Kathryn Joyce in Salon:
In the late 19th century, a Sunday school leader in New York, Charles C. Overton, called for the creation of a Christian flag: a white banner with a blue field and red cross. The colors were meant to symbolize, respectively, purity, loyalty and the blood of Christ, but they also clearly mirrored those of the American flag. And when a pledge was later developed to accompany Overton’s flag, it similarly entangled Christianity with patriotism, offering a Christianized version of the Pledge of Allegiance. For decades, the flag has been a fixture in conservative churches and religious schools, but many Americans saw it for the first time on Jan. 6 of last year, when rioters paraded it onto the floor of the House of Representatives.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case about that flag, Shurtleff v. Boston. The case turns on complicated constitutional questions about the interplay of the First Amendment’s clauses concerning free speech and the government establishment of religion, but it also speaks to the growing prominence of Christian nationalism — with its highly dubious claim that the U.S. was founded as a Christian nation, and that Christians should therefore enjoy a privileged place within it — and its demands for public accommodation. It could also, at least hypothetically, open the door for neo-Nazis and white supremacists to fly the Nazi flag, the Confederate flag or the flag of Kekistan, the imaginary right-wing nation ruled by Pepe the Frog (as seen last January at the U.S. Capitol), on public property.