‘It’s time for the court to stop the city’s unconstitutional censorship…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) A group of Christians is suing the city of Boston, Mass., for refusing to allow them to fly a Christian flag, despite the fact that it allows 284 kinds of other flags to fly in the city.
In 2017, city officials told Hal Shurtleff, the director and co-founder of Camp Constitution, he couldn’t fly the inter-denominational Christian flag on Constitution Day because it wasn’t “secular.”
Shurtleff and Camp Constitution sued, alleging the city would have allowed the flag to fly if it had been called the ‘Camp Constitution’ flag instead of the ‘Christian’ flag.
A federal court and appeals court ruled against Shurtleff, but his new lawsuit introduces “key facts” that could turn the tide in his favor.
“Censoring religious viewpoints in a public forum where secular viewpoints are permitted violates the First Amendment,” Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, the religious freedom law firm representing Shurtleff, said in a statement.
“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,” Staver said. “It’s time for the court to stop the city’s unconstitutional censorship.”
Shurtleff said the city’s decision was discriminatory since hundreds of other flags were granted permission—among them, the Turkish flag, which features an Islamic star and crescent moon. The city also allowed the communist Chinese flag to fly, and the Cuban and Vatican flags.
“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,’” the suit states.
“There can be no dispute that the City’s denial impermissibly discriminated between religion and non-religion, and discriminated between religious sects,” it said. “Both violate the Establishment Clause.”
Shurtleff said this kind of discrimination is blatantly unconstitutional.
“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,” Shurtleff told Fox News. “I’m optimistic the lawsuit will go our way.”