Every local and state governmental building – indeed, nearly every person or entity that flies both the federal and a state flag together (including McDonald’s restaurants and etc.) – fly the federal flag higher than the state flag. For federal governmental buildings, the federal General Services Administration’s Flag Policy explains that a state flag may be flown at federal facilities “on the anniversary of statehood, on State holidays and other special occasions.” However, the policy goes on to direct that a state flag “must not be larger than the [U.S. flag] and must be on the flag pole beneath the [U.S. flag] when flown on the same staff.” No federal facility ever flies a state flag higher than the U.S. flag. Such flyings – with the U.S. flag above the state flag – communicate the illusion that state governments are inferior in authority to the federal government. However, as the banner (shown left) properly depicts, flying the U.S. flag above a state flag both (1) is backwards and (2) doesn’t reflect a complete explanation of the correct hierarchy of governmental authority in the U.S.
The top-down positioning of the flags on the banner represents the true hierarchy of governmental power and authority in our country – designed and delegated as set forth in the Bible, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the state constitutions.
The top flag on the banner is the Christian flag. It is topmost because it represents the source of all creation, life, light, and truth – the self-existent, one true God – Who has three personages: the Holy Father, the Holy Son (our Lord, Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. Speaking of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible explains “. . . His name is called the Word of God.” Rev. 19:13. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:1-5. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” along with the dry land, the waters, the grasses, herbs, and fruit trees according to their kind, light to divide the day from the night, the living creatures in the waters according to their kind, the birds of the air according to their kind, the land creatures according to their kind, and “God created man in his own image; in the image of God He created them; male and female he created them.” Gen. 1:1-27. So, the Christian flag is topmost on the banner because it symbolizes the absolute truth that all honor, power, worship, and glory belong to God and only to God – and to no created thing, including any of us human beings.
The Declaration of Independence was so named because it declared the people’s independence from the oppressive government of the British Crown. However, it just as appropriately could have been titled the Declaration of Dependence – because of its express acknowledgments of mankind’s dependence upon God: (1) “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” and (2) “And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” And so, the second flag on the banner is a people flag. It represents God’s creation of mankind and mankind’s most important subset: the family. The people flag depicts a family engaging in praise and worship toward God. It is properly situated directly below the Christian flag, and above the governments-of-men flags – in acknowledgment of the absolute truth that, as the Declaration asserts, we people derive our very creation and well being from Almighty God – and not from the governments or the proclamations of men.
Our original thirteen state governments derived their existence and authority from the people located within each state. As explained in the Declaration of Independence, “governments are instituted among men, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed.” The state governments were created by the legislatures (people) of the states, via their ratification of their respective state constitutions. Because the states were created by the people, our Washington State flag is properly situated on the banner in the third position, below the people flag – in acknowledgment of the state governments’ subservience to the people’s authority.
Our federal government, too, derived its existence and authority from the people located within the original thirteen states. Again, the Declaration of Independence explains that “governments are instituted among men, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed.” The federal government was created by the legislatures (people) of those original thirteen states, via their ratification of the U.S. Constitution. The preamble for the Constitution states “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union . . . do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Having been oppressed by the tyrannical government of the British Crown, the framers of the Constitution had a major purpose in mind: to disperse governmental power as broadly as feasible, so that governmental power in the new federal government could never be concentrated in only a few persons or entities. That guiding purpose led to the design of separate executive, legislative, and judicial branches for the new federal government – with the legislative branch constructed to be bicameral. Those designs, alone, effected a very broad dispersion of federal governmental power. More importantly, the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution made it clear that the new federal government’s powers were to be those expressly delegated to it by the states and the people in the written Constitution – and all other governmental powers were reserved to (retained by) the states and the people themselves: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Thus, with the U.S. Constitution, the states and the people created a new federal government which would possess only expressly delegated governmental powers – and the states and the people reserved to themselves all other governmental powers. For that reason, the U.S. flag is situated in its proper place – of lowest designed and delegated power and authority – at the very bottom of the banner.
So, all honor, power, worship, and glory belong solely to God. God delegated an extremely small subset of that – i.e., some governmental power – to mankind, so that it might try to order its affairs in this world for a time. In setting up the United States, the people delegated a much smaller subset of their own delegated governmental power to their state governments. Then, the people and the state governments delegated another small subset of their own delegated governmental powers to the federal government.
As Jesus explained, Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. John 13:16. Thus, at any time, the people and the state governments could amend the U.S. Constitution to expressly further limit federal governmental power. Likewise, at any time, the people could amend their state constitutions to expressly further limit state governmental power. And, at any time, our Lord Jesus Christ will return to this world and set up His own government over the remnant of people (the faithful) – which has been prophesied and which Jesus expressly promised that He will do. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, chapter 9, prophesied and written approximately 700 years before the incarnate birth of Jesus,
6For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7Of the increase of His government and
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His
To order it and establish it with
judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts
will perform this.
Jesus made his personal promise to return for us. Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself; that where I am there you may be also. John 14:1-3. Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book. Rev. 2:6.
Therefore, the flags appear on the banner in proper depiction of the top-down, designed, and delegated hierarchical order of governmental power and authority in our country. People and entities who fly their flags improperly are only pretending otherwise.
John C. Bolliger