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U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear case over Christian flag

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether city officials in Boston can reject a request to fly a Christian flag at city hall.

In a miscellaneous orders list, the court granted a petition without comment in the case. The lawsuit was filed against the city of Boston by Harold Shurtleff of the Christian civic organization Camp Constitution after the city refused to allow him to fly a Christian flag on one of the flag poles on Constitution Day 2017 while allowing other organizations to raise flags on one of the poles.

Mat Staver, the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, which is representing Shurtleff, said in a statement that he is optimistic about the appeal and hopes the case will set a precedent.

“We look forward to the U.S. Supreme Court hearing Boston’s unconstitutional discrimination against Camp Constitution’s Christian viewpoint.” he said. “The city cannot deny the Christian flag because it is Christian and allow every other flag to fly on its flagpoles. Censoring religious viewpoints in a public forum where secular viewpoints are permitted is unconstitutional, and this case will set national precedent.”

City officials denied Shurtlett’s request to fly the flag, even though the public property had agreed to fly numerous other flags showcasing diverse religious and political opinions. For example, Boston City Hall had approved the flying of a Turkish flag, which includes Islamic imagery; the gay pride rainbow flag; and a transgender pride flag. Lower courts have consistently ruled against Shurtlett thus far.

In 2019, the Supreme Court ruled that a 40-foot tall cross commemorating World War I veterans on public property in Bladensburg, Md., did not violate the Constitution’s Establishment Clause. The court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case of Shurtleff v. Boston in its new term, which will begin Monday. Liberty Counsel predicts that oral arguments in the case will occur early next year, with a decision issued by the end of June.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice