A recent Supreme Court “leak” regarding an upcoming Roe Vs Wade decision has created a wave of activity on the part of our adversaries. But strangely enough and almost unnoticed was an actual Supreme Court decision that was coincidentally released the very same day of the Roe Case leak. This separate Supreme Court Decision, a seldom seen 9-0 decision, has quietly created some interesting results throughout the fruited plans frustrating the plans of many progressive on the God hating left.
Back to that in a moment but first I mentioned the word coincidental which Webster defines as :
“Occurring or existing at the same time”. For example – the fact that your boss and you went to the same college was purely coincidental or like Joe Biden just happens to be pumping billions of dollars into a county where his son made millions in questionable business deals – a coincidence for sure, right?
Speaking of coincidence, it just so happens that a week after this unanimous Supreme Court Decisionthe city of Delaware, Ohio announced that they were pausing their banner/ flag program where one noted alphabet organization was looking forward to flying their colors all over the city in June.
It is also noteworthy that prior to this city council decision several local citizens had asked the city of Delaware council to declare a family celebration from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day of 2022. The idea was to honor the traditional family as described in the bible. And of course, the Delaware City Council would not even consider the idea quickly noting several excuses as to why not. Keep in mind this is the same council that encourages the celebration of the sexually challenged and even gave them memorial plagues for their inaugural efforts last year.
In response to the council’s Traditional Family Celebration denial, family friendly citizens then requested of the city council that instead of flying a supposed “Pride” banner the entire month of June, a Traditional Family banner be displayed. Hopefully this would be done at least 2 weeks in June. This Traditional Family display would replace the “pride” banners and preferably appear at least over father’s day June.
The city reluctantly took the Traditional Family application which included a banner with the picture of one man, one woman and their children inside of a heart? To say that the city seemed to have little interest in offering a symbol of the Traditional (aka Natural Family) would be an understatement. They were quite aware that Traditional family banner would have “countered” the Gay Pride banner and rumor had it that the city would likely would have said thanks but no thanks to our request if it were not for…
Did I mention that there was a 9-0 Supreme Court decision a couple of weeks ago? A unanimous decision that said the city of Boston, despite the city’s previous decision against it, would now have to display a Christian flag if so requested. And folks this was after 5 years of legal wrangling. The fact that the court even considered the case let alone come down with a unanimous decision in favor of Christians was well, dare I say, miraculous in today’s bizarre world.
And what did that have to do with our little Ole Midwest City council decision? Well, I’d say most everything! That is because Delaware city has now decided to “pause” all banners pending, wait for it, pending their lawyer taking a good hard look at the Boston Case – Camp Constitution Vs. City of Boston. https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/20-1800_7lho.pdf Which means that at present NO banners – yes that means nothing in June for sure – will be on display on the city’s property until further notice.
Oh and one more thing. As is my want I have been sending emails to a local pastor of a quite large church encouraging him as best he could to encourage his congregation to be salt and light in the world. To nudge his flock to start attending local magistrate meetings- like the aforementioned City council.
Well, before the meeting this past Monday evening a gentleman got up and spoke and gave a passionate speech on how the city should not be displaying the rainbow flag or anything that promotes a perverted lifestyle. His heartfelt appeal was quite impressive and keep in mind this was well before the City’s decision was officially announced.
After the meeting our Traditional Family group spoke with this gentleman who assured us that he was a Christian and that his church was active in the community. And what church was that? As you might have already guessed, his church just happened to be the same one I’ve been badgering, oops I mean communicating with over the past few months..
As I look back on this experience, I can’t help but be astonished as to how things worked together, like, well like it was some sort of a synchronousor dare I say, providential plan where all the pieces seemed to just snap into place and the perfect time.
If you haven’t attended Camp Constitution, I highly recommend it! Camp Constitution is a Christian family camp for one week in this summer, where the attendees study the U.S. Constitution and have a great time together.
