Satanic Temple asks Boston to fly flag following U.S. Supreme Court ruling

BOSTON, May 5 (Reuters) - The Satanic Temple has asked to fly its flag over Boston City Hall after the U.S. Supreme Court this week ruled that the city violated a Christian group's constitutional free speech rights by refusing to raise a flag bearing the image of a cross.

The Salem, Massachusetts-based Satanic Temple following the ruling posted a request filed on Tuesday with the city's property department asking to have its flag raised for "Satanic Appreciation Week" from July 23 to 29.

The city had operated a program that let private groups use the flagpole while holding events in the plaza below. It suspended the program last October amid the litigation to ensure that the city could not be compelled to "publicize messages antithetical to its own" and has said it is re-evaluating the program.

Asked about the Satanic Temple's request, a spokesperson for Mayor Michelle Wu's office noted the program's suspension and said the city was reviewing the high court's Monday decision.

The Satanic Temple, also known as the United Federation of Churches LLC, describes itself as a promoter of benevolence and empathy among people rejecting tyrannical authority.

The Supreme Court found that Boston's rejection of the Christian group Camp Constitution and its director Harold Shurtleff violated their right to freedom to speech under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment. read more

In turning down Camp Constitution, Boston had said that raising the cross flag could appear to violate another part of the First Amendment that bars governmental endorsement of a particular religion.

Boston has said that requiring it to open the flagpole to "all comers" could force it to raise flags promoting division or intolerance, such as a swastika or a terrorist group.

The Satanic Temple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Will Dunham

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Nate Raymond reports on the federal judiciary and litigation. He can be reached at nate.raymond@thomsonreuters.com.