HALF STAFF….I saw a flag flying at half staff yesterday and wondered what it was for. Couldn’t be for the pope, could it? Why would an American flag fly at half staff because the leader of the Catholic church had died?

But no: that’s exactly what’s going on. I don’t want to make a big deal out of this, and I don’t know if previous presidents have done the same thing, but it sure doesn’t seem right. Would we do the same thing if the Archbishop of Canterbury died? Or the Ayatollah Sistani?

UPDATE: I originally ended this post with a comment about the pope also being a head of state, but deleted it before I hit the Publish button. From comments, I can see that was a mistake.

But it’s a red herring. Heads of state die all the time and we don’t lower our flags for them. If the pope weren’t a religious leader, we wouldn’t be flying flags at half staff, would we?

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