SCOTUS Rules Boston Violated Christian Group’s Freedom of Speech

    Photo: AP [via the New York Times]

    The Facts

    • SCOTUS has unanimously ruled in the case of Shurtleff v. Boston that the city violated the rights of conservative activist Harold Shurtleff when it refused to allow him and his Christian group, Camp Constitution, to fly a Christian flag from a City Hall flagpole.

    • Since 2005, Boston has allowed public use of one of its flagpoles, but in 2017 it rejected Shurtleff's request for fear it would be violating the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

    The Spin

    Right narrative

    This is a sweeping victory for religious liberty, which for too long has been denied using the establishment clause. Certainly a Christian flag has as much right to be flown as the Pride flag or any other symbol Boston has approved over the years.

    Left narrative

    Agreeing to fly the flag would have been clear government endorsement of a religion. This SCOTUS decision sets a dangerous precedent for weakening church-state separation, as well as allowing – at least hypothetically – more nefarious symbols to be displayed on public property.

    Political split



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