Flag Raising Ceremony Celebration


After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that the City of Boston violated the Constitution by censoring the Christian flag in a public forum open to “all applicants,” the Christian flag was finally raised on the Boston City Hall Plaza flagpole on Wednesday, August 3 at 11 a.m.ET. The historic ceremony included the flag raising with plaintiff Hal Shurtleff and Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver. Other speakers include Rev. Steve Craft who is originally from the Sudan, Pastor William Levi (Operation Nehemiah Missions), Pastor Earl Wallace (Liberty Christian Fellowship, Historian Richard Howell and Jonathan Alexandre (Liberty Counsel). Event featured live music, and rousing messages of inspiration.



HEAR MAT STAVER’S JAN 18 ORAL ARGUMENT TO THE SUPREME COURT



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Christian Flag Raising Symbolizes Freedom From Viewpoint Discrimination in Boston

BOSTON, MA – After five years of litigation and a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the Christian flag finally flew on the Boston City Hall Plaza public forum flagpole yesterday as an enthusiastic crowd cheered to celebrate the first day free of unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.
 
In Shurtleff v. City of Boston, Liberty Counsel represents Boston resident Hal Shurtleff and his Christian civic organization, Camp Constitution. Shurtleff and Camp Constitution first asked the city in 2017 for a permit to raise the Christian flag on the “public forum” Boston City Hall flagpole to commemorate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day (September 17) and the civic and cultural contributions of the Christian community to the city of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, religious tolerance, the Rule of Law and the U.S. Constitution.  For 12 years, from 2005 to 2017, Boston approved 284 flag raisings by private organizations with no denials on the flagpoles that it designated a “public forum.” However, the city official denied Camp Constitution’s application in 2017 to fly the Christian flag on Constitution Day.
 
Yesterday’s historic ceremony included Shurtleff and Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver raising the Christian flag together on the flagpole in Boston City Hall Plaza. Speakers included Shurtleff, Staver, Liberty Counsel Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Litigation Counsel Harry Mihet, and Senior Counsel for Governmental Affairs Jonathan Alexandre.


During the ceremony Shurtleff said, “Back in 2017, we wanted to have a simple ceremony to commemorate the Constitution Day and Boston’s rich Christian history. The speakers we had planned for that event are here today. I want to thank you, a special thanks to Liberty Counsel, and I want to give the glory to God...We have a great Constitution, and we have a wonderful First Amendment. But just like when it comes to muscles, if you don't use it, you get weak. When I got the rejection email from the city, and it said separation for church and state, I knew we had a case.” 

Staver said, “For 12 years prior to 2017, and for five years from 2017 to 2022, up until August 3, your viewpoint was excluded from this flagpole public forum. Every viewpoint was permissible to go on this public forum flagpole except a Christian viewpoint. You were excluded for 12 years before this issue began. For 12 years there were 284 applications, not a single denial, virtually no review and the only reason why Camp Constitution’s request to fly this flag was denied was not because of the flag itself. It was Hal Shurtleff’s view of that flag. It was because of one word in the application––the word ‘Christian’ that preceded the word ‘flag.’ He was told by the city official that if he changed the name of the flag to a non-religious name on the application, that flag could have flown in 2017 if Hal would have lied and called it the Camp Constitution flag. This is not the Camp Constitution flag. It is the Christian flag.” 

After Staver argued the case before the U.S. Supreme Court on January 18, 2022, the High Court ruled 9-0 on May 2 that the city of Boston violated the Constitution by censoring a private flag in a public forum open to “all applicants” merely because the application referred to it as a “Christian flag.” The High Court stated that it is not government speech, and because the government admitted it censored the flag because it was referred to as a Christian flag on the application, the censorship was viewpoint discrimination, and there is no Establishment Clause defense. 

With Justice Breyer writing the opinion, the High Court wrote that “Boston did not make the raising and flying of private groups’ flags a form of government speech. That means, in turn, that Boston’s refusal to let Shurtleff and Camp Constitution raise their flag based on its religious viewpoint ‘abridg[ed]’ their ‘freedom of speech.’” 

In addition, the Court wrote, “Here, Boston concedes that it denied Shurtleff ’s request solely because the Christian flag he asked to raise ‘promot[ed] a specific religion.’ App. to Pet. for Cert. 155a (quoting Rooney deposition). Under our precedents, and in view of our government-speech holding here, that refusal discriminated based on religious viewpoint and violated the Free Speech Clause” (emphasis added).


During yesterday's event, Staver also said, “When I argued this case on January 18, I realized that the city was in deep trouble when Justice Breyer and Justice Kagan asked the city attorney arguing the case ‘why did you not settle this case?’ I knew we had a big win.”
 
Mihet, who is originally from Romania, said yesterday, “Today is a great day for the city of Boston, for the Christian community in the city of Boston, for freedom itself and for the Constitution. The raising of this Christian flag today symbolizes the fact that the Christian community, the community of faith, across this whole country are not constitutional orphans. They are full heirs to the constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and free exercise of religion along with every other American.”
 
“Having grown up in communist Romania, having witnessed a government that was determined to stamp out religious expression from the public square at all costs, my friends, we need to do everything and anything in our power to make sure that free speech and free exercise of religion always remains free and protected in this great land of ours,” said Mihet.
 
