their cause than the church of Jesus Christ for serving God, and that’s got to change. Encourage your pastor and church leaders to do the same and start flying flags in such a manner that it is clear we will serve God before government,” he said.
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Varriale also assured those who oppose his decision to move the flag that he is still supportive of Americans and the U.S. itself.
“I really don’t need a lecture on patriotism, I’m willing to give my life for my country. When you think of military mottos, for example, God and country, God first and then country,” Varriale added.
The pastors also launched a website, God Before Government, which promotes Christian values and assures readers 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.”
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons