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Amicus Brief Affirming Boston Policy Against Endorsing Religious Symbols

Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association were among fifteen organizations that signed onto a friend-of-the-court brief filed by Americans United in the case of Shurtleff vs. City of Boston, which is pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. 

The case concerns the attempt by some residents of Boston to get the courts to order the City to fly the Christian Flag (a white flag with a blue rectangle in the corner inset with a blood-red Latin cross) in front of City Hall. The City occasionally puts up banners for special events but has a policy against flying religious flags on the flagpole at City Hall.

The trial court upheld the City’s policy, concluding that forcing Boston to fly the Christian flag would violate the Establishment Clause because it would promote a particular faith and entangle government with religion. The amicus brief urges the First Circuit to affirm that decision, which follows long-standing Supreme Court precedent on separation of church and state. 

Signatory organizations include:

  • Americans United for Separation of Church and State
  • American Humanist Association
  • Anti-Defamation League
  • Central Conference of American Rabbis
  • Freedom From Religion Foundation
  • Jewish Social Policy Action Network
  • Men of Reform Judaism
  • Muslim Advocates
  • National Council of Jewish Women
  • People For the American Way Foundation
  • Reconstructing Judaism
  • Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
  • Sikh Coalition
  • Union for Reform Judaism
  • Women of Reform Judaism

The Reconstructionist Network