An Open Letter to Moscow on Christian Flags in June

Some of the Moscow citizenry are bound to both notice and question the appearance of a few Christian flags around town in June. I had the privilege of moving to town in November 2021. So I am still fairly new to this little northern Idaho hamlet. I have been struck by the charm of this town. While at the same time, I have noticed the fairly widespread presence of—what shall we call them—signs of the left. Not a few Moscovites appear to fly their ethics and politics on the front lawn.

Additionally, there has been a fair amount of vitriol that has come the way of Christians even in my short time here. Christ Church offices and New Saint Andrews College, to name a few, have been decorated by the spittle (and sometimes urine) of the troubled passerby. It has really been something to see—we have video footage from the security cameras. Then there was the time some disgruntled people blasted a horrendous noise through a speaker while we were singing Christmas carols in friendship square.

Several of our congregants have their businesses “blacklisted” by people who can’t seem to get through the day without getting their knickers in a knot. Then there has been more than one petty legal maneuver against stand up Christian citizens here in Moscow that has garnered national attention.

These shenanigans roll on while the Christians around here go on with normal Christian living. The town appears to be undergoing something of a revival with businesses and restaurants popping up downtown, with Christians at the helm of this renewal. One of my favorite examples of the silliness around here was some unfriendly fellow saying online how great the beer is out one of the downtown establishments. He added that it was a shame because he could not frequent this establishment since it is owned and operated by a Kirker.

Now, these local events are a small picture of the increasing difficulties in our nation. June has been designated PRIDE month and Target is teaching the little boys the advantages of cutting off their testicles. I really do hate writing sentences like that. I hope that future generations who look back on these days will pardon me. Let it be known that I am merely a weather man accurately reporting on the climate. I would not write about groomers training boys to cut their testicles off if there were not Target groomers doing so. But, alas, how can one point out the storm that is upon us without pointing out the storm that is upon us? 

It is easy to grow accustomed to the most vile practices such that you lose your grip on just how troubled the waters are. We all like to think that we would have done the right thing had we lived under the Third Reich. But that sentiment must be measured by how we are comporting ourselves under our modern day human rights offenses, particularly the murder of the most vulnerable among us: the preborn in the womb.

In God’s kind providence—He always writes the best stories—He overturned the wicked Roe Supreme Court decision on the very month our nation has determined to puff our chest and tout our PRIDE. You do not have to be the hyper-spiritual type to see that something heavenly is at work in our earthly affairs. Tucker Carlson recently noted that he is a mere Episcopalian, what he called something like the least serious faith tradition, and even he thinks something otherworldly is at work and now would be a good time for us all to pray.

So some of the Christians around town have hoisted up a Christian flag in celebration of Roe’s overturn. Ours flies right next to an American flag. It is something of an age-old sentiment: “God bless America.” This month, as we remember Dobbs, we celebrate that murder of innocent children is no longer protected by Roe. The flag is a testimony to our gratitude for the Triune God who treats us better than we deserve.

I anticipate that there will be different responses to the Christian flags around town. A small group of people will likely be downright hostile. Their lack of tolerance in the name of tolerance may be put on display. On the other end of the spectrum would be those who honk in support, or roll down the window to shout something like “‘Merica!” while wondering to themselves where they can obtain one of these Christian flags.

Then, I suspect there is a large swath of people who are a bit unsure about the whole thing, ranging from not caring much to quite worried about all of the competing flags and signs which seem to crop up unceasingly these days. This middle group has reasonable questions so I’d like to head some of them off here.

In the first instance, it is hard to be upset with those flying a Christian flag for one month out of the year when so many fly their LGBTQ and BLM flags every month of the year. Answering twelve months of symbolic perversion with one month symbolizing the good news that a Nazarene laid down His life to save the world is, by any objective standard, quite mild. We’re coming in around Mother Teresa levels if you step back and think it through.

But must we escalate the situation? Well, the Christian flags are not an attempt to escalate our tensions. But the question is warranted given that such an escalation is a reasonable result of flying the Christian flag in June. The fact that such a result could come from such a mild and reasonable action, (not to mention the very fact that you have to ask the question), is itself that troublesome smell coming from beneath the hood telling you how bad things are.

You do not live in the nation you used to live in back when Barack Obama thought marriage was only fitting for one man and one woman. The times really have changed and pointing out that they have done so is most necessary. Some folks have decided to do so by flying Christian flags in June.

I admit there is something quite childlike in the whole thing. And this is something that distinguishes the Christian flag flyers from the leftist flag flyers. They are far more serious and shrill. I say childlike as my household, at least, is hoisting the flag with something of a Narnian chuckle. Lewis described these Narnians well in his book The Horse and His Boy, and his description paints a picture of the spirit in which Christian flags are hoisted in June—

“Instead of being grave and mysterious like most Calormenes, they walked with a swing and let their arms and shoulders go free, and chatted and laughed. One was whistling. You could see that they were ready to be friends with anyone who was friendly, and didn’t give a fig for anyone who wasn’t. Shasta thought he had never seen anything so lovely in his life.”

The Christian flag is no sacrament. A man can fly one if he’d like or not, of course. The whole flag flying endeavor nearly borders on a joke. We Christians are serious about many things. But the flag flying does not fall in the sacred category. We’re taking a month to celebrate the overturn of Roe and say, “Yes, we of course do notice all of the rainbow flags out front. We have a flag, too. 

But don’t mistake our cheerful and whimsical flag flying as a cagey or disgruntled attempt at a local culture war. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal. They are Word, water, bread, and wine. Our sword is a book that contains a message of genuine liberty, not the faux liberty of the rainbow revolution. That message is: Christ Jesus came to save sinners. God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in Him shall never perish, but have eternal life.

June belongs to this holy, gracious, and Triune God just like every other month. This month, if you happen to see that old, plain and simple, Vacation Bible School Christian flag waving in the breeze, then hear—

“The Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).