Hearing the arguments on whether to allow a Christian flag to fly outside Boston’s City Hall is now being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The arguments of the Christian flag and the First Amendment is testing the limits of free speech on government property. The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear arguments over whether the city of Boston engaged in unlawful discrimination and censorship when it denied the request of a local civic organization to fly the Christian flag on a flagpole outside City Hall.

Harold Shurtleff’s lawyer cited that in the 12 years before his request, not one of the 284 proposed events was denied by the city. This is after Shurtleff’s 2017 request to fly a Christian flag was denied.

According to the Sun Journal report:

“The flagpole that stands prominently at the city’s seat of government is the means by which the city communicates its own messages,’ Boston’s lawyers told the Supreme Court. The city uses it as a bully pulpit and has not turned it over ‘to private parties as a forum to pronounce their own messages.”

Even the American Civil Liberties Union stands against banning the flag. The ACLU national legal director David Cole said:

“When the government opens its public property for private speakers, it has to treat everybody equally.” 

“This case is really about private citizens’ access to government property to express themselves. And that access is critical to our ability to speak to each other, to express our views and the like.”

Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League defended the city law.

The group said, “The value to such groups of the ‘photo op’ of a Nazi flag, the Confederate flag, or some other white supremacist banner flying over Boston City Hall should not be underestimated.”

Shurtleff made his request as part of Camp Constitution, which he founded and which has as part of its mission “to enhance understanding of the country’s Judeo-Christian heritage.”

The flag he wants to fly is a cross in a blue square on a white field.

Shurtleff told ABC:

“It’s a public access flagpole,”

“It’s kind of ludicrous to think flying a flag on a flagpole for maybe an hour or two will somehow get people to think, ‘Oh my goodness, look at the city of Boston now endorsing the Protestant or the Christian faith.”

Attorney Doug Hallward-Driemeier, who is arguing the case for Boston said:

“The city, for its own speech, does not want to get into the issue of religion,”

“It’s said that it didn’t want to fly a flag that was offered as ‘the Christian flag,’ because that wasn’t the message that the city itself wanted to communicate.”

“I don’t know of any white nationalists carrying Christian flags. That may have happened, but I don’t know. But this flag certainly represents Christianity and was designed by a couple of Sunday school teachers. Not exactly white supremacists,” Shurtleff noted.

He also added, “We’re optimistic that they will rule in our favor and that we will be allowed to raise the flag, although I understand the city will most likely cancel its flag-raising events. So we’ll see what happens.”

The Conservative Brief also reported that the Earlier this year, the Supreme Court announced it will hear the case of a former Seattle-area football coach who was fired from his job after refusing to stop praying while on the field:

The U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear the case of a former Seattle-area football coach who was fired from his job because he refused to stop praying on the field.

When the school district learned that Kennedy was praying with the team, they told him that he could pray separately from students. Kennedy declined to change his practice, was put on paid leave, and sued.

Lower courts sided with the school district. Now, the case has made its way to the nation’s highest court.

“No teacher or coach should lose their job for simply expressing their faith while in public,” Kelly Shackelford, president, and CEO of First Liberty, who is representing the case, said in a statement.

Sources: Conservative Brief, ABC News, Sun Journal

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