About 100 Hollister area residents gathered at City Hall to celebrate the raising of the Christian flag on Sunday, April 3. The flag is being flown for the month of April on the city’s Unity pole, in conjunction with the celebration of Easter on April 17.
The Unity pole was established by the city council in 2021 for the purpose of flying flags which “represent a national, state, or city interest; promotes unity and community; and represents a positive interest or value worthy of public recognition.” The Christian flag was approved for flying in response to the positive impact the Christian community has made in Hollister and San Benito County. The flag is being flown on the Unity pole as a symbol of unity across our community, for those who identify as Christians and for those who do not.
Those who are Christians celebrated the raising of the flag for the spiritual significance to them and their families. In many cases, their spiritual journeys with Jesus Christ have offered them lasting freedom from harmful addictions, hurtful lifestyles and family trauma.
Members of congregations from a number of churches sang praise songs and expressed prayers for our community. They were led in song by very talented music teams from Legacy Church, Iglesia de Christo Camino de Santidad (ICDS) and South Valley Community Church. It was a joyous occasion for all who attended.
Those who do not identify as Christians spiritually have also benefited from the Christian influence on our country and community. The writers of the Declaration of Independence were strongly influenced by Christian thought and writings when they penned that “all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” The Declaration and Constitution, for the first time in history, laid the foundation of a nation in which the government had limitations and the people had the rights. The Declaration identified these rights as “among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
About a decade and a half later, James Madison would consolidate 17 current libertarian ideas into the first ten amendments to the Constitution, aka The Bill of Rights, which include the rights to free speech, to peaceably assemble, to due process, to a speedy and public trial and to protection from unreasonable searches. All of these derive from the recognition that personal rights do not come from government—that is, other people—but from “their Creator.”
United States Joint Senate and House Resolution 97-280 has recognized this biblical heritage: “The Bible…has made a unique contribution in shaping the United States as a distinctive and blessed nation…”
The preamble to the Constitution of the State of California acknowledges this same foundation: “We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this Constitution.”
There are approximately 30 churches in the immediate Hollister area, and approximately 65% of Hollister residents identify as Christian. Christian principles of charity have guided how we care for those with medical needs, how we provide educational opportunities for all children, the protections we afford women and children, and how we help one another as neighbors.
The Christian flag displays the same colors as the U.S. flag: The white represents peace and purity; the blue, the unclouded sky and the symbol of fidelity and truth; and the red, the emblem of Christian sacrifice.
When you pass Hollister City Hall this month, give thanks for the unifying impact Christianity has had on our great community.