Lawsuit: City of Boston Prohibits Raising a Christian Flag While Flying 284 Other Flags

A new federal lawsuit alleges that the city of Boston is engaging in an unconstitutional infringement on religious liberty by banning a flag with a Christian cross emblem from being flown at City Hall while allowing nearly 300 other flags to be flown from the same location.

Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit on Monday on behalf of Hal Shurtleff and his Camp Constitution organization. Shurtleff wanted to fly a flag with the Christian cross prominently displayed to commemorate Constitution Day in 2017 and 2018 while hosting an event celebrating contributions by Christians to the cause of liberty, but was ultimately denied the request.

Shurtleff claims his basic civil rights are being violated by the refusal of his request. The lawsuit builds a strong case that unfair standards are being applied that are discriminatory against Christians.

The lawsuit claims that the city allowed the Turkish flag featuring the Islamic star and crescent to be raised at city hall at least 13 times between 2005 and 2019. Over the same time period, the town raised Chinese, Cuban and Vatican flags as well.

They totaled 284 different flags that have been allowed to be flown over that same time period, not even including the flags celebrating the explicitly anti-Christian LGBT agenda. No requests were ever denied until Shurtleff proposed the Christian flag to be flown, showing the town’s likely bias against believers in Christ.

“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 says.

““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,” the suit adds.

Liberty Counsel claims that the city is violating the rights of Shurtleff that are enshrined in the 1st and 14th Amendments of the Constitution by refusing to fly the Christian flag.

“Censoring religious viewpoints in a public forum where secular viewpoints are permitted violates the First Amendment,” Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver said.

“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. It’s time for the court to stop the city’s unconstitutional censorship,” he added.

A federal appeals court had previously upheld the ban on flying the Christian flag last month. US District Court Judge Denise Casper, who was appointed to the bench by President Barack Obama, had previously tossed an injunction filed by Shurtleff with the incomprehensible rationale that his request somehow infringed on “government speech.”

Aided by Liberty Counsel, Shurtleff will have another day in court to defend his rights. If the lawsuit is successful, that victory can help stem the tide of institutionalized discrimination against the Christian faith that is picking up in the U.S. and across the West.

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