We are on the precipice of a judicial moment almost 50 years in the making. So the story goes, in response to Roe v. Wade, groups of Conservative evangelical Christians banded together to take a bigger role in American politics. (I say “so the story goes” because the actual story is that they banded together to oppose racial desegregation and chose abortion as a more socially palatable public-facing issue.) The most prominent outcome of this movement has been White Conservative Evangelicals as the most stable voting bloc of the modern Republican Party.[1] But this movement considered one of its most important goals to be the ideological reformation of the court system. They understood that, as the final arbiter of our democratic system, the party that controls the Court controls the ideological direction of the country.[2] For the last several decades the Court has been mostly conservative, but there remained enough liberal balance that the movement was unable to overturn Roe v. Wade and was unable to stop some liberal gains.[3]

All of this changed with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last week Friday. In contravention of their own made-up rule, the Senate-controlling Republican Party in all likelihood will confirm a justice nominated by Donald Trump.[4] It seems that the nomination will be confirmed before the election but, even if it isn’t, it will surely be confirmed before the end of the year. If this nomination goes through, this will be the third Supreme Court justice confirmed by Trump, and will create a 6-3 conservative majority on the Court.

A 6-3 majority, especially the type of hard-line conservative justices Trump has appointed, could mean overturning several new and old precedents set by the Court. Most of these cases involve hard-won rights by minority groups. The nation could see Roe overturned. The newly-won right of same-sex marriage could be done away with, as well as more general protections for the LGBTQ community. The conservative wing of the court has shown a predilection to curtailing the expansion of voting rights in the past as well. We could also see the right against discrimination again become subservient to religious liberty, which could lead to an explosion of not only discrimination against the LGBTQ community, but even racial discrimination as well.

Many of these changes were among the goals the Religious Right had when this movement began almost 50 years ago. They stand a few months, maybe even just a few weeks, from possibly controlling the Supreme Court for a generation.[5] This nation will at least have the façade of Christianity that the Religious Right always wanted.

And it seems that the price was not all that high either. All they had to do was align themselves with an occupant in the White House who even they admit is flagrantly immoral. They did this after arguing for almost forty-five years that high, upstanding moral and Christian character was one of the most important things for a president to have. The very Supreme Court seat in question is being gained through hypocrisy and dishonest dealing. This after arguing that these are the abominable tactics of their opponents and these tactics are certainly not the modus operandi of the God they serve or the biblical heroes they admire. All they had to do was aid and abet racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia, all while worshipping a God who grafted them into salvation and promoted a church in which there should be no division. All of this happened while their fellow citizens watched and wondered how people who say they serve a loving God, who promotes morals and values and work for a kingdom that is not of this world, could sacrifice it all for an extra Supreme Court seat. They watched – and decided that the Christian church was not a place they wanted to be if its members went about their “love” that way.

But I digress. Congratulations to the Conservative evangelical movement. You did it. The nation is about to become more of the Christian nation you want it to be. And all you had to do was drag Jesus through the mud to get there.


[1] This movement has gone by many different names in public parlance - originally as the New Christian Right, then as the Moral Majority, then the Religious Right, and now as White Conservative Evangelicals.

[2] Oddly enough, it seems that their opponents somehow forgot how important the courts were. I think what befell them befell many successful movements – after struggling to gain their victories they assumed the battle was over and they no longer needed to defend what they’d won.

[3] Like the advent of secular same-sex marriage.

[4] To be fair, this deserves an explanation. In 2016, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Senate, led by Republicans, refused to even consider a Court nomination from then President Obama. At that time the Republicans said: this close to an election (it was approximately 9 months before), the people should have a hand in deciding who should make the appointment. Justice Ginsburg passed less than two months before the election and the same Senate Republicans who said 9 months was too close are seeking to appoint a justice in less than two months. Now they say that the precedent is that when the Senate and the President are of the same party then you can fill the seat, but when they’re of different parties you shouldn’t. There are just two problems with this new line of thought. One, no one said this was the rule in 2016, and two, several Republicans were on the record saying if this exact situation happened in 2020 they shouldn’t fill the seat.

[5]I say possibly because there is also the possibility that the Republicans victory in this matter may be short-lived. If the result of the 2020 election is a unified government (with the legislative and executive branches both led by Democrats), it is possible that they could reform the Court to install a more liberal balance and the conservative majority may go almost as quickly as it came.


Jason Hines is a former attorney with a doctorate in Religion, Politics, and Society from the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University. He is also an assistant professor at AdventHealth University. He blogs about religious liberty and other issues at

Previous Spectrum columns by Jason Hines can be found at: 

Image Credit:


We invite you to join our community through conversation by commenting below. We ask that you engage in courteous and respectful discourse. You can view our full commenting policy by clicking here.



This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I’d think this is not the best outlet to congratulate Republican fundamentalists. Perhaps Fulkrum7 would jump in and actually celebrate this article… with whoever this guy is:


Perhaps some “rights” that are not rights can be re-examined.


Mind boggling. Consider the god the religious right serves: one that will burn you in hell forever and ever for rejecting him. Maybe the fruit does fall not far from its tree. I wonder if John Stevens is rolling around in his grave.


With this sort of political tripe published in
I am prepared to never to donate to them again!
And I have been one of their longest and most faithful financial supporters.

Jason Hines,
Please be advised that there have been TWENTY NINE prior vacancies of a Supreme Court justice in an election year.
EVERY TIME, the sitting president has nominated a successor.
Why? Because it is his / her obligation to do so under the constitution.

A president is voted in by the electorate for FOUR years, not three or three and a half. Until the next Inauguration Day, he/ she has the full constitutional right to exercise his / her powers.

When the president and the senate are of the same party, the nomination has been successfully completed, as in seventeen of nineteen such prior times. When Obama nominated Merrick Garland in an election year, the senate was a Republican one — they had every right to refuse the nomination as has happened in eight of ten prior times when the senate and president were in differing parties in an election year.

We have a firm footing here with all the historical precedents—-—-so why the whining and hand wringing??

And we all know what stance Senator Schumer and Nancy Pelosi would take if the shoe were on the other foot! So this is sheer hypocrisy.

ELECTIONS have consequences. If Obama / Biden had not had such a failed eight year term, Trump would never have been elected, and as a sitting president be able to nominate SUPREME COURT justices when vacancies occurred.

And Jason , Trump’s election has been a triumph for the black community
The highest employment numbers IN HISTORY for the black minority.

Dozens of OPPORTUNITY ZONES to upgrade black ghetttos —— the Democrats have allowed the inner city slums to fester for decades under their political control.

Huge permanent funding for black colleges and universities —- which Obama ignored in all his eight years.

And prison reform which helped many black inmates — THE FIRST STEP ACT.

Trump’s closure of the southern border has prevented a huge influx of illegals all willing to work for less, to undercut black wages.

But Trump’s stellar action for blacks is his advocacy of SCHOOL CHOICE, which he will implement when re elected.
The Democratically controlled teachers union and schools in Democratically controlled cities are huge failures. Nearly every school child in Baltimore public schools is practically illiterate — despite $13,000 annual expenditures PER PUPIL — the highest on the planet !

Black high school graduates in these cities cannot do simple math and have no job skills. The only option for these illiterate young black men is to become drug dealers or pimps!

So we do root for a great economy, a stelllar,stock market ( which benefits anyone with a 401 K or pension plan ) and super employment opportunities for blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and women as were the case before the Chinese plague hit us — and school choice to give parents better options than the failing public schools !



Should spectrum only publish articles favorable to your point of view?
That sounds like really good journalism!


Such as the right to be free from religion?


It is not my “ point of view “.

As stated,in my blog, historical precedents, not my “point of view “ severely undercut all of a Jason Hines’ arguments .


There is an absolute right to not have a religion or religious test imposed on individuals by the government.


Good answer, Bart.
Where exactly is that right enshrined?

Do you believe those “precedents” to be facts?

Amendment 1: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

Article VI specifies that “ no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”


Absolutely they are facts — well known and well documented !
Any google check will corroborate them!

What if two parties disagree about the meaning of those articles, where can they go to get an ultimate opinion that would settle the disagreement?

Ok, maybe Spectrum should hire someone to police those facts. You know, someone to put a stop to “alternative” facts.
What do you think?


It is difficult to deal with a hypothetical question of this kind. It contains no concretes. I know you would like me to answer “the supreme court”, although the constitution doesn’t actually give that authority to the court; it was appropriated in Marbury v Madison. In my view it should have been challenged at that time. The supreme court is often and obviously politicized. Too much emphasis is placed on precedent rather than a plain reading of the constitution. Many precedents were decided on very poor or flimsy grounds and should be reversed.

Both the congress and executive members take an oath to uphold the constitution, though they regularly ignore that oath.

I would suggest that the appropriate venue for concrete disputes is with an informed jury whose job is to judge both the propriety of the law in question and then the facts of the case.

1 Like

Spectrum should be publishing articles on theology, and denominational or spiritual, or religious matters NOT politics.

Why ? Because the country was equally split in the last election.
So any political article is sure to alienate half their audience.
— not good when they rely on donations for financial support.


Hypothetical applies to anything that could occur in the future. My point, as you so astutely foresaw, is if a dispute over the meaning of those articles came up, the supreme Court would quite possibly decide it if it came up thru the courts, correct?
So I wonder how a supreme court, divided 6-3 in favor of “conservative” justices, approved by the religious right, would decide that.
I agree, it’s speculative, but it nevertheless gives me much discomfort.

1 Like

Robin, that is a good answer. You seem to be saying Spectrum should filter out any political subjects. Ok.
I’d guess there are more than one person here that can see plain religious connotations here. I’d be disappointed if they were to do that.
EDIT: However if I am the only one here that believes this way, then I would see I have no place here.


I share some of your misgivings. Part of the problem is that SCOTUS has grown too powerful, exercising both veto power over the other two branches and effectively legislating that which the majority thinks is the “right thing to do”. The best way to address the problem is to address the problem; limiting the scope of SCOTUS authority.

I don’t like ideologues on the court. Theoretically, the justices should be dealing with the original intent rather than that which it should be saying today. This obviously isn’t regularly observed. In general, conservative justices stick to the letter and intent, whereas the liberals do that which they deem best (according to what standard?).

Religious conservatives give me a queasy feeling in the event that they might attempt to impose their doctrinal views on the rest of us. Liberal activists tend to destroy individual rights in favor of “the good of the collective, sorry, society”. Both are troublesome, but in the broad scope of issues, the individualist rights wing (even if holding dogma in their back pocket) are far less threatening to objective rights than the collectivists. It would be helpful to begin some level of restoration of individual rights, starting with limiting the commerce clause to its original intent. The current rulings on that clause have caused the explosion of governmental authority and size unimaginable in the past. Perhaps as much as 70% of the scope and expenditure of the Federal Gov. emerge directly from a misinterpretation of the commerce clause.