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Christian flag at heart of Supreme Court First Amendment case is scheduled to fly at Boston City Hall

“We conclude that, on balance, Boston did not make the raising and flying of private groups’ flags a form of government speech.”

Charles Krupa
The American flag, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts flag, and the City of Boston flag, from left, fly outside Boston City Hall. Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Following years of controversy and First Amendment litigation that ultimately wound its way to the nation’s highest court, a flag bearing a red Christian cross is slated to fly outside Boston City Hall later this week. Wednesday’s flag-raising will take place three months after the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the City of Boston violated the First Amendment rights of Camp Constitution, a Christian group, when city authorities refused to fly the banner outside City Hall in 2017.

In a ruling written by the since-retired justice Stephen Breyer, the high court said that Boston was wrong to deny the group, run by West Roxbury resident Harold Shurtleff, a permit to raise a white banner with a red Christian cross in connection with Constitution Day on Sept. 17, the date the US Constitution was signed in Philadelphia in 1787.


The legal organization Liberty Counsel, which represented Shurtleff in the litigation, said in a Monday press release that the flag will be raised on one of the public flagpoles on City Hall Plaza at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. Mayor Michelle Wu’s office confirmed Monday the flag-raising ceremony was scheduled for Wednesday, but did not immediately offer further comment.

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