Monday, September 10, 2018

Mad Mat Staver lost another one - shocking I know

“AFA introduces a lawyer who might be more moronic than Staver”
Mat Staver
Hate Group Leader Mad Mat Staver
Shurtleff v. City of Boston is not about LGBT people but it is about Christian privilege. Mr. Shurtleff is the president of a group called Camp Constitution. The City of Boston allows organizations to fly a flag on one of the three flagpoles at city hall.

Camp Constitution wanted to fly a “Christian Flag” on one of those poles for an event. The city denied the request because it does not permit religious flags in order to avoid the appearance of endorsing a religion in violation of the First Amendment.

In a furious huff, Staver sued the City of Boston on behalf of Shurtleff and Camp Constitution. Staver and his Liberty Counsel sidekick, Horatio Mihet, filed a 28 page complaint with the federal court plus another 32 pages of attachments for a total of 60 pages. Perhaps this can be summarized as:
[The city violated] Plaintiffs’ rights to Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Assembly, and Equal Protection, guaranteed under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Articles 1, 3, and 16 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights; and (d) from violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Articles 2 and 3 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.
Establishment Clause violation? I guess you have to be at the madhouse that is Liberty Counsel to fully appreciate the batshit with which they speak.

Judge Denise Casper wasn't having any of it. She denied the request for an injunction which would have barred the city from enforcing its ban on non-secular displays. She found the city's policy “reasonable based on the City’s interest in avoiding the appearance of endorsing a particular religion and a consequential violation of the Establishment Clause.”

The event for which they wanted to fly the flag is on September 17. That's gone but they can continue to sue. Despite the futility of doing so, Staver believes his own BS so he might continue the exercise in order to get a verdict from Judge Casper (which is going to be in favor of the city) in order to get to the appellate courts and the Supreme Court if necessary. All this activity would be at considerable taxpayer expense. Meanwhile Staver will raise money off of the pointless lawsuit.

AFA introduces a lawyer who might be more moronic than Staver:

Allow me to introduce you to Andrew Beckwith, lawyer and president of Massachusetts Family Institute. According to American Family Association:
"I know there were certainly flags that had the Islamic crescent moon on them as part of the national flag," Beckwith continued. "The LGBT rainbow flag was flown pretty regularly, the transgender flag has been flown on that flagpole, and those express very clear worldviews, which frankly, are being pursued with as much vigor as a religion in many cases."
Very persuasive Mr. Beckwith. The Establishment Clause doesn't seem to apply to sexuality no matter how much you might wish otherwise. So the trans and LGBT flags are irrelevant. I need not get to the more idiotic argument about the “worldviews” which those flags supposedly express.

Yes, some countries have a crescent moon on their flags. There are two problems with that argument. The first is that the crescent moon (according to most scholars) is not a symbol of Islam. Rather, it is a carryover from the Ottoman Empire. Yet even if that is not the case, the crescent moon is incidental to the state flag.

AFA continues:
Regardless, the pro-family leader maintained that one cannot take what is effectively a public forum – "which is what they've made that city flagpole into" – and then restrict it to not include certain flags or certain speech because it is religious in nature.
A federal judge disagrees and her opinion makes perfect sense. The city does not want to suggest the endorsement of religion in defiance of (dare I say?) the Establishment Clause.
"You cannot – under the First Amendment – discriminate against faith groups because they're a faith group," Beckwith explained. "It is ironic that in the city of Boston itself, which has such a deep history for our nation … that we somehow can't have a flag that represents and is consistent with that Christian heritage in the city is pretty preposterous."
Irony is not an argument. As for discrimination that is hard to pursue as an argument because the city's policy does not favor one religious group over another which makes the policy neutral (grounded in law rather than belief). In fact, Beckwith's argument about Boston's Catholic heritage cuts against his rationale because the city seeks neutrality.

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