Camp Constitution’s Ladies’ Advance happens in the spring and fall and is an opportunity for women to be refreshed and renewed with amazing fellowship. I have been fortunate to attend two of the four retreats at Singing Hills Christian Camp. Twelve women attended this spring’s event, most old friends but always additional new members.
The Ladies’ Advance starts Friday evening with a potluck followed by an evening around the campfire (wood stove) to sing and share stories. This year, Kathy Mickle shared a thoughtful activity: one lit candle can make a difference. We each had an unlit candle, then one was lit, its little light piercing the darkness. That one candle lit another, then as each candle was lit, the light grew brighter and soon filled the room. Her message was that positive change can start with just one person in a community. A very powerful but subtle way to make a good point.
The weekend was filled with fun activities, starting with stretching (our bodies need to be ready), devotions, amazing speakers, marksman skill-building, patriotic crafts, praying, and did I mention amazing food!!! (Thank you, Singing Hills, for the scrumptious meals). Our special guests this year were Kathi Lear of Well of Living Water Christian Fellowship and Ministries and Camp Constitution’s Hal Shurtleff for the marksman skill-building. Two good combos, God and guns!
(Mrs. Kathi Lear) (Mrs. Edith Craft and Hal Shurtleff on the range)
Another highlight of our weekend, Roberta Stewart, the founder of the Ladies’ Advance, organized us to make care packages to send to Ukraine. God bless our packages as they make their way to Ukraine. We will continue to pray for those families and soldiers in the war. Our closing discussion was from Charmaine Rondon titled “Will You Trust God or Trust Man”! Thank You, Charmaine, we can all be reminded to Trust in God!
(Mrs. Charmaine Rondon)
One is bound to feel refreshed and ready to take on the world after attending Camp Constitution’s Ladies’ Advance. A big thank you goes to Roberta Stewart, Edith Craft, and Maura Shurtleff and Hal Shurtleff!!! Women are strong together and make a difference when we walk in Power with God. I can assure you, that each woman who attended will be making a difference in her community. God Bless America.
President Biden is wrong. Putin and Covid 19 are not responsible for inflation. Inflation is nothing more than an increase in the money supply. Since Biden, his handlers, and, Congress have opened the fiat money spicket, they are responsible. Here is a timeless presentation made by the late Gary Allen in 1974:
Earlier this year, I warned Mayor Donchess and Attorney Bolton, and the Nashua Board of Aldermen repeatedly that the Shurtleff case was being heard at the US Supreme Court and it was going very badly for Boston, which had denied Hal Shurtleff the right to fly a Christian flag on a community flagpole on Boston City Hall plaza. But they ignored me and continued to allow community groups to fly flags on the Citizen Flag Pole.
Last week, the Supreme Court justices voted 9-0 in favor of Shurtleff and said it was viewpoint discrimination to deny him the right to fly his flag when Boston had allowed all other flags requested by others to be flown.
Attorney Richard Lehmann sent a letter on my behalf to Nashua City Attorney Steve Bolton calling out the unconstitutionality of Mayor Jim Donchess having my Save Women’s Sports flag removed from the Citizen Flag Pole based on the outcome of this case and requesting that I be allowed to raise my flag again.
The City of Nashua’s response was to remove the webpage for the Citizen Flag Pole program from the city website. This is an acknowledgment of wrongdoing by Mayor Donchess and the City of Nashua.
The City had a flag-raising scheduled for June 17 for the Pride flag which has gone up every year on the Citizen Flag Pole since the flag program was instituted in June 2017, but that event also seems to have disappeared. I am awaiting word from my alderman on what is going to happen with the flag program.
Thanks to the ACLU and the Biden administration for supporting Shurtleff’s and other citizens’ right to fly flags with other points of view on city flagpoles.
My favorite quote from the Supreme Court case is this from Shurtleff’s lawyer Matthew Staver:
If the city allows a Black Lives Matter flag, then it will probably have to allow a Proud Boys flag. That’s just what the First Amendment requires.
Today Robert Azzi, board member of ACLU-NH congratulated Shurtleff on winning his case in a Letter to the Editor to the Union Leader and applauded the ACLU-NH’s “unwavering support for the rights of all Americans”.
If Nashua continues the Citizen Flag Pole program and continues to deny me my first amendment right to fly my Save Women’s Sports flag on Nashua’s Citizen Flag Pole, I will be reaching out to the ACLU-NH for their help.
This is the story of Hal Shurtleff, the Third Flagpole and the Christian flag.
Hal Shurtleff is one of this column’s titular saints. For decades he has devoted his life to Camp Constitution, a Christian summer camp for teenagers in the back country of Massachusetts. I was a camp counsellor there for two years before the Chinese virus struck. For an intensive and exhilarating week, the teenagers are given course of instruction in everything from why Christianity is a good thing to why the climate change scam is a bad thing. But above all they are given a firm grounding in the splendors of the United States Constitution.
Outside the City Hall in Boston, long controlled by the generally anti-Christian “Democrat” Party, stand three flagpoles. On the first three flagpoles, the City flies the flags of the United States, of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and of the City of Boston. Amiably, it allows anyone else to fly a flag for a week at a time on the third flagpole. I have long wondered what would happen if I were to ask the City to fly the Union Flag.
However, in 2017, when Hal Shurtleff and his organization applied to fly a Christian flag on the third flagpole, the City of Boston turned them down flat. Almost 300 other organizations, including the Holy See and the Chinese Communist Party, had had their flags flown. But Camp Constitution was refused, solely on the ground that, on its application form, it had mentioned that the flag it proposed to fly was Christian. It bore the Cross.
The Communist city fathers weren’t having that. For the only time on record, they refused to fly a flag on request.
Don’t mess with Hal. In 2018 he applied to the District Court for an order telling the City of Boston to let him exercise the same free speech as they had permitted their fellow-Communists from China to exercise.
However, the courts in the United States are not the impartial tribunals to which we are accustomed on this side of the pond. They are political and, these days, that means they are far Left. Scandalously, the District Court turned Hal down.
So in 2019 Hal appealed to the First Circuit Court, which scandalously turned him down. In 2020 he went back to the District Court and tried again. The District Court scandalously turned him down again. In 2021 he went back to the First Circuit Court. The First Circuit Court scandalously turned him down again.
After four refusals, most people would have given up. But Hal Shurtleff is made of sterner stuff than most people. He appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.
This is where the fun began. For the Supreme Court, like all the courts below it, is intensely political. But, unlike the judges in the lower courts, who are near-exclusively totalitarian, particularly in far-Left States such as Massachusetts, the justices of the Supreme Court are directly appointed by the President of the United States. Since the Republican Party is not (yet) Communist, on average about half the justices are libertarians, because the White House is Republican about half the time.
Since the Supreme Court justices are appointed for life, it is pot luck whether a President will get to appoint anyone during his term of office. As it happens, more justices have retired during Republican than during Democrat presidencies recently. Therefore, the Supreme Court is less than half totalitarian. There are three very far-Left justices, five libertarians and Chief Justice Roberts, who started out as a libertarian but has drifted towards totalitarianism over the years.
Usually, this most intensely politically partisan of courts votes strictly along party lines – five votes for libertarianism, four for totalitarianism. Sometimes, when chief justice Roberts remembers his roots, there are six votes for libertarianism and three for totalitarianism.
But get this. When Hal went before the Supreme Court, the score – just announced – was nine to nil in his favor. Even the totalitarian justices could not keep a straight face and find in favor of the ghastly City of Boston.
The issue that Hal presented to the Supremes was this: When private religious viewpoints are censored from a public forum open to all speakers, does government violate the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?
