Flags to Half-Staff for the 3,000 Daily Pre-Born Victims of Abortion
This is not at all an action of protest, but rather it is an action of flying the American flag patriotically and honestly based on the U.S. flag code and the following logic:
Q: When 3,000 innocent human beings are directly killed on a given day in the United States of America, how do we categorize it and how do we fly the American flag in response?
A: We call it a national tragedy and we fly the American flag at half-staff in response (or with a black mourning ribbon on a short flagpole).
Q: There are 3,000 innocent human beings directly killed by abortion every day in the U.S.A. How should we categorize it and how should we fly the American flag in response?
A: We ought to call it a daily national tragedy and fly the American flag at half-staff in response (or with a black mourning ribbon on a short flagpole).
Born and pre-born humans are of equal value and have equal human rights that need to be enshrined into federal law. It is hypocrisy for us to call it a national tragedy when 3,000 innocent born humans are killed and to fly the American flag at half-staff in response, but then fail to do so when 3,000 innocent pre-born humans are killed.
When we do not treat pre-born and born humans as equal, we are part of the problem. Pre-born children are not protected by our laws and 60 million pre-born children have been killed by abortion since 1973. Let’s be part of the solution by acting in accordance with the truth that pre-born humans and born humans are of equal value.
We have a national tragedy in the U.S. every day. Hypocrisy is never prudent. We must be honest, consistent, and fly the American flag at half-staff.
Only by being honest about the reality of abortion, will we be able to make abortion unthinkable by changing enough hearts and minds to enshrine the right to life for all pre-born children into law and culture.
This is the reality in our nation – 3,000 innocent humans are being directly killed every day by an evil and unjust law. Why are we ignoring it? If we stop ignoring it in how we fly our flags, we will begin to stop ignoring it in many other ways too.
We humbly ask each and every person to take this action.
Everyone can take action by flying an American flag at half-staff, or with a black mourning ribbon on a short flagpole, at their place of residence. Further, persons in positions of greater authority can take this action on a larger scale and should be respectfully encouraged to do so:
- Business owners at their place of business
- Catholic bishops and pastors, non-Catholic Christian leaders, Jewish leaders, Muslim leaders, and all other religious leaders, for all churches, buildings, and schools under their jurisdiction.
- Elected officials for all buildings under their authority.
If you have decided to act on this proposal at your home, at work (business owners), or for all flags within your jurisdiction (religious leaders and elected officials), please email me to let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include your first name, city and state.
What is a black mourning ribbon? It is standard protocol for an American flag on a short flagpole (ex. standard residential pole). You can purchase one here, attach it to the top grommet of your flag, and on a short flagpole it holds the same meaning as the American flag at half-staff on a tall pole.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is there anything illegal, disrespectful, or inappropriate about this action?
Not at all. This is the most common question about this action by far and it is easily answered.
Click here to read the 2008 Congressional Report The United States Flag: Federal Law Relating to Display and Associated Questions which includes verbatim, the United States “Flag Code” as found in Title 4 of the United States Code.
The report clearly answers any debate about whether private individuals and organizations can appropriately decide to lower the American flag to half-staff.
CRS-11 states: “…the provisions of the Flag Code on flying the flag at half-staff are, like all the Code’s provisions, a guide only. They do not apply, as a matter of law, to the display of the flag at half-staff by private individuals and organizations. No federal restrictions or court decisions are known that limit such an individual’s lowering his own flag or that make such a display alone a form of desecration.“
Furthermore, in the initial pages of the report, under the heading of “Background,” the spirit of the Code is made manifest, stating:
“The Federal Flag Code does not purport to cover all possible situations. Although the Code empowers the President of the United States to alter, modify, repeal, or prescribe additional rules regarding the flag, no federal agency has the authority to issue ‘official’ rulings legally binding on civilians or civilian groups. Consequently, different interpretations of various provisions of the Code may continue to be made. The Flag Code itself, however, suggests a general rule by which practices involving the flag may be fairly tested: ‘No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America.’ Therefore, actions not specifically included in the Code may be deemed acceptable as long as proper respect is shown.“
In light of these findings, it is absolutely clear that private individuals and organizations have the authority to lower the American flag to half-staff for the loss of human life as they see fit, in keeping with a patriotic spirit and without any disrespect to the flag or to the nation. In fact, it is good citizenship and patriotism that encourages us to fly the flag honestly for the poorest of the poor and the very least among us: our pre-born brothers and sisters who are being directly killed by the thousands via abortion every day in our nation.
