Reaping the Rewards?

The Dobbs decision, which overturned the longstanding precedent of Roe v. Wade, continues to reverberate through American society. There was the story of a 10-year-old rape victim who had to travel to an adjoining state in order to terminate her pregnancy (and the revelation that future victims must travel even farther, as the adjoining state is set to outlaw abortion as well). There was the mildly shocking upset in Kansas earlier this month, where voters in the largely Republican state rejected a state constitutional amendment outlawing abortion.[1] To be fair, the culmination of a five-decade political crusade by conservative evangelicals as a political bloc, and the Republican Party more broadly, deserved the outsized time and attention (including my own). However, a decision handed down just a few days after Dobbs went largely unnoticed and, from a religious liberty perspective, is just as troubling.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11957
3 Likes

this conservative court may be in the process of producing a backlash, if not in Kennedy v. Bremerton, definitely in Dobbs v. Jackson…the upcoming midterms should have been a shoo-in for the GOP, but Dobbs seems to be energizing Democrats, and especially suburban women who appear to be registering to vote as Democrats in big numbers…several prominent Dems are promising to codify Roe into law if the Dems manage to hang on to the House and Senate, as their first order of business…

it will be quite ironic if stacking the court with conservatives through all means possible, ethical or unethical, ends up codifying abortion as a national legal right…

3 Likes

Alito’s victory lap over Dobbs in presentations that became a “a call to arms on behalf of religion” (See Linda Greenhouse’s, an expert on SCOTUS, opinion piece in the NYT Aug. 11, 2022) we see a Court bent on protecting and expanding freedom of religious expression at the expense of establishment violations. Kennedy is such a decision that shows a militant court to give prominence to religion. The Carson decision does the same with the voucher scheme of Maine. Rough and tumble judicial waters are ahead.

1 Like

This is irrelevant, and liberal folk have done much worse to gain a hearing

Why? Our laws permit religious expression for all. Could a Muslim pray? Sure, and if you stopped him you could be prosecuted for surpassing free expression. The country is a freer one now that this ruling has been handed down.

I would take Jason’s post more seriously if he defended people who are losing their jobs and being canceled because they do not support abortion, or operations for transgender or other “controversial” issues… But Jason would never go to the defense of such as those fork. An Austin Tx volunteer Chaplin was fired for expressing the view that transgenders should not compete with biological women. Teachers loose their jobs if they are not woke enough.

The previous ruling decided it this issue was Lemon. But it resultied in suppression of religious expression. Now all can express openly, even if they are public employees. It was a good ruling.

1 Like

Surely you must be aware of the basic definition of the word ‘liberal’, which means ‘open to other views’, while the word ‘conservative’, conversely, means ‘closed to other views’. So as one of the ‘liberal folk’ you reference, I am content to remain open-minded, willing to consider other views…even yours.

Personally, I have pined for years that the ‘liberal folk’ could not come up with some sort of organized effort to counteract the mendacity of The Federalist Society, which is how we got the slate of judges that sit on the SCOTUS today.

And I think Jason did a level-handed job of outlining the issues inherent in this case.

4 Likes

To be fair to Jason, you don’t know if he would defend such folk or not. Ask him.

Indeed, these things happen, and each case needs to be examined on their merits and wrongs made right.

In reading his complaint filed with the court Mr. Fox may well have a good case. In fact, the fire department had promoted other causes, some including the LGBTQi community, and thus it appears there is a “double-standard” being presented here. The department could be in hot water on this one.

But if we are going to speak of freedom for all, all then have to be treated equally under similar circumstances. And very important to cases like these, all have to have a great measure of tolerance for the views we don’t like. I think the parlance of “cancel culture” doesn’t reside with one side or group. Both sides do it. We have descended into a tit for tat vortex of spiraling down to the lowest dregs of uncivility on the whole “cultural wars” issue. Unfortunate for all.

2 Likes

I wonder why some have the church and state relationship or ruling confused. The words “church and state” are not found in the Constitution. The Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”. I wonder how some get this confused and turned around. All this means is that religion is protected from Congress making laws against religion. It does not mean religion subjects and practices cannot be spoken or practiced within government settings, public settings etc. It means people are protected from the state to practice religion in freedom. It does not mean government (the state) cannot have religion practiced within their settings.
By the way, I am writing this on Sabbath morning.

The problem comes when “religion” = Christianity. If other religions (or no religion) are not given the same freedoms, then the state is favouring one religion over others.

5 Likes

True, but neither is the phrase “separation of powers” or “right of privacy” or “judicial review” and so forth. There are a lot of phrase not found specifically, but conceptually they exist either in the original Constitution or its amendments.

With the Kennedy decision the Court chose to disregard the dangers of establishment to further expand free exercise and privilege it above other rights. The problem with the Kennedy decision is that barriers protecting the establishment of religion have been notched down. Careful jurisprudence over the last few decades have ruled that the state, and/or state officials, cannot promote nor diminish religion in public schools. Mr. Kennedy is a state employee and his praying on the fifty-yard line is a violation of the protection from establishment. If you take the time to read the various court decisions and the circumstance behind Mr. Kennedy’s case you will find that his praying was more than a private citizen out on the ball field after the game. The Justices chose to ignore the history that supported this non private aspect of his prayers and chose to look at a snippet of history to make the poor decision that they made.

