A federal lawsuit was filed last week against the city of Boston, Massachusetts for religious discrimination. The suit was made when the city denied a group the right to fly the Christian flag at an hour-long event, while 284 other flags were allowed to fly.
Hal Shurtleff, the director, and co-founder of Camp Constitution asked the city if they could fly the flag on September 17, 2017, for Constitution Day during a one-hour event. The flag is known worldwide as an inter-denominational symbol. However, the city denied the request, saying that only non-religious or secular flags were allowed to be flown.
And while the Christian flag was banned, the city of Boston has allowed the official flag of the Catholic Church/Vatican and the Turkish flag to be flown several times from City Hall. In fact, the Turkish flag has been flown 13 times since 2005 on city hall flagpoles, and it contains the iconic symbols of Islam: the star and the crescent.
Aren’t those flags also considered to be religious, even blatantly so?
The city has also flown the Cuban, transgender, and LGBTQ flags on numerous occasions. In addition, the Communist Chinese flag was flown in commemoration of the anniversary of the Chinese revolution.
It seems odd that a city boasting some of our nation’s most historic sites would deny the raising of the flag that our country was founded on. And stranger still that it would allow flags from other countries that are clearly based on religion to be flown instead. Not to mention that a communist flag was allowed to fly at city hall. Doesn’t that go against everything our nation stands for?
Yet, according to the city, it was unconstitutional to fly the Christian flag, as it violated the First Amendment. Furthermore, they stated that they might have approved of the request if it had been labeled as the Camp Constitution flag instead of the Christian flag. Really? Is that what the Catholic church did?
“There’s no question that it is an unconstitutional act and originally said it was a violation of the First Amendment, which I find ironic,” said Shurtleff in an interview with Fox News. Ironic indeed, since the city has accused the group of being unconstitutional in an act that very clearly makes the opposite point.
The group had planned for the event to encourage Christian values and to celebrate the freedom of the United States and its foundation on Christianity. At the end of the event, the Christian flag was to be raised and presented. However, after their request was denied by the city, the event was canceled.
The group again applied to fly the flag in 2018 for the same event. It was also denied. Thus, the city was sued for discrimination.
When the matter was brought to court the first time, both a federal and appeals court ruled against Shurtleff, siding with the city. However, with new evidence against the city’s constant allowance for other flags and new “key facts,” the group and the firm representing them feels it will “compel a result in Camp Constitution’s favor.”
Matthew Staver, the chairman and founder of the Liberty Counsel, the religious law firm representing Shurtleff and Camp Constitution, has rebuked the city for their decision. He states, “Censoring religious viewpoints in a public forum where secular viewpoints are permitted violates the First Amendment. Boston City officials may not ban the Christian flag as part of a privately sponsored event when they allow any other flag by numerous private organizations.” He added, “It’s time for the court to stop the city’s unconstitutional censorship.”
The lawsuit states, “Yet, despite all of these many flag raisings containing religious symbols and imagery, and the City’s allowing the official flag of the Catholic Church, Camp Constitution’s proposed flag-raising was denied because it was ‘religious.’ It adds, “There can be no dispute that the City’s denial impermissibly discriminated between religion and non-religion, and discriminated between religious sects. Both violate the Establishment Clause.”
Shurtleff says, “I am optimistic the lawsuit will go our way.”
We should all hope that it does, as our very freedoms are at stake if we continue to allow religious discrimination to so rampantly spread.