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New Hampshire man gets to fly his 'Christian' flag over City Hall Plaza tomorrow as City Council begins work to ensure he can never do so again

Hal Shurtleff, the former John Birch organizer who used to live in West Roxbury, is scheduled to arrive at City Hall Plaza with a "Christian" flag the city agreed to let him fly over City Hall Plaza for a couple of hours started at 11 a.m.

A week later, the City Council will discuss an ordinance that would limit flags on the third of three flagpoles to ones approved by formal resolutions of the council or proclamations by the mayor.

In a case that went to the Supreme Court, Shurtleff won the right to fly his flag after the court ruled that the way the city had previously approved flags for that pole - through a loose set of rules overseen by a City Hall worker - meant Shurtleff's rights were violated when his flag was rejected.

The ordinance that Councilors Kenzie Bok, Ed Flynn and Ruthzie Louijeune are proposing, with support of Mayor Wu, is aimed at ensuring that whatever flies on the third pole is "government speech," that is, something that reflects what government wants to say under its own First Amendment rights, rather than what the court said was Boston's previous policy, which didn't really involve government officials making a statement, just some City Hall functionary making somewhat arbitrary decisions on what could fly on the pole. Or as the court put it:

At the time, Boston had no written policies or clear internal guidance about what flags groups could fly and what those flags would communicate. ... All told, Boston’s lack of meaningful involvement in the selection of flags or the crafting of their messages leads the Court to classify the third-party flag raisings as private, not government, speech.

By only allowing flags approved by elected officials, the flagpole would truly represent the city's voice, the officials said:

The proposed ordinance will enable the City to continue to celebrate flag raisings while complying with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on the City’s previous process, which clarified the affirmative role required of the City government in maintaining the flag pole as a site for expressing the City’s values and ideals.

Because of the court ruling, City Hall has not allowed any flags, other than those of the US, the state and the city, to fly above City Hall Plaza since last October.

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Comments

Is this something he made up? What denominations does it cover? so many questions...

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16

it was the flag that Betsy Ross made for Jesus before he walked across The Delaware.

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44

Totes brills!

Assuming (and this is a big assumption, I realize) that he is part of a mainstream Christian denomination (aka not part of one of the hate-based churches that get all the attention), there is a flag that is sort of off-white, with a blue field in the corner, and a red cross in the field. (Not the Red Cross red cross; a cross like the one you see in churches.)

I’m not offended and the court made the right decision.

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20

If you were a wiccan, you'd know how to spell it.

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56

Wickans know how to deal with types like you.

I’m a Hex practitioner. Traditional-nuor spelling of the practice is “Wickan”.

Sure you are.

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15

I’m not a pit nicking X-tian.

... maybe they could also get rid of the religious prayers at City Council meetings?

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38

Remove the flagpole for special interest groups and cancel the prayers, or let every religion participate and get on with the work of the government.
I don't care if they pray and fly a flag, but to say one is ok and another isn't makes no sense.

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40

… on religious nonsense. But to discriminate is wrong. There is an easy answer and they know it.

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Wu and the City Council need to accept that they are on the wrong side of the 1st Amendment ("government speech" my ass), take their lumps. and give up on the vanity flag raisings.

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This is the message that Wu inexplicably had her chief of staff send out to ALL city employees yesterday:

Hi City team,

At City Hall, we take pride in showcasing Boston’s diversity. One of the ways we’ve done this in the past is by raising flags that celebrate the different communities and cultures that call Boston home.

Since October 2021, we’ve paused these celebratory flag raisings in City Hall Plaza due to a lawsuit that challenged the previous process for submitting a request to raise a flag. We're writing to let you know that as a result of the Supreme Court’s recent decision on this issue, an unaffiliated group will be raising their flag on City Hall Plaza tomorrow, Wednesday August 3 around noon. The resolution of this lawsuit has also provided clarity on how the City will approach flag raisings moving forward.

In order to ensure future flag raisings comply with the Court’s decision while continuing to allow us to uplift our City’s diverse cultures and communities, we are working in partnership with the Boston City Council on passing an ordinance that will require a mayoral proclamation or Council resolution to raise any flag other than our country’s, our Commonwealth’s, or our City’s.

We look forward to seeing you at future flag raisings!

Thanks for all you do,
Tiffany

someone was protesting on the radio (b87.7) that the 60th jamaica independence celebration on city hall plaza will no longer allow flag raising due to freedom of speech concerns ?

You misspelled "because some christianist felt that they didn't have enough excess privilege and wanted more".

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Yup, and most "free speech" advocates really mean "I want to be racist/fascist without repercussions."

Novel idea, I know.
It's rarely seen, what with the flags of various foreign dictatorships like the PRC and the Cause of the Month flying