Christian Flag Flies Over Boston City Hall After Supreme Court Ruling
People gather for a Christian flag-raising at City Hall.
Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Christian flag flew above Boston’s City Hall briefly on Wednesday, with supporters joining in celebration and songs of praise.

The flag-raising comes after a Supreme Court ruled in favor of the move earlier this year.

“I do want to give the glory to God because God’s hand was in this from the very beginning,” conservative activist Harold Shurtleff, whose organization Camp Constitution was involved in the case, 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,” he added.

Shurtleff and other supporters celebrated the moment, but the city of Boston is working on a new policy that could soon give the local government more power in deciding which flags are approved at City Hall. The Boston Herald reported Tuesday that the city expects to propose a change to its flag policies following the Supreme Court case.

CBS News Boston reported that the proposal would push for any group that wants to fly a flag on City Hall Plaza will “now need either a proclamation from the mayor or a resolution from the council.”

The developments continue despite the Supreme Court’s 9-0 decision in May that ruled in favor of the Christian flag flying over Boston’s City Hall.

“We conclude that, on balance, Boston did not make the raising and flying of private groups’ flags a form of government speech. 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,’” Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the court’s opinion.

As The Daily Wire reported, the case emerged from a 2017 incident when the city denied the Camp Constitution’s request to raise the Christian flag outside Boston City Hall. The application followed the city’s custom of allowing groups to use one of the city’s three flag poles to fly an event, organization, or movement-specific flag for special occasions.

Between 2005 to 2017, the city flew about 50 different flags for nearly 300 activities and celebrations. Previously approved flags included those from communist governments such as China and Cuba and an LGBT-related pride flag.

After the court’s ruling, the Satanic Temple also made public its official request in a post on Twitter as part of “Satanic Appreciation Week” in May.

“Religious Liberty is a bedrock principle in a democracy, and Religious Liberty is dependent upon government viewpoint neutrality,” Lucien Greaves, co-founder of The Satanic Temple, said in a statement in May.

“When public officials are allowed to preference certain religious viewpoints over others, we do not have Religious Liberty, we have theocracy,” he added.

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