3 Likes

And I wonder why…people want religion, their own, to be practiced within the government. Political rhetoric already says this is a ‘Christian Nation’, and should be allowed to rule by those principles. So what happens to those whose religion is not considered Christian and want to kneel and face Mecca of the playing field, praying to Allah, or the Buddhist or etc, etc, etc. They will never answer the question, when asked, when has a government recognized religion ever made a country ‘better’!!

By the way, the phrase "not found in the constitution’ is being used more and more in politics as a way of one asserting ones own definition. Does anyone know why we have all the amendments to the constitution? Because it was not all inclusive and couldn’t be in that culture or event setting. It was a start, not the end!!!

I am waiting for a goat sacrifice…

1 Like

Free thinkers in the last half of the 1800’s in light of the then push for an amendment to the Constitution making us legally Christian asked what it meant about their citizenship their civil rights, etc. The point being by establishing or privileging a particular faith you automatically trample upon the rights of conscience and practice of others who have a different faith or no faith at all.

Well said. It is ignorance of the founding and development of our country’s existence as a nation created through a constitution providing oversight to the various colonies that most people just don’t get what is going on in terms of church and state. People are being exposed to cherry picked moments or statements made in the past, usually entirely out of context, to make a case of America being Christian as a nation.

2 Likes

The same as context and culture is to the interpretation of the Bible, culture and context is key to interpreting the constitution in the way the framers intended. You need the right hermeneutic.

I don’t see how that is a problem. While at an event one can simply ignore, wait, or leave the event if one does not care for the religious display or practice.
I am not sure what you mean by “no religion”. The state should not be favoring any one religion, according to the Constitution. But also, what do you mean by favoring? The state is not to be involved with making any law regarding religion, as stated above, so they have no part where they could be favoring.

I see in the Constitution that the state (congress), “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”, only means what it says. There is no reference to validate what you mention. Any state employee can have religion practices in a government setting. No law can be made to prohibit the free exercise of religion.
Some judges may have voiced other rulings as they see it, but that doesn’t change the Constitution, it is only their opinion, and is likely politically driven. The black robe is sometimes just a disguise.

True, however when a religious rite is practiced in a state facility (state referring to government at any level) by an individual that is employed by the state, it is the state sanctioning of a particular religion. The coach is free to pray etc on his own time, in a public space (or in private), but it should not be done on the clock, in a state facility.

See what happens if a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Sikh or a Satanist try to perform a religious rite in the same location at the end of a game. There would be an unholy uproar.

If the state (school) allows the coach to proceed, they need to make it clear that staff of other religions are free to do likewise. All or none.

It may not change the constitution, but how they rule interprets the constitution and that interpretation becomes law, either directly in statute, or by striking down statutes. SCOTUS’s interpretation widens or narrows the application of understanding of the constitution.

2 Likes

I suggest that you take some time to broaden your grasp of the Constitution and how the first amendment has been adjudicated throughout our nation’s history, and then delve into how federal laws work within that framework. A book I highly recommend for this is Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment, by John Witte, Jr., Joel Nichols, and Richard Garnett (5th edition, 2022). It is very readable, even for a layperson, or non-lawyer type.

This is factually not true, Alisa. As with all rights, no right is absolute. There are limits to all of them. Hence, due to laws against murder, religions that want to do human sacrifice are not allowed their free exercise of their religion. Or, more likely to happen, is a church can’t exercise their right to gain offerings through deception and/or illegal forms of money making. This nation is in a constant flux over what rights we have, how those rights interact with each other, and constant mediation between conflicts of rights.

So, going back to Mr. Kennedy. Indeed, he has a right to exercise his religious beliefs, but he doesn’t have the right to exercise them as a public servant in a manner that is coercive or promotional over other beliefs, or non-beliefs, with the students in his charge. He cannot be a servant of the state and impose his religous beliefs and practice upon those he has been put in authority over.

7 Likes

I think it actually is true, especially since it is specifically stated in the Constitution. But if a religion is intent on killing life then other parts of the Constitution come into play, such as protecting life and they already exist so no new law is made to rule against a religion.

But what if I already have? Maybe you are assuming that I haven’t? Much of the Constitution is not difficult to understand. So I have to wonder why some continue to stretch and twist the words of our country’s designers. Is it to try to make it fit a narrative one prefers? Then the living, breathing is actually for the comprehender rather than the document? Did you know that Hillsdale College offers free online courses that go into depth of the Constitution? So far I have enjoyed them. I highly recommend pursuing courses from them. And then there is the bill of rights. Oh my, that is lengthy and a bit deep.

I don’t know what the courses you are taking are saying, but from your responses they are not either giving you correct information, or you do not understand the topic. But we will leave our discussion here. I have no more to add.

1 Like

This is speculation. The constitution says that there is freedom of religion, therefore these believers would have the same rights as the coach. You’re acting as if Christians would object to their practice. However it has been the atheists and irreligion instead, objected to the Christians practice. They are actually the intolerant ones, not Christians.

The courts statements and ruling just allows everyone to practice their religion publicly. Your speculation does not mean that such objections would even arise, but only reveals the thinking of your mind.