A general view of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington, DC, United States on June 25, 2021. REUTERS / Ken Cedeno

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 (Reuters) – The United States Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a group challenge against Boston’s rejection of its request to fly a flag bearing the likeness of a Christian cross in above City Hall in a case involving religious rights and freedom of expression.

The judges will consider an appeal from a Christian group called Camp Constitution of a lower court ruling in favor of the city, resuming the case four days before the start of their new nine-month term.

Camp Constitution is a group of volunteers who teach courses on the history and current affairs of the United States. He unsuccessfully asked to hoist a flag with a Christian cross on it above City Hall in 2017. He noted that Boston had acceded to hundreds of requests from other private groups seeking to hoist various flags. .

The group said the city’s refusal to comply with the request violated the United States Constitution’s First Amendment freedom of speech guarantee. Part of the city’s defense is that hoisting the flag could violate another section of the First Amendment which prohibits government approval of religion.

Lower courts sided with the city, with the Boston-based 1st US Court of Appeals in January finding that raising the flag would represent a form of government speech, giving the city more leeway to decide which speech is allowed.

The city had never turned down an application before and had already approved the flags of other countries and private organizations, including the LGBT pride flag.

The court will hear oral arguments early next year, and a decision is due by the end of June.

Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham

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