The City of Boston had disreputably sought to maintain that in deciding which flags to allow and which to deny it was, in effect, exercising “government speech” and was, therefore, entitled to decide what it wanted to say on its third flagpole. It was willing to speak up for the Chinese Communist Party, which unlawfully occupies and represses free Tibet, imprisons millions of Muslim Uyghurs in concentration camps, forcibly harvests the organs of living opponents to prolong the lives of the trembling gerontocrats of the Party, spreads fatal disease worldwide and tears down crosses and other Christian symbols from churches. But it was not willing to speak up for the world’s largest religion.
The Supreme Court did not buy Boston’s cheesy argument. For it was clear that, until the City had decided to veto Hal’s Christian flag it had allowed anyone and everyone who had applied to fly a flag to fly it. No exceptions.
It was Justice Alito who got right to the heart of the matter. He wrote: “Courts must be very careful when a government claims that speech by one or more private speakers is actually government speech. When that occurs, it can be difficult to tell whether the government is using the doctrine as a subterfuge for favoring certain private speaker over others based on viewpoint”, so that the government-speech doctrine becomes susceptible to dangerous misuse…
“To prevent the government-speech doctrine from being used as a cover for censorship, courts must focus on the identity of the speaker. The ultimate question is whether the government is actually expressing its own views or the real speaker is a private party and the government is surreptitiously engaged in the regulation of private speech…
“Government control over speech is relevant to speaker identity in that speech by a private individual or group cannot constitute government speech if the government does not attempt to control the message. But control is also an essential element of censorship.”
As totalitarianism tightens its grip, increasingly Christians are being persecuted for saying Christian things. Recall the London Methodist pastor arrested, offensively interrogated and flung into prison for 21 hours for daring to quote Genesis: “Male and female created He them.”
Recall the whistle-blower, David Daleiden, who faces nine baseless criminal charges for having exposed Planned Parenthood’s buying and selling of aborted children for medical experimentation so that its director could afford a Lamborghini.
Recall the numerous instances in which the British police, now thoroughly totalitarian, have recorded supposed “hate-speech” “crimes” on individual citizens’ criminal records, but without even telling the individuals, and without going through the boring formality of taking the alleged offenders to court.
Hal’s nine-nil victory, following four previous rejections in the lower courts, is not quite unprecedented, but it is rare and precious. Its beneficial effect will be felt worldwide. For it is a badly needed reminder that if you love your neighbor you let him have his say, even if you disagree with him.
In the words of John Milton, successfully arguing against the imposition of a tax on books:
I received a call today at 10:30 AM from Roger Gannam, one of the attorneys at Liberty Counsel who has been involved with our lawsuit from the very beginning. He informed me that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in our favor 9-0. Since then, I have conducted a batch of media interviews. First, I want to give God the Glory. His Hand was in this case from the beginning. I want to thank the folks at Liberty Counsel that did an incredible job, and all of the people who support and make Camp Constitution possible. The main mission of Camp Constitution is to teach people the U.S. Constitution. I think that this issue has given the nation a good lesson on the 1st Amendment. Below is the news release from Liberty Counsel announcing the decision.
SUPREME COURT HEARD RELIGIOUS VIEWPOINT CASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that the City of Boston violated the Constitution by censoring a private flag in a public forum open to “all applicants” merely because the application referred to it as a “Christian flag.” The High Court stated that it is not government speech, and because the government admitted it censored the flag because it was referred to as a Christian flag on the application, the censorship was viewpoint discrimination, and there is no Establishment Clause defense.
Justice Breyer wrote the opinion in which Chief Justice Roberts, Sotomayor, Kagan, Kavanaugh, and Barrett joined. Justice Kavanaugh filed a concurring opinion. Justice Alito filed a concurring opinion in the judgment, in which Thomas and Gorsuch joined. Justice Gorsuch filed a concurring opinion in the judgment, in which Thomas joined.
