SCOTUS Rules Against Boston After City Refused to Fly Christian Flag
In the United States, we are guaranteed the freedom to practice whichever religion we should choose, and have been since the inception of this great nation.
What we are not guaranteed, however, is freedom from religion. We are allowed to believe what we wish, but we must also understand that this means we may bear witness to the beliefs of others who are exercising their rights. Maybe we’ll see a yarmulke at the grocery store, or get stuck in traffic as a baptist megachurch lets out on Sunday.
It also means that all religions must be treated equally – something that the City of Boston is learning the hard way this week.
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a program of the city of Boston that allows outside groups to fly flags at city hall must permit the flying of flag with a cross that a camp referred to as a “Christian flag.”
The question before the court was whether flying the flag as part of a government program was considered government speech if the flag belonged to a private organization, in this case, Camp Constitution. The Supreme Court ruled that it is not.
The ruling left no room for interpretation.
“We conclude that, on balance, Boston did not make the raising and flying of private groups’ flags a form of government speech,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the court’s opinion, stating that as a result the city improperly violated Camp Constitution’s free speech rights.
And that’s not all:
The court’s opinion pointed to how Boston said their goal is “to accommodate all applicants” looking to hold events in the city’s “public forums,” including City Hall Plaza, and the flag flying application only asked for contact information and a short description of the event being requested.
Breyer noted that the city employee who fields flag applications testified that before Camp Constitution’s application, he had never even asked to see a flag before granting approval or even before they were raised.
“The city’s practice was to approve flag raisings, without exception,,” Breyer wrote.
The news comes as the mainstream media continues to equate the religious right with the lesser opinions they hold of conservatives in general, thereby creating a soft vilification of Christianity in the process.