Christophobia Rearing Its Ugly Head in Gloucester, MA

Christians from Communist China to Ukraine to Iraq and dozens of nations in-between have been viciously persecuting for their faith.  Sady, it is also happening in the United States -a nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles.

 Like Boston, the city officials in Gloucester denied a permit to fly the Christian flag to life-long Gloucester resident Alex Destino.  Liberty Counsel sent a demand letter and the city did not respond.  The following is a letter to the editor of the Gloucester Daily Times by Alex Destino who was denied a permit to fly the Christian flag in Gloucester.
May be an image of text that says 'IF THIS FLAG GETS TO FLY... THEN THIS ONE DOES TOO... 十'
Letter to the Editor GD Times:
 It’s impossible to tell the story of Gloucester’s 400 years without including the enormous impact of the Christian Church and community here. In every corner of Gloucester, from Annisquam to Magnolia, East Gloucester to West Gloucester, as well as Downtown, we have Christian Churches of all denominations that have been serving our community for hundreds of years. In Downtown, all you must do is look up to see the beautiful church buildings built by our Christian ancestors.
 Our city was built by the fishing community, many of whom gave their lives to the sea. During those tragic days, Gloucester people filled the churches and homes of our lost fishermen. In 1978 alone, we lost 14 men at sea. I will never forget the packed churches and prayer services in the homes of those fishermen. The women, in particular the Fishermen’s wives, rallied around those families with prayer and support. The following year, in 1979, Saint Peter’s Fiesta took on a new meaning for me personally, and for many in our community.
 Over four days, tens of thousands of people flocked to St. Peter Square in Gloucester to pray and support the families of those lost at sea in 1978. The outdoor Mass on St. Peter’s Square that year was incredible. The emotion, the prayer, and the outpouring of love for those families moved me. I was only 13 years old at the time, but I realized how blessed we were to live in this community, surrounded by amazing, loving, people of faith.
 Of course, there are countless other examples of the Christian community here in Gloucester selflessly pouring themselves into the needs of our community. Those who have been on the receiving end of those prayers and love can never forget. My family and I are among those who have been recipients of those prayers and support since I was a child. One cannot separate the influence of the Christian community here in Gloucester from who we are as a city.
 To honor the impact and contributions of the Christian community in Gloucester over the last 400 years, I petitioned the Mayor of Gloucester last October to raise a Christian Flag at City Hall during Holy Week, 2023. My request was denied by the mayor. A month ago, I made a second request to the mayor. This time, I requested to fly the flag for one day only, Good Friday, April 7, 2023. I have not received a response from the mayor or anyone else from our city government.
This denial and lack of response from Mayor Verga necessitate a legal response. This situation is much more significant than a flag. The city of Gloucester is openly discriminating against viewpoints it disfavors. So, I have engaged Liberty Counsel, to assist me in preserving our cherished liberties and First Amendment rights here in Gloucester.
 The city has opened the flagpoles at city hall to numerous groups and viewpoints over the years—but has rejected the Christian flag. This is not only wrong but unconstitutional. My attorneys at Liberty Counsel sent a Demand Letter to Mayor Verga and City Counsel leadership, demanding that we be allowed to raise the Christian Flag on Good Friday, with a deadline to respond by March 25th to prevent any further action by Liberty Counsel. Mayor Verga and City Council leadership ignored the Demand Letter.
 The Mayor and City Council are aware of last year’s unanimous (9-0) Supreme Court decision, that ruled the city of Boston violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by censoring a private flag in a public forum merely because the application referred to it as a “Christian flag.” The High Court stated the censorship was viewpoint discrimination, and there is no Establishment Clause defense. As Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mathew Staver said recently: “This 9-0 decision from the Supreme Court involving the Christian flag continues to have an impact across the nation. The clear message from the Supreme Court is that government must not discriminate based on viewpoint. The government cannot favor one viewpoint and censor another and cannot censor religious viewpoints under the guise of government speech. Any governments that are ignoring this ruling are setting themselves up for potential lawsuits.”
 The city of Boston has since been forced to pay $2.1 Million to Liberty Council for legal fees and other associated costs during the five-year legal battle. Let’s hope and pray that the Mayor of Gloucester doesn’t make that same mistake.
Alex Destino