Christian Flag Flies In Boston

Aug 5, 2022

Before an enthusiastic crowd, the Christian flag was raised this week on the Boston public forum flagpole as we celebrated our right to freedom of speech and our historic 9-0 victory at the Supreme Court. I told the joyous groups and the media, “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 this public forum flagpole except a Christian viewpoint.” This past Wednesday, freedom returned to the Cradle of Liberty. Read on to learn how this case will impact YOU. — Mat

With many cases pending before the courts, we need YOUR help. Support the Liberty Counsel legal fund TODAY and a generous Challenge Grant will DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT!

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 Wednesday as an enthusiastic crowd cheered to celebrate the first day free of unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.

In Shurtleff v. City of Boston, Liberty Counsel represents Hal Shurtleff and his Christian civic organization, Camp Constitution.

In 2017, Shurtleff and Camp Constitution filed a permit application with the City of Boston to celebrate Constitution Day in September. As part of a one-hour event, Hal planned to raise the Christian flag on the City Hall public forum flagpole.

Boston had a longstanding practice and policy to open a flagpole for private speakers to temporarily raise a flag during their events. In the city’s own words, Boston created a “public forum” open to “all applicants.” But after 12 years, 284 applications, no denials and virtually no review, Boston censored Camp Constitution’s application.

I told the crowd, “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 nonreligious 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.”

ALL nine members of the Supreme Court agreed that this action was viewpoint discriminationIt is very rare to get a 9-0 decision from the High Court. The unanimous decision magnifies the significance of this case.

The Supreme Court ruled that Boston violated the First Amendment 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 the censorship was viewpoint discrimination, and there is no Establishment Clause defense.

This portion of the ruling resurfaced on June 27 in the Coach Kennedy case to overrule a terrible 51-year-old precedent called Lemon v. Kurtzman. No more can government use the distorted “Lemon” test to censor Christian and religious viewpoints, speech, symbols or displays.

Join the fight for RELIGIOUS LIBERTY!

“Back in 2017, we wanted to have a simple ceremony to commemorate the Constitution Day and Boston’s rich Christian history,” Shurtleff said. “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.”

I argued this case before the Supreme Court on January 18, and on May 2, the Court issued its 9-0 decision.

Harry Mihet, our Vice President of Legal Affairs, originally from Communist Romania, told the crowd, “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,” Harry said.

“God’s hand was in this from the beginning,” said Hal Shurtleff as the Christian flag was raised above the Boston square. “To God be the glory!”

Had Boston obeyed the law in 2017, the flag raising would have had little fanfare. But every day since May 2, multiple media sources have covered this victory. And the Shurtleff case was the basis for overturning the “Lemon” test. What Boston intended for harm, God intended for good.

Presently, Liberty Counsel is defending military members against Joe Biden’s unlawful shot mandates, people who are being denied donor organs for refusal to get the shots, sidewalk counselors who pray outside of abortion facilities, Christian counselors and many more. Yesterday, we filed another emergency request on behalf of a Marine who could be removed from service TODAY.

Our work defending religious freedom is ONLY possible thanks to supporters like you. Please also prayerfully consider making a recurring monthly donation and DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT with the Challenge Grant.

Mat Staver
Founder and Chairman
Liberty Counsel

P.S. You can DOUBLE the impact of your gift through our Challenge Grant. And you can sign up for a monthly recurring gift.

Help spread the word! Share our messages with your friends.


Christian Flag Raising Symbolizes Freedom from Viewpoint Discrimination in Boston. Liberty Counsel, August 4, 2022.