Home Christian News Boston City Hall Flies Christian Flag Following Supreme Court Ruling

Boston City Hall Flies Christian Flag Following Supreme Court Ruling

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

A Christian flag was raised outside Boston City Hall on Wednesday (August 3), the result of the city losing a Supreme Court battle with the conservative organization Camp Constitution. 

Camp Constitution holds events and provides resources to “enhance understanding of our Judeo-Christian moral heritage, our American heritage of courage and ingenuity, including the genius of our United States Constitution, and the application of free enterprise, which together gave our nation an unprecedented history of growth and prosperity, making us the envy of the world.”

“We will also examine and expose some of the abuses and perversions that have brought our nation and economy so far down, and offer discussion to counter the negative influences in our lives, while providing recreational activities that build our physical constitutions, as well as encouraging intelligent intergenerational conversation,” says Camp Constitution’s website.

In 2017, Camp Constitution director Harold Shurtleff requested that the Christian flag be raised on City Hall’s third poll while holding an event on the building’s plaza. It had been common practice for private groups to fly flags on the pole during events, and the city had a history of approving such requests without exception. 

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However, Boston’s Property Management Department Commissioner was concerned that flying the Christian flag could violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits the government from establishing an official religion. Due to this concern, along with his finding no record of the city approving the flying of a Christian flag in the past, the Commissioner denied the request. 

A legal battle ensued, which eventually elevated the case all the way to the United States Supreme Court. 

In Shurtleff v. City of Boston, a ruling that came down in May of this year, the Supreme Court ruled by a 9-0 vote that the city of Boston had violated Camp Constitution’s First Amendment right, as the flag flying program constituted private speech rather than a governmental endorsement of religion. 

Further, from 2005 to 2017, the Boston City Hall had flown “around 50 unique flags,” including some “linked to causes, such as the LGBTQ Pride flag,” according to Deseret News. No request had been denied during the span of those years, and the city’s denial of Camp Constitution’s request was based solely on the religious expression of the flag. 

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Justice Stephen Breyer, who has since retired and been succeeded by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, authored the Supreme Court’s opinion.