Christian Flag Raised At Boston City Hall Plaza

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To the sound of “Amazing Grace,” the Christian flag was raised at Boston City Hall Plaza shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday.

The flag-raising took place almost five years after organizer Hal Shurtleff initially wanted to raise it to mark the 240th anniversary of the convention that produced the United States Constitution.

The city had never denied a request to fly a flag from one of the flagpoles outside Boston City Hall, but drew the line with the so-called Christian flag, because Shurtleff identified it as Christian, which city officials said violated the separation of church and state.

“Because of that one word they censored that viewpoint and that viewpoint only from this public-forum flagpole,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, which represented Shurtleff in the legal case that ensued, shortly before the flag raising Tuesday, August 3. “… Liberty has now finally returned for this public-square forum, for all people.”

Federal courts upheld the city’s rejection of the flag until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 on May 2 that the city had to allow it to be raised if other points of view were represented on the flagpole, in accord with freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment of the federal constitution. (The case is Shurtleff v. City of Boston.)

Shurtleff, director of Camp Constitution, during brief remarks before the flag-raising thanked his eighth-grade history teacher at William Barton Rogers School, at the time a public school in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston, for teaching him and other students about the constitution and requiring them to memorize portions of it.

Shurtleff also thanked Liberty Counsel for representing him during the long court case.

“But I do want to give the glory to God, because God’s hand was in this from the very beginning,” Shurtleff said.

Shurtleff said that when he got the rejection email message from a city official in September 2017, he knew he had a legal case. The key was to press it.

“I do want to mention 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,” Shurtleff said.

The event was carried live on the Facebook page of Liberty Counsel.

The so-called Christian flag is mostly white, with a red cross on a blue square in the upper left corner. It was designed around 1907, and is used by several Protestant denominations.

Speakers were heckled during the ceremony Tuesday. That led Camp Constitution’s chaplain, Reverend Steve Craft, to address a heckler.

“Young person in the back, Jesus loves you. Jesus loves you. Jesus loves you. And we cast that demon spirit out of you, in the name of Jesus,” Reverend Craft said.

The flag was lowered at about 11:44 a.m., to the sound of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” sung by Jonathan Alexandre, senior counsel of Liberty Counsel, in an operatic-quality tenor.


Hal Shurtleff speaks before the raising of the Christian flag at Boston City Hall Plaza on Wednesday, August 3, 2022.


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