BIG BREAKING NEWS – VIOLATION OF FREE SPEECH OF CHRISTIAN GROUP?: Supreme Court – Free Speech of Christian group which Sought to Fly a Flag? [#ChristianFlag] 01/18
The US supreme court on Tuesday considered whether the city of Boston violated the free speech of a Christian group which sought to fly a flag in front of city hall.
The justices seemed to have little doubt that Boston was wrong to refuse to fly the banner, which was described as a Christian flag.
Three flagpoles stand outside Boston city hall.
The US flag and the Massachusetts state flag are permanent fixtures.
The third pole is usually reserved for the Boston flag but the city has allowed groups to use it while holding events in front of the building.
Flags that have been flown include the LGBTQ+ pride flag and those of different nations.
In 2017, Harold Shurtleff, the founder of Camp Constitution, a volunteer group that aims “to enhance the understanding of the country’s Judeo-Christian heritage”, applied to have a white flag with a red cross on a blue square flown during an event featuring “short speeches by some local clergy focusing on Boston’s history”, court documents say.
The city denied the application and shortly afterwards published rules saying it would deny flags that support “discrimination, prejudice or religious movements”.
Harold Shurtleff sued, saying the city violated his free speech by denying him and Camp Constitution access to the flagpole, which he argues is a public forum.
The city argued that the flagpole is government speech and that to fly religious flags from it would constitute an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.
In court documents, lawyers for Shurtleff argue that the city long exercised little control over who could use the flagpole, sometimes approving applications without looking at the flags that would be raised.
Before Shurtleff’s application, over a decade, the city approved 284 flag-raising events without denying any.
Once the supreme court announced it would be taking up Harold Shurtleff’s case, Boston said it would no longer accept applications to fly flags in front of city hall.
US supreme court considers Boston’s refusal to fly Christian flag at city hall:
Justices seemed to have little doubt that Boston was wrong to refuse to fly the banner, which was described as a Christian flag: