Another Provocative Flag Was Flown at Another Alito Home

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“You can’t say that marriage is a union between one man and one woman,” the justice said in a 2020 speech. “Until very recently that’s what the vast majority of Americans thought. Now it’s considered bigotry,” he said, a point he had made strongly in his dissent to the ruling.

The religious leaders cast Mr. Trump as another of their heroes. A few weeks before the 2020 election, at a Las Vegas megachurch prayer service for his second term, a pastor from the group presented Mr. Trump with an “Appeal to Heaven” flag from the stage. When he lost, Mr. Sheets and a team of others formed an instant, ad hoc religious arm of the “Stop the Steal” campaign, blitzing swing state megachurches, broadcasting the services at each stop and drawing hundreds of thousands of viewers.

On Jan. 6, the “Appeal to Heaven” flag was prominent: at the Washington Monument, where throngs gathered to hear President Trump deliver a speech contesting the election results, and later above the angry mob that surrounded the Capitol. The flag was visible above clashes with law enforcement on the building’s west terrace, as rioters breached police lines underneath the scaffolding set up for President Biden’s inauguration, and finally, inside the building.

By that day, scholars say, the flag had become popular enough to sometimes be used by a few other groups, including militia members. But most often, they said, it is tied directly to Mr. Sheets, his contemporaries and adherents and their vision for a more Christian America.

Last October, soon after the flag was last documented at the Alito beach home, Mr. Sheets devoted a prayer session to the court, this time sounding triumphant. He cited the Dobbs decision, overturning the federal right to abortion, in which the majority decision had been written by Justice Alito.

“We have reached another phase in the process of shifting the Supreme Court,” he announced. Through the justices, he said, “God’s intent for institutions of government can now be fulfilled.”

Alan Feuer contributed reporting.



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