It hit the news yesterday that a Christian group has sued the city of Boston for rejecting a flag that represented interdenominational Christianity for a Constitution Day parade, which occurred in 2017, and was then rejected a second time in 2018. This, while 284 other flags were accepted. The group believes that the rejection is unconstitutional.
I am certain that opposing groups of people will argue this in the framework of religious freedoms and separation of church and state. If the city of Boston allows for some flags that might have some sort of religious bent — I’m not sure if they did — then why not allow them all? If the city wants to accurately represent the historical development of the US Constitution, its link to references to Christianity can’t be ignored. But really, all of this misses the point.
This is the sort of sticky mess that results from a massive overbearing government that is so pervasive as to make an impact on religious observances and freedoms. The US Constitution does, indeed, enshrine within it religious freedom, and it does reference, at a minimum, deist beliefs that allude to Christianity. But, also enshrined within it, is the idea of a limited government dissociated with the sponsorship of any religion or any sect.
City governments should play no role at all in waving flags that celebrate the Constitution. That’s not the proper role of government. It’s nice to celebrate such things, and it’s honorable to do so, but leave that to private groups, individuals, and businesses. Everyone loves a parade, but is it necessary for a city government to manage and organize parades? I don’t think so.
In this case, I’m inclined to recognize the undeniable role Christian beliefs played in the writing of the Constitution itself, not as something that solidifies Christian beliefs in a country that protects religious freedom, but rather as a historical influence of ideology. However, if the city of Boston is to be sued about this event, then sue them to get the taxpayers’ money back and disallow them from organizing future celebrations. The celebrations are better organized by private citizens and groups that can set their own rules and leave such a legal mess aside.
People give libertarians a hard time about roads and public ownership of just about anything, but this is one minor example of how the public ownership of certain property causes problems with the appearance of supporting or not supporting a religious preference. Yes, I know it’s utopian to suggest that roads should all be privately-owned, but perhaps not quite as much as many believe, and it avoids problems we can have when government has control over things. Isn’t that what really gives the city of Boston the opportunity to manage and direct these events?