Why not let Chris­tians fly their flag?

Lib­er­als’ in­tol­er­ance bars sim­ple ex­pres­sion of faith

Boston Herald - - OPINION - Michael Gra­ham is a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to the Bos­ton Her­ald. Fol­low him on Twit­ter @IAMMGra­ham.

Who knew the Chris­tians even had a flag?

If you haven’t heard, an evan­gel­i­cal group called “Camp Con­sti­tu­tion” is hav­ing an event on Bos­ton’s City Hall Plaza. Their mis­sion is to pro­mote the idea that Amer­i­can con­sti­tu­tional gov­ern­ment as we know it would not have been pos­si­ble with­out the faith tra­di­tions of the Founders. Not only is this not crazy, it’s pretty much his­tor­i­cally in­dis­putable.

Camp Con­sti­tu­tion’s plan was to have short pre­sen­ta­tions from clergy and a brief sum­mary of Bos­ton’s re­li­gious his­tory as “the city set on a hill.” (If you don’t get the ref­er­ence, it’s a Bible thing. Just go with me.)

All the per­mits are in, the plans are made, ex­cept for one hitch: Camp Con­sti­tu­tion wants to run a Chris­tian flag up one of the flag­poles and sa­lute it. Af­ter months of what they call stonewalling, the camp re­ceived their an­swer on Sept. 8: No Chris­tian flags.

“The City of Bos­ton main­tains a pol­icy and prac­tice of re­spect­fully re­frain­ing from fly­ing non-sec­u­lar flags on the City Hall flag­poles. … The City would be will­ing to con­sider a re­quest to fly a non­re­li­gious flag, should your or­ga­ni­za­tion elect to of­fer one.”

So, the same pub­lic plaza that’s hosted ev­ery­thing from the Phan­tom Gourmet BBQ Fest to a protest by a group of Ul­tra-Ortho­dox Jews against Zion­ism (it’s re­ally com­pli­cated) and flown ev­ery flag from the Chi-Coms to the trans­gen­der won’t let the Chris­tians fly their flag? Be­cause it’s re­li­gious?

I could make the ob­vi­ous point that, if this were a group of monks bran­dish­ing a Bud­dhist flag, or Ti­betans at­tempt­ing to fly a Lung Ta, or “prayer flag,” Mayor Marty would prob­a­bly hoist it him­self. But that ar­gu­ment misses the more ba­sic ques­tion:

Why not just let them fly the damn … er, darn flag?

Even if there is a le­gal loop­hole Mayor Marty can use to keep evan­gel­i­cals from “let­tin’ their freak flag fly,” why stop them? Se­ri­ously, who’s go­ing to be of­fended? Or more to the point: Who cares? We’re Bos­ton — you know, the city of lib­er­al­ism and tol­er­ance and open­mind­ed­ness, right? Why not demon­strate a lit­tle of that tol­er­ance to these Chris­tians?

Ooops. I think I just an­swered my own ques­tion …

When Camp Con­sti­tu­tion’s Hal Shurtl­eff says the no­tion that a few min­utes of flag wav­ing would “in­di­cate Bos­ton is some­how a Chris­tian city [is] kind of ridicu­lous,” I agree with ev­ery­thing ex­cept the “kind of” part. No­body is go­ing to mis­take Bos­ton for a mecca of re­li­gious fer­vor. (Par­don the pun.)

Is the Walsh ad­min­is­tra­tion ac­tu­ally afraid some an­gry athe­ist will com­plain? That some thin-skinned pro­gres­sive will pout if the city gra­ciously ac­com­mo­dates what is clearly a mi­nor­ity view in Mas­sachusetts?

Ah, but the “ac­com­mo­date mi­nor­ity views” wing of Mas­sachusetts lib­er­al­ism died out when they be­came the ma­jor­ity. Now they lead the charge against di­ver­sity of ex­pres­sions and ideas.

These lib­er­als used to at­tack the “in­tol­er­ance” of re­li­giously-faith­ful par­ents both­ered by, say, ex­plicit sex­u­al­ity in pub­lic school read­ing as­sign­ments for mid­dle-school kids. Now these same peo­ple can’t bear the thought that the ban­ner of the Chris­tian Church might be seen in the pub­lic square.

Camp Con­sti­tu­tion says they’ll sue if the city bans the flag, and their lawyer Mat Staver of the Lib­erty Coun­sel be­lieves they have a pretty good case based on view­point dis­crim­i­na­tion. Other lawyers dis­agree.

But Bos­ton lib­er­als have made a ter­rific case for the ar­gu­ment that the left is a bunch of hyp­o­crit­i­cal, in­tol­er­ant jerks.

staff file photo by chris christo

PUB­LIC PLAZA: City Hall won’t al­low an evan­gel­i­cal group to have its ban­ner join a range of oth­ers that have flown there.

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