(RNS) — Days after the Supreme Courtroom dominated that Boston had violated a Christian group’s rights by denying a request to fly its flag over Boston’s Metropolis Corridor Plaza, the Satanic Temple, a non secular freedom advocacy group, has utilized to fly its flag throughout “Satanic Appreciation Week” later this summer season.
The Satanic Temple’s goal is to check whether or not town’s court-ordered acceptance of flags from non secular teams features a dedication to plurality.
“A public discussion board that permits for non secular expression can both announce a dedication to spiritual pluralism,” stated Lucien Greaves, Satanic Temple’s co-founder and president, “or it will possibly sign a decline into theocracy by permitting public representatives to dictate limits on the civic capacities of some non secular identities by exercising unique choice for others.”
The town didn’t reply to a request for remark.
In July 2017, Harold Shurtleff, director of Camp Structure, a New Hampshire-based group that seeks to show households about “(America’s) Judeo-Christian ethical heritage,” utilized to fly a Christian flag in Metropolis Corridor Plaza throughout an hour-long ceremony commemorating Structure Day, September 17. Up to now town has flown flags honoring numerous nations, teams and causes. Boston didn’t have any tips on what flags might be flown.
Shurtleff’s request was declined by Boston officers on the grounds that the non secular flag would violate the First Modification’s institution clause, disallowing help for any faith by the federal authorities. Shurtleff sued, and whereas intermediate courts sided with town, on Monday, the Supreme Courtroom concluded that “town’s refusal to let Shurtleff and Camp Structure fly their flag primarily based on its non secular viewpoint violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Modification.”
Justice Kavanaugh, in a concurring opinion, wrote, “Below the Structure, a authorities might not deal with non secular individuals, non secular organizations, or non secular speech as second-class.”
Shortly after the choice was introduced, there have been calls on social media for The Satanic Temple to use to hoist a flag in Boston. The Salem-based group didn’t disappoint.
“Removed from being an arbitrary train in hilarity — as we regularly see our claims for equal entry contextualized within the press,” Greaves advised Faith Information Service, “our calls for that the federal government respect viewpoint neutrality in a public discussion board has profound penalties for anyone involved with the preservation of their civil liberties, no matter their non secular identification.”
The Satanic Temple is understood for its activism defending non secular freedom and different First Modification rights throughout the nation. In 2014, its marketing campaign to put in a statue of Baphomet, a seated goat-headed determine, on the Oklahoma State Capitol alongside a memorial to the Ten Commandments ended when the state supreme courtroom ordered the Ten Commandments memorial be taken away.
Final December, the group positioned a child Baphomet determine in a holiday display on the Illinois State Capitol, drawing hearth from the native Catholic bishop.
The Satanic Temple was already at odds with Boston in a separate non secular freedom case. In 2021, the Temple sued town for its choice of officiants for the opening prayer at Metropolis Council conferences, arguing that the council has invited solely mainstream non secular leaders however has by no means requested The Satanic Temple. The case is ongoing.
Satanic Appreciation Week, in line with Greaves, was a group occasion and initially had nothing to do with the flag motion. Greaves stated, “The stakes are excessive, and if we permit officers to discriminate in opposition to any type of non secular expression or opinion, they’ll do it to a different.”