Additionally, the black mourning ribbon is not mentioned in the Code itself, but it is used as the longstanding tradition to signify mourning when the flag cannot be flown at half-staff for some reason. This tradition is legal, respectful, and consistent with the expressed spirit of the Code as cited above.
Note: Attorney Robert Muise of the American Freedom Law Center affirmed the legality of this action in segment one of show 14.
Why should we take this action?
What if we do not have a flag or cannot physically lower our flag for some reason?
If you do not have an American flag, you could buy one.
If you do not have a long enough pole to lower your flag to half-staff, you could buy a larger pole or follow standard protocol for such situations by applying a black mourning ribbon to the top grommet of the flag.
What is the difference between "half-staff" and "half-mast"?
In the U.S., the term “half-mast” is used on ships and “half-staff” is used on land, representing what the flag is normally attached to – a mast at sea or a staff on land.
What if it somehow offends a U.S. military veteran?
There may be some people who claim they are offended by this action, yet such individuals are unlikely to be from among our military veterans.
U.S. military veterans are American heroes who have put their lives on the line to defend our First Amendment rights. They are tough, smart, and probably the least easily offended among us.
It is important to keep in mind that the action of respectfully flying our flags at half-staff for the thousands of daily pre-born victims killed by abortion in no way contains anything that is objectively offensive. Any offense taken is by nature subjective and as such it offers a great opportunity for conversation. Such conversations allow us to explain the core truth that will end abortion: pre-born humans are equal to born humans.
We must not allow the fear of offending to stop us from living the Gospel and doing what is good, true, and beautiful.
What if someone unfairly judges my intentions or personally attacks me in some way because of this?
You should expect some degree of opposition and resistance. Nothing worthwhile is easy.
Take courage, remember why you are doing this, and take to heart these words associated with Mother Teresa (St. Teresa of Calcutta):
“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
Do bishops have the authority to take this action?
Yes. The bishops are the leaders of their dioceses, not the conferences (ex. the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops). A bishop has absolute authority to engage in this sort of free speech activity in his diocese and to encourage or even direct his local pastors to do so (taken from comments by Attorney Robert Muise in segment one of show 14).
Do pastors have the authority to take this action?
Yes. Pastors engage in other activities of expressive activity around their churches and schools and that would certainly extend to this. A pastor may want to inform his bishop of what his intentions are, for prudential reasons, but there is nothing to preclude a pastor from taking this action on his own. Certainly, if his bishop tells him not to do it, he would have to be obedient to the bishop (taken from comments by Attorney Robert Muise in segment one of show 14).
Are there really 3,000 pre-born humans killed every day in the U.S. by abortion?
Sadly, it is likely many more. Click here to find out why we use 3,000 as our estimate for the number of abortions that occur daily in the United States of America.
Do we have to fly it at half-staff every day?
You are free to do as you wish. Some have suggested taking this action merely on Respect Life Month (October), or Fridays throughout the year, or only on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, etc.
We do it and encourage others to do it every day because there are 3,000 pre-born children killed every day in the U.S. We have a national tragedy every day and it appropriate for us to fly our flags honestly.
At the same time, anything is better than nothing. Please do as you see fit. We do not claim ownership of this idea, but merely serve it as a messenger.
Can I only display the American flag during daylight hours?
The American flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during hours of darkness.
If you do not have a light to illuminate the flag, it is universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open.
Do I need to bring the flag indoors if it is raining or storming outside?
Not if you have an all weather flag.
It is now popular to use flags made of synthetic fabrics that can withstand unfavorable weather conditions. It is not considered disrespectful to fly such a flag even during prolonged periods of inclement weather.
How do I properly hoist a flag to half-staff?
The American flag, when flown at half-staff, should first be hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to half-staff position.
When lowering a flag from a postion of half-staff, it should again be raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day.
What if it causes confusion because people won't know why our flags are at half-staff?
This concern never prevents people from flying the American flag at half-staff in other circumstances.
For example, have you ever noticed flags at half-staff where you live, but you had no idea why? This is quite common. Even though you did not know why, people chose to take the action of lowering their flags to half-staff anyway and that certainly seems like a prudent course of action. If the standard was that everyone in the general population needs to know the reason for flying the flag at half-staff before the action is taken, the action would almost never be taken.
It should also be noted that if a diocese or archdiocese takes this action, it would most certainly gain media attention and there would be ample opportunity to proclaim the dignity of the human person and the “why” behind this action. It is reasonable to conclude that there would be far greater clarity in the general population on the reasons for our action than is normally present when flags are flown at half-staff in various other circumstances.