F Rosa Rubicondior: Theocracy News - Another Defeat For Christian Talibangelicals

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Theocracy News - Another Defeat For Christian Talibangelicals

Camp Constitution's Christian flag.
Boston Can Reject Religious Flag at City Hall – Courthouse News Service

Another American Talibangelical Christian, fighting to subvert the US Constitution, overthrow the Establishment Clause and build a Taliban-style Christian theocracy in the USA, has suffered defeat in the courts.

This latest attempt - to get Boston City Hall to endorse Christianity - arose because in City Hall Plaza, outside City Hall, are three 83-foot-tall flagpoles. One normally flies the Stars and Stripes, another, the flag of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, leaving the third for various flags for various occasions. Bostonians can petition City Hall for permission to have a particular commemorative flag flown on this pole.

Three flagpoles outside Boston City Hall
Howard Shurtleff, founder of 'Camp Constitution' [sic], had petitioned Boston City Hall to fly a Christian flag on September 17 'to commemorate the signing of the US Constitution' (the one that bans the promotion or endorsement of any religion by any government or its agencies!) to celebrate the 'Judeo-Christian heritage of the USA'. (Readers might note the lack of any Jewish imagery on the flag). The city refused the petition on the grounds that the Constitution prohibited the city from endorsing or favouring any religion.

Shurtleff's group sued in the U.S. District Court in Boston, claiming they had been discriminated against and denied their First Amendment right to free speech, arguing disingenuously that their purpose was entirely secular, and lost; District Judge Denise Casper ruling:
Certainly, an event to ‘raise the Christian flag’ could serve some of plaintiffs’ cited secular purposes, such as the celebration of religious freedom in Boston and the contributions of Boston’s Christian residents to the city, however, its primary purpose would be to convey government endorsement of a particular religion by displaying the Christian flag alongside that of the United States and the commonwealth in front of City Hall. Blowing in the wind, these side-by-side flags could quite literally become entangled.
Bearing false witness in court seems to be becoming routine for Christian extremists!

Playing the traditional victim card, Camp Constitution had argued that they were being discriminated against because the city had previously flown flags of other groups, including the flag of Portugal, which has Christian imagery on it. However, Judge Casper ruled:
The Christian flag primarily represents a specific religion, while the other cited flags represent a sovereign nation, a city government and a group committed to remembering a military victory, therefore, plaintiffs are not similarly situated to the sponsors of the Portuguese, city of Boston and Bunker Hill Association flag events and have failed to make out a claim of differential treatment in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Judge Casper noted that the City Hall had repeatedly offered Camp Constitution permission to errect their own flagpole in City Hall Plaza and fly their flag from it. Camp Constitution had ignore that offer.

Shurtleff's band then appealed this order in the First Circuit Court - and lost again.
The court took the view that the flagpoles represented the official voice of the government and so any display promoting one religion over others would represent the official view of the government and would violate the Establishment Clause.

In a 42-page unanimous decision, Circuit Judge Bruce Selya, wrote:
The sky-high City Hall display of three flags flying in close proximity communicates the symbolic unity of the three flags. It therefore strains credulity to believe that an observer would partition such a coordinated three-flag display … into a series of separate yet simultaneous messages (two that the government endorses and another as to which the government disclaims any relation).

Although the plaintiffs might perhaps make the case that a lone Christian flag, nowhere near City Hall, would be seen as devoid of any connection to a government entity, a City Hall display that places such a flag next to the flag of the United States and the flag of the commonwealth of Massachusetts communicates a far different message.
And so, yet another attempt by subversive fundamentalist Christians to assert their assumed privilege, undermine the US Constitution, and have their superstition promoted at public expense and presented as an official endorsement by the government has failed. No doubt, they will keep on trying.

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