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The Christian flag scored a huge legal victory on Monday as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that a city program in Boston, Massachusetts, must allow the Christian flag to fly at city hall, according to a report from Fox News.
In a thunderous 9-0 ruling, the court found the city of Boston to have violated the free speech clause of the First Amendment in its refusal to fly the Christian flag outside of the city hall.
The case, Shurtleff v. City of Boston, states in its syllabus that, “The commissioner of Boston’s Property Management Department worried that flying a religious flag at City Hall could violate the Establishment Clause and found no past instance of the city’s having raised such a flag.”
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer delivered the court’s opinion in which all of the justices joined. In his opinion, Justice Breyer wrote, “For years, since at least 2005, the city has allowed groups to hold flag-raising ceremonies on the plaza. Participants may hoist a flag of their choosing on the third flagpole (in place of the city’s flag) and fly it for the duration of the event, typically a couple of hours.”
Breyer also wrote that SCOTUS conducted a “holistic inquiry” into whether or not the lines between government and private beliefs could be blurred, conceding that “the flying of a flag other than a government’s own can also convey a governmental message.”
However, the court ultimately ruled that “Boston’s flag-raising program does not express government speech.” Breyer continued, “we reverse the First Circuit’s contrary judgment and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”
The ruling is a huge win for proponents of religious liberty and freedom of expression in the city of Boston.