Boston’s Universal Hub reports:
For the second time in 18 months, a federal appeals court in Boston has told Hal Shurtleff that he has no right to raise a flag with a large cross on it over City Hall Plaza. As the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled in 2019, and as a federal district court judge has ruled as well, the three 83-foot high flagpoles in front of City Hall are not a “public forum,” where the city might have to let Shurtleff raise a flag with a cross on it but are instead a place reserved for the government itself to express itself.
The court acknowledged that the First Amendment requires government to be “neutral” towards religions, but said Shurtleff failed to provide any proof that this somehow means the city has to let him promote his own brand of Christianity from a city flagpole, that, in fact, “the exclusion of religious entities from a public program, without more, does not violate the Establishment Clause.”
Hate group leader Mat Staver reacts:
The city’s records show Boston has allowed at least 284 applications by private organizations on the city hall flagpoles without denial except for the Christian flag. Other flags raised include the Turkish flag (which depicts the Islamic star and crescent) and the Portuguese flag (which uses religious imagery).
City officials have also never denied the “messages” communicated by the “Chinese Progressive Association,” the rainbow flag of Boston Pride, and a “transgender” pink and blue flag.
The flags of private community groups include Albania, Brazil, Ethiopia, Italy, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, as well as of Communist China and Cuba. No flag was ever denied until the city denied the flag of Camp Constitution.
The city’s discrimination against Camp Constitution’s Christian viewpoint is both obvious and unconstitutional. There is a crucial difference between government endorsement of religion and private speech, which government is bound to respect.
Censoring religious viewpoints in a public forum where secular viewpoints are permitted is unconstitutional. We look forward to the next step in our journey to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
— Hal Shurtleff (@Freedominboston) January 23, 2021