After the speakers concluded, Alexandre led the crowd in song with a powerful presentation of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

 
 







TIMELINE

  • SEPT 2017 Liberty Counsel sends Boston demand letter following flag application denial.
  • JULY 2018 Original suit filed in district court.
  • AUG 2018 Court denies preliminary injunction.
  • JUNE 2019 First Circuit affirms the denial.
  • JULY 2019 LC files motion for summary judgment in district court.
  • FEB 2020 District court denies LC summary judgment and grants city's summary judgment.
  • JAN 2021 First Circuit affirms summary judgment for city.
  • JUNE 2021 LC files writ of certiorari at SCOTUS.
  • SEPT 2021 SCOTUS takes the case.
  • JAN 18, 2022 Oral argument set at SCOTUS.
  • MAY 2, 2022 SCOTUS rules 9-0 in favor of Christian flag case
  • AUG 3, 2022 Christian flag flies at the Boston City Hall Plaza

 


READ MORE:

Christian Flag Raising Symbolizes Freedom From Viewpoint Discrimination in Boston

Christian Flag Will Finally Fly in Boston City Hall Plaza


District Court Seals 9-0 Victory for Christian Flag Case


Christian Flag SCOTUS Ruling Is Having an Impact


SCOTUS Rules 9-0 in Favor of Christian Flag Case


U.S. Supreme Court to Decide Religious Viewpoint Discrimination


Supreme Court Heard Religious Viewpoint Case Today


Religious Viewpoint Case Goes to SCOTUS Tomorrow


Events Surrounding Shurtleff v. City of Boston SCOTUS Oral Argument


Religious Viewpoint Case Will Affect Everyone


LC Files Reply Brief at SCOTUS in Religious Viewpoint Case


Religious Viewpoint Case at SCOTUS Will Set National Precedent


USA and 12 States Support LC in Free Speech Case


Boston’s Christian Flag Debate Heading to US Supreme Court


Liberty Counsel Files Opening Brief at SCOTUS in Religious Viewpoint Case


U.S. Supreme Court Takes Christian Flag Case


Next Step for Christian Flag: U.S. Supreme Court


Christian Flag in Boston Before Court of Appeals


Boston Censorship Continues


Christian Flag Goes Back to Court


Boston Should Fly Christian Flag


Boston Discriminates Against Christian Flag

Stop Censorship of Christian Flag

Boston Sued for Censoring Christian Flag

Group sues Boston for banning Christian flag, approving 284 others

Boston Sued For Booting Christian Flag, While Allowing Islamic Symbols

284 flags including China's OK in Boston, but not Christian banner

Boston Sued for Banning Christian Flag, Allowing 284 Others

Banned in Boston — the Christian Flag

Stop Censorship of Christian Flag

Group Denied Request to Fly Christian Flag During Event Recognizing Boston’s Christian Heritage Refiles Suit

The Point: Boston Bars the Christian Flag




BRIEFS OF LIBERTY COUNSEL AND CITY OF BOSTON

Reply Brief For The Petitioners

Petition for Certiorari

Opposition to Petition for Certiorari

Reply Brief in Support of Petition for Certiorari

Brief for Petitioners Camp Constitution

Brief for Respondent City of Boston

Reply Brief of Petitioners Camp Constitution



AMICUS BRIEFS:

In Support of Liberty Counsel

Brief-Amicus-(ACLU and ACLU of Massachusetts).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(Advancing-American-Freedom-et al).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(American-Cornerstone-Institute).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(American-Legion).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(Becket Fund for Religious Liberty).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(Bronx-Household-of-Faith).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(Catholicvote-org).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(CPCF, et al.).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(Foundation-for-Moral-Law).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(Multi-States).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(National Legal Foundation, et al.).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(Notre Dame L. Sch. Rel. Lib. Initiative).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(Pacific Legal Foundation).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(Protect-the-First-Foundation).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(Rutherford-Institute).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(Thomas-More).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(United States).pdf


In Support of City of Boston

Brief-Amicus-(Anti-Defamation League).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(FFRF).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(Jewish Alliance for Law, et al).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(Local Governments).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(Multi States).pdf

Brief-Amicus-(National Council of Churches, et al.).pdf








Boston's Raising of the Christian Flag - Freedom Alive™ Ep56


The city of Boston is known as the “Cradle of Liberty.” But Boston officials made the mistake of censoring the Christian flag in the bedrock of America’s Judeo-Christian heritage. After four losses at the courts, God used this case in a tremendous unanimous victory at the Supreme Court. On August 3, 2022, the Christian flag was finally raised on the flagpole at the Boston City Hall Plaza! On this episode of Liberty Counsel’s TV program, Freedom Alive™, Liberty Counsel’s Vice President of Media Holly Meade joins Mat Staver to discuss the exciting details of this historic day. Each week on Freedom Alive™, we will alert you to new government overreaches and update you on existing legal battles. We will tell you about the victories people of faith are winning and how you, too, can fight back and get involved to keep your freedom alive!

Originally premiered September 25, 2022, on GoodLife45 - visit https://www.tv45.org








Recap of Oral Argument to the Supreme Court in Religious Viewpoint Case


Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver shares essential updates on his oral argument before the Supreme Court in a watershed case concerning the censorship of the Christian flag.





Boston's Censorship of the Christian Flag - Mat Staver - Episode 31


Explore the truth behind the blatant government censorship of the Christian faith, and learn what you can do to protect your religious freedom! - Originally premiered Feb 27, 2022 on GoodLife45 - visit https://www.tv45.org



Standing Up for Judeo-Christian Values - Hal Shurtleff - Episode 29


As Liberty Counsel prepares to defend a religious viewpoint censorship case before the U.S. Supreme Court, it all started with the Christian flag. Hal Shurtleff of Camp Constitution joins Mat Staver to explain more on this episode of Freedom Alive.™  - Originally premiered Dec 12, 2021 on GoodLife45 - visit https://www.tv45.org