The Satanic Temple (TST) is requesting to fly a flag over Boston City Hall after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that the city violated the free speech rights of a conservative activist seeking to fly a Christian flag on a pole outside the downtown building.
Based in Salem, Massachusetts, TST tweeted a request filed Tuesday with the city property management department to raise a flag marking “Satanic Appreciation Week” from July 23-29.
As CBN News reported, the high court ruled unanimously Monday that Boston discriminated against local resident Hal Shurtleff because of his “religious viewpoint,” even though it had routinely approved other flag-raising requests.
Shurtleff’s civic organization, Camp Constitution, petitioned to raise a Christian flag, a white banner with a red cross on a blue background, on the pole to mark Constitution Day in 2017.
There are three flagpoles outside of Boston City Hall. One flies the U.S. flag, another, the flag of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the third flagpole is intended to celebrate other countries, cultures, and causes.
Over a 12-year period, Boston received nearly 300 applications to fly various flags on the third flagpole. They approved all of them, except Shurtleff’s. The city maintained that despite policies, the private flags when flown on that pole, are actually government speech.
The justices acknowledged that rejecting the flag because it was referred to as a Christian flag on the application was discriminatory and there is no Establishment Clause defense.
Mayor Michelle Wu’s office declined to comment on the group’s request other than to say it’s reviewing the high court’s decision while also evaluating its flag-raising program.
Lucien Greaves, the TST’s co-founder, said in an email to the Associated Press that the group wants to show that religious liberty must mean respect for “all forms” of religious practice and religious opinion.
“When government officials are able to impose arbitrary restrictions on claims of conscience or to abridge the civic capacities of some based on their religious identity, we fail to be a free, democratic republic,” he wrote in part.
The TST hasn’t decided which of its official flags it will ask the city to fly, Greaves said. But one likely option echoes the American flag, only with black and white stripes and an emblem of a pentagram and goat skull where the 50 stars would be.