In Shurtleff v. City of Boston, Liberty Counsel represents Boston resident Hal Shurtleff and his Christian civic organization, Camp Constitution. Shurtleff and Camp Constitution first asked the city in 2017 for a permit to raise the Christian flag on Boston City Hall flagpoles to commemorate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day (September 17) and the civic and cultural contributions of the Christian community to the City of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, religious tolerance, the Rule of Law and the U.S. Constitution.
The High Court wrote that “Boston did not make the raising and flying of private groups’ flags a form of government speech. That means, in turn, that Boston’s refusal to let Shurtleff and Camp Constitution raise their flag based on its religious viewpoint ‘abridg[ed]’ their ‘freedom of speech.’”
“We do not settle this dispute by counting noses—or, rather, counting flags. That is so for several reasons. For one thing, Boston told the public that it sought ‘to accommodate all applicants’ who wished to hold events at Boston’s ‘public forums,’ including on City Hall Plaza. App. to Pet. for Cert. 137a. The application form asked only for contact information and a brief description of the event, with proposed dates and times. The city employee who handled applications testified by deposition that he had previously ‘never requested to review a flag or requested changes to a flag in connection with approval’; nor did he even see flags before the events. Id., at 150a. The city’s practice was to approve flag raisings, without exception. It has no record of denying a request until Shurtleff’s. Boston acknowledges it ‘hadn’t spent a lot of time really thinking about’ its flag-raising practices until this case. App. in No. 20–1158 (CA1), at 140 (Rooney deposition). True to its word, the city had nothing—no written policies or clear internal guidance—about what flags groups could fly and what those flags would communicate,’” the Court wrote.
In addition, the Court wrote, “Here, Boston concedes that it denied Shurtleff ’s request solely because the Christian flag he asked to raise “promot[ed] a specific religion.” App. to Pet. for Cert. 155a (quoting Rooney deposition). Under our precedents, and in view of our government-speech holding here, that refusal discriminated based on religious viewpoint and violated the Free Speech Clause” (emphasis added).
There are three flagpoles outside City Hall that fly the U.S., Massachusetts and Boston flags, plus a fourth flag on Congress Street, which runs parallel to City Hall. For 12 years from 2005-2017, Boston approved 284 flag-raisings by private organizations with no denials on the flagpoles that it designated as a “public forum.” Had the flag been referred to as anything but Christian, the city would have approved it. The flag itself was not the problem; it was the word “Christian” describing it in the application that was the issue. The year before Camp Constitution’s application (2016-2017), Boston approved 39 private flag-raising events, which averaged three per month. In 2018, Boston approved 50 private flag raising events, averaging nearly one per week. One included a flag of a private credit union.
The Justices commented on the longstanding test known as the “Lemon Test” which has been used to determine if a law violates the First Amendment. Its name comes from Lemon v. Kurtzman, in which the Court ruled that a Rhode Island law that paid some of the salary of some parochial school teachers was unconstitutional. This test has proven to be unworkable and has led to inconsistent and contradictory decisions on the constitutionality of 10 Commandment monuments and cross monuments like the “Peace Cross.”
Justice Gorsuch, joined in a concurrence with Justice Thomas, stated, “It’s time to let Lemon lie in its grave.”
Justice Gorsuch continued, “How did the city get it so wrong? To be fair, at least some of the blame belongs here and traces back to Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U. S. 602 (1971). Issued during a “‘bygone era’” when this Court took a more freewheeling approach to interpreting legal texts, Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, 588 U. S. ___, ___ (2019) (slip op., at 8), Lemon sought to devise a one-size-fits-all test for resolving Establishment Clause disputes. That project bypassed any inquiry into the Clause’s original meaning. It ignored longstanding precedents. And instead of bringing clarity to the area, Lemon produced only chaos. In time, this Court came to recognize these problems, abandoned Lemon, and returned to a more humble jurisprudence centered on the Constitution’s original meaning. Yet in this case, the city chose to follow Lemon anyway. It proved a costly decision, and Boston’s travails supply a cautionary tale for other localities and lower courts. The only sure thing Lemon yielded was new business for lawyers and judges.”
