On the flying of flags

Aug 25, 2018 by

By Martin Davie, Reflections of an Anglican Theologian.

The purpose of this post is to consider the issue of the flying of the LGBTI+ rainbow flag by Church of England churches, an issue which has been raised recently by the flying of this flag by Ely Cathedral in order to mark Ely Pride. I shall argue that current regulations do not permit Church of England churches to fly this flag, and that it would be wrong for the regulations to be changed to permit them to do so.

Current regulations on the flying of flags.

It is sometimes thought that the flying of flags is entirely a matter of individual choice and that anyone is entitled to fly whatever flag they want, wherever they want and whenever they want. However, this is not the case.

The flying of flags in the United Kingdom is governed by government regulations which were last revised in 2012 and which are helpfully summarised in the Plain English Guide to flying flags published by the Department for Communities and Local Government.[1]

[…] However, the Church of England has its own regulations for the flying of flags which are more restrictive than the general government regulations just noted.

These regulations can be found on the Church of England’s ‘Church Care’ website. Following directions given by the Earl Marshal in 1938, they lay down that the flag which should normally be flown by a church of the Church of England is ‘The Cross of St George and in the first quarter the escutcheon of the Arms of the See in which the church is ecclesiastically situated.’[5] In other words, the flag to be flown is the St George’s flag with the appropriate diocesan arms in the top corner nearest to the flag staff. In addition, ‘Churches may also, if they so wish, fly the Union Flag on the same days when it is flown from Government and other buildings.’[6]

There are also regulations for the laying up in churches of military colours and Royal British Legion standards.[7] No provision is made for any other flag to be flown.

What all this means is that there is no provision for Church of England churches to fly the rainbow flag. Churches that do so are therefore acting against the Church of England’s regulations on the matter.

Read here

Read also:What signal was given by the Ely Pride flag? by Ian Paul, Psephizo

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