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West Roxbury man once again loses court battle to fly Christian flag over City Hall Plaza

A federal judge today tossed Hal Shurtleff's suit alleging religious discrimination because city officials wouldn't let him fly an explicitly Christian flag from one of the three flagpoles that rise over City Hall Plaza.

Shurtleff, a former John Birch Society official, has been trying since 2017 to get the city to let him get his flag on the pole. Federal judges have repeatedly rejected his request to make the city run the flag up while his suit continued.

Today, US District Court Judge Denise Casper granted the city "summary judgment," basically telling Shurtleff enough already and ending his suit - unless he appeals.

As she - and the federal appeals court in Boston - kept telling Shurtleff and his Florida lawyers in rejecting his requests for injunctions, the city has a right to use the pole for "government speech" and decide what can and cannot fly on it.

Shurtleff argued the city was violating his religious rights and noted that some of the flags that the city has allowed, such as the Portuguese flag, have Christian elements.

Casper said that Shurtleff had it backwards, that by rejecting explicitly religious flags, the city was complying with the establishment clause of the First Amendment, by not showing favoritism towards any one religion. Portugal? Although its flag might, in fact, have symbols representing Christ's wounds on the cross, the city let it fly as a symbol of friendship with the nation of Portugal, not to show favoritism toward its Catholicism and a rejection of Shurtleff's style of Protestantism.

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Comments

Whose Christian flag might that be?

Three were consolidated for the Union Jack. Papal States Flag?

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Here's the flag he wants to fly.

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A KKKristian flag

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might be for this guy?

"The five blue shields of the Portuguese flag represents the five moor kings defeated by the first King of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques at the Battle of Ourique. The dots inside the blue shields represent the five wounds of Christ when crucified. Counting the dots and doubling those five in the center, there are thirty dots that represents the coins Judas received for having betrayed Christ."

Or maybe he's just a religious nut-job. Either way, go screw, whacko.

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but that seems like a pretty standard description of the symbols on the Portuguese flag. Vexillology is crazy, man!

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Her logic is sound.
Now Shurty can sand go pound.

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Jesus freaks who force their crazy views on others and then act like they are the victims are the most vile and annoying group of cry babies around. Every time a church is turned into condos around here the city becomes a better place.

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I thought car drivers were the most vile and despicable and whiny cry babies?

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n/t

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On two wheels

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reduces the value of THE MOST by sharing it with more than 1, no?

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MA strikes me as a tolerant state which welcomes Christians in open arms.

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The moment that you demand that everyone else do so in your way? Fuck off.

Also very amusing, as when I was first here it seemed like the Catholic Church had highly questionable relationships with the local government.

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The Catholic Church is king of “highly questionable relationships”.

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Once again, I get to break out this bad boy in an online argument!

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I had to Google Christian flag to see if this was a real thing or something the guy made up. I blame my ignorance on my lack of giving two shits about religion.

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You know what would resolve the issue? Stop flying random flags on the City Hall Plaza flagpoles.

Many of these messy cases (like Walker v Texas) are the result of government officials trying to have it both ways. They want to promote random messages from random groups, while filtering those messages, too. What makes it ridiculous is that these messages are non-essential in the first place. Everything works much better when government sticks to providing basic government services instead of engaging in vanity messaging.

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But there is some sense to your argument.

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the US flag and state flags? Or the flag of Boston? Seems like all of those are ultimately just vanity, really. Maybe its time to just get rid of the flagpoles?

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That wouldn't be the worst idea. It's not like the flagpoles serve a critical function.

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Over the years I have debated Hal Shurtleff in his capacity as a Coordinator for the John Birch Society.

Like most JBS members, Hal believes that he has the only appropriate, correct, moral and pro-American answer to all public policy issues.

Like all Birchers, Hal also believes that most of our national leaders since the beginning of the 20th century have been traitors or (at a minimum) "agents" of a vast criminal conspiracy against our nation.

And, like all Birchers, he is impervious to mountains of contradictory factual evidence which falsify what he believes --- even when that evidence originates from sources which heretofore the JBS has described as reliable and authoritative.

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