A pastor in North Carolina has begun a campaign that urges church believers to fly the Christian flag above the American flag in a bid to revive the traditional Christian values in the United States.
As a biblical statement, Pastor Rit Varriale raised a Christian flag on top of the American flag in a pole outside Elizabeth Baptist Church in North Carolina, initially hoping to reverse flag etiquette in America.
"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," Varriale said, according to WBTV.
Varriale, a former Army ranger before becoming a senior pastor in Shelby, North Carolina, argued that Americans have been practicing a flag etiquette that prioritises being Americans before being Christians, which is contrary to the teachings in the Bible.
Citing the American national motto "In God we trust" that was signed into law by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, he argued that the US government acknowledges the existence of a Divine Being, who has the greatest authority and to whom each person is accountable.
"Before our accountability to government is our accountability to God," the senior pastor explained in an interview with Baptist Press News.
"We should be flying the Christian flag above the American flag as a demonstration that Christians will respect and obey the federal government up to the point that the government asks something that is consistent with what God has called His people to do," he added.
The call to change the American flag etiquette can also be seen as a protest to the recent Supreme Court ruling that finally allowed gay couples to formalise their union in same-sex marriage in all 50 states across America, the Inquisitr reported.
"If there was ever a time when people need to stand up for traditional values and beliefs, it is now," Varriale said in a website called God Before Government that calls on other pastors to follow the movement.
"This new approach to flag etiquette symbolises 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," he added.
The group said more Christian churches followed suit with their message going viral online using the hashtag #GodBeforeGovernment, attracting media attention nationwide.