“Ultimately, Lemon devolved into a kind of children’s game. Start with a Christmas scene, a menorah, or a flag. Then pick your own “reasonable observer” avatar. In this game, the avatar’s default settings are lazy, uninformed about history, and not particularly inclined to legal research. His default mood is irritable. To play, expose your avatar to the display and ask for his reaction. How does he feel about it? Mind you: Don’t ask him whether the proposed display actually amounts to an establishment of religion. Just ask him if he feels it “endorses” religion. If so, game over,” wrote Gorsuch.
In his concurrence, Justice Kavanaugh wrote, “A government violates the Constitution when (as here) it excludes religious persons, organizations, or speech because of religion from public programs, benefits, facilities, and the like.”
In his concurrence, Justice Alito wrote, “I agree with the Court’s conclusion that Boston (hereafter City) violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech when it rejected Camp Constitution’s application to fly what it characterized as a “Christian flag.” But I cannot go along with the Court’s decision to analyze this case in terms of the triad of factors—history, the public’s perception of who is speaking, and the extent to which the government has exercised control over speech—that our decision in Walker v. Texas Div., Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc., 576 U. S. 200 (2015), derived from Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, 555 U. S. 460 (2009). See ante, at 6–12. As the Court now recognizes, those cases did not set forth a test that always and everywhere applies when the government claims that its actions are immune to First Amendment challenge under the government-speech doctrine. And treating those factors as a test obscures the real question in government-speech cases: whether the government is speaking instead of regulating private expression.”
Justice Alito continued, “But courts must be very careful when a government claims that speech by one or more private speakers is actually government speech. When that occurs, it can be difficult to tell whether the government is using the doctrine “as a subterfuge for favoring certain private speakers over others based on viewpoint,” id., at 473, and the government-speech doctrine becomes “susceptible to dangerous misuse….To prevent the government-speech doctrine from being used as a cover for censorship, courts must focus on the identity of the speaker. The ultimate question is whether the government is actually expressing its own views or the real speaker is a private party and the government is surreptitiously engaged in the “regulation of private speech.” Summum, 555 U. S., at 467…. Consider first “the extent to which the government has actively shaped or controlled the expression.” Ante, at 6. Government control over speech is relevant to speaker identity in that speech by a private individual or group cannot constitute government speech if the government does not attempt to control the message. But control is also an essential element of censorship.”
Liberty Counsel’s Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “This 9-0 decision from the Supreme Court strikes a victory for private speech in a public forum. This case is so much more significant than a flag. Boston openly discriminated against viewpoints it disfavored when it opened the flagpoles to all applicants and then excluded Christian viewpoints. Government cannot censor religious viewpoints under the guise of government speech.”
SEPT 2017 Liberty Counsel sends Boston demand letter following flag application denial.
JULY 2018 Original suit filed in district court.
AUG 2018 Court denies preliminary injunction.
JUNE 2019 First Circuit affirms the denial.
JULY 2019 LC files motion for summary judgment in district court.
FEB 2020 District court denies LC summary judgment and grants city’s summary judgment.
JAN 2021 First Circuit affirms summary judgment for city.
Boston’s Censorship of the Christian Flag – Mat Staver – Episode 31
Explore the truth behind the blatant government censorship of the Christian faith, and learn what you can do to protect your religious freedom! – Originally premiered Feb 27, 2022 on GoodLife45 – visit https://www.tv45.org
Standing Up for Judeo-Christian Values – Hal Shurtleff – Episode 29
As Liberty Counsel prepares to defend a religious viewpoint censorship case before the U.S. Supreme Court, it all started with the Christian flag. Hal Shurtleff of Camp Constitution joins Mat Staver to explain more on this episode of Freedom Alive.™ – Originally premiered Dec 12, 2021 on GoodLife45 – visit https://www.tv45.org