According to The Christian Post, conservative activist Harold Shurtleff of the group Camp Constitution initially requested to fly the white and blue flag with a red cross symbol outside City Hall in 2017. Five years later, his request was approved.
“I do want to give the glory to God because God’s hand was in this from the very beginning,” Shurtleff said at the flag-raising ceremony.
“We have a great Constitution and a wonderful First Amendment, but just like when it comes to muscle, if you don’t use it, then you get weak. When I got the rejection email from the city, and it said, ‘separation of church and state,’ I knew we had a case.”
Boston City Hall has the Massachusetts and Boston flags flying outside the building, but the city occasionally removes one of its own flags to raise another flag for a temporary period.
From 2005 to 2017, the city of Boston approved 284 flag raisings from private organizations with no denials on the flagpoles that it designated a “public forum,” according to the Christian conservative legal group Liberty Counsel.
The city rejected Shurtleff’s request to fly the “Christian flag” outside City Hall “because doing so would be a government endorsement of religion.”
On May 2, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in favor of Shurtleff.
“We conclude that, on balance, Boston did not make the raising and flying of private groups’ flags a form of government speech,” wrote Justice Stephen Breyer in the opinion.
“That means, in turn, that Boston’s refusal to let Shurtleff and Camp Constitution raise their flag based on its religious viewpoint’ abridg[ed]’ their ‘freedom of speech.'”
According to the Boston Herald, the city plans to propose a change to its flag-raising policies. An ordinance filed to change the rule states that any person who wants to fly a flag on City Hall Plaza will need either a proclamation from the mayor or a resolution from the council.
Photo courtesy: ©GettyImages/duckycards
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.