Satanic Temple Says if a New Hampshire Christian Group Can Fly a Flag at Boston City Hall, So Can They
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
If you've ever been to Boston City Hall Plaza, you've probably noticed 3 flag poles proudly flying: the American flag, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts flag, and the City of Boston flag. This is common across the country, of course, where towns and cities wave flags.
However, Boston has a flag-raising program for special occasions, recognitions, and ceremonies, where it temporarily replace the City flag with another flag. According to NPR, it's raised some 50 flags including the LBGTQ+ flag, Emergency Medical Services flag, the Italian flag, and African flag just to name a few, to mark nearly 300 occasions and celebrations.
A few years ago, the City of Boston turned down the Christian flag when Camp Constitution based in Laconia, New Hampshire applied for such a flag raising. The United States Supreme Court ruled against Boston after the case landed in their laps, saying that Boston could not discriminate on the basis of the religious group’s viewpoint without violating the Constitution.
According to NPR, this was the first application turned down by the City of Boston since its flag raising program began. Their reasoning was that the Christian flag would be viewed as an unconstitutional government endorsement of a particular religion.
Now, The Satanic Temple, a national, non-theistic religious and human rights organization headquartered in Salem, Massachusetts since 2016 says it, too, should be able to raise its flag at Boston City Hall plaza. The above photo is just one of many they have thought about as an official flag according to Mass Live.
As a matter of fact, here's the application that, until 2017, was used to request the hoisting of an organization's flag. Currently the program is on hold, and has been since 2017 when the Camp Constitution case went to the United States Supreme Court.
Religious Liberty is a bedrock principle in a democracy, and Religious Liberty is dependent upon government viewpoint neutrality. When public officials are allowed to preference certain religious viewpoints over others, we do not have Religious Liberty, we have theocracy
It's important to note that this Supreme Court decision, according to NPR, is sufficiently narrow, so now all cities and towns around the country, including Boston, that have flag-raising programs can construct their own rules that would limit flag flying to government-approved messages, thus giving them leeway on who they approve and don't approve.
Here's more on this Supreme Court ruling.