A Christian flag was flown at Boston’s City Hall Plaza on Wednesday after a US Supreme Court case ruled that Boston had violated the right to free speech by refusing to fly the group’s flag. However, another flag application is still awaiting approval.
In May, the Satanic Temple requested that one of its flags be raised in Boston following the Supreme Court ruling based on a request from Camp Constitution, a New Hampshire-based Christian organization.
“Religious freedom is a fundamental principle in a democracy, and religious freedom depends on the neutrality of government,” Lucien Greaves, co-founder of The Satanic Temple, said earlier in a statement. “If officials are allowed to favor certain religious viewpoints over others, we don’t have freedom of religion, we have theocracy.”
At that time, the city announced that the flag-raising program was suspended on October 19, 2021.
But this week it returned with a raising of the Christian flag with a red cross. It was set up around 11am and could be seen in person and on Liberty Council’s Facebook Live.
Greaves confirmed that the city has not responded to them regarding the Satanic Temple’s request.
The city told MassLive that there was no update regarding the Satanic Temple request and that their application was submitted while the program was suspended. But the difference between the two requests is not further specified.
The Satanic Temple, which opened its first official headquarters in Salem in 2016, and its members do not view Satan as an evil figure, but as someone who dared to challenge authority. The group mainly advocates separation of church and state and has been known for attempting to place their one-ton goat-headed idol statue next to the 10 Commandments monument on public land.
The Satanic Temple is also currently suing Boston after the City Council refused to allow his group to deliver an appeal at the beginning of its meeting.
The lawsuit was filed in 2021 after Satanic Temple asked at least three times to hold the opening appeal, WBUR reported. Instead, they were told the council was not accepting requests. However, council policy allows each council member to invite a speaker to offer the opening prayer before each meeting, the organization told WBUR.
Also filed Tuesday was an ordinance related to the raising of the flag in Boston that would require an order from the city council or a mayoral proclamation.
“The proposed regulation will allow the city to continue celebrating the raising of flags while complying with the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court,” the statement said.
Three members of the Boston City Council — President Ed Flynn, Kenzie Bok and Ruthzee Louijeune — filed the proposed rule change, according to a press release from Mayor Michelle Wu’s office.
Flynn said the flags raised in Town Hall Square “should reflect and celebrate our city’s values,” and said the ordinance would require a formal process.
“We have a rich city with diverse people and ethnic backgrounds that we want to celebrate while we work to strengthen communities,” Louijeune said. “This flag ordinance clarifies and codifies the process for raising flags and the messages we as a city want to convey each time a ceremonial flag is raised.”