Enlarging The Already-Big Hole In the Wall

The overtly pious Justices placed on today’s Supreme Court by Mitch McConnell aren’t likely to stop imposing their religious beliefs with their decision to overrule Roe v. Wade. Multiple observers have warned that we are dealing with religious zealots intent upon enforcing their vision of Christian Nationalism–a vision that goes well beyond the effort to put women in our “proper” (i.e., subservient) place.

This is a Court that has bent over backwards to elevate religion– especially conservative Christian religion.

If we look at the Court’s “pipeline,” we can see that the hits are likely to continue coming. I’ve posted previously about the case of the public school coach who wants to lead prayer on the fifty-yard line, and the fact that, during oral argument, the Justices seemed inclined to allow him to do so. But that’s not the only vehicle available to a Court intent upon empowering their particular version of Christianity.

As Adam Liptak reported in December,

The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed ready to take another step in requiring states to pay for religious education, with a majority of the justices indicating that they would not allow Maine to exclude religious schools from a state tuition program.

The court has said that states may choose to provide aid to religious schools along with other private schools. The question in the new case was the opposite: Can states refuse to provide such aid if it is made available to other private schools?

The State of Maine has a number of rural communities that do not have public secondary schools. Maine law requires those communities to send young residents elsewhere for their education, and to do so in one of two ways:’ They can sign contracts with nearby public schools, or they can pay tuition at a private school chosen by the student’s parents so long as it is, “a nonsectarian school in accordance with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

This case arose when two families in Maine challenged that law. The parents want to send  their children to religious schools, and they argue that the state’s refusal to spend tax dollars to allow them to do so violates their right to the free exercise of their faith.

As Liptak noted, religious litigants have found the current court to be very hospitable to their arguments.

Religious people and groups have been on a winning streak at the Supreme Court, which seemed likely to continue in the new case. In recent decisions, the justices have ruled against restrictions on attendance at religious gatherings to address the coronavirus pandemic and Philadelphia’s attempt to bar a Catholic agency that refused to work with same-sex couples from screening potential foster parents.

The court also ruled that the Trump administration could allow employers with religious objections to deny contraception coverage to female workers and that employment discrimination laws do not apply to many teachers at religious schools

The likely precedent for this decision is a case called Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. In that case, the Court found that a provision of the state’s Constitution banning aid to schools run by churches ran afoul of the  Constitution’s Free Exercise Clause, by  discriminating against religious people and schools. Writing for the majority, John Roberts held that a state need not subsidize private education–but that once it decides to do so, “it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.”

That is fair enough. It is also why privatization efforts like Indiana’s voucher program–which bleed resources from public education in order to send tax dollars to private schools–are so dangerous and socially divisive. In Indiana, some ninety percent of voucher students attend religious schools (schools that have not, by the way, improved the academic performance of those students.)

Plaintiffs freely acknowledged that the curricula of these religious schools is divisive and discriminatory.

One of the schools at issue in the case, Temple Academy in Waterville, Maine, says it expects its teachers “to integrate biblical principles with their teaching in every subject” and teaches students “to spread the word of Christianity.” The other, Bangor Christian School, says it seeks to develop “within each student a Christian worldview and Christian philosophy of life.”

The two schools “candidly admit that they discriminate against homosexuals, individuals who are transgender and non-Christians,” Maine’s Supreme Court brief said.

Justice Elena Kagan wanted to know why taxpayers should fund “proudly discriminatory” schools. The answer, evidently, is that six judges on this Supreme Court believe that when discrimination is required by Christian theology, it is entitled to special deference.

I somehow doubt that a Satanic school–or even a Muslim or Jewish one– would receive that same deference….

 

 

27 thoughts on “Enlarging The Already-Big Hole In the Wall

  1. Call Stacey according to NPR radio many countries that are less religious or more likely to adopt abortion. Those who are trying to legalize abortion in countries like El Salvador over 20 year. Got the legalization of abortion over a long period of time. Over the last 50 years roe versus wade has been a ruling. Rulings Get overturned many times not just based upon the religious views but upon how it fits in with the constitution. Over the past 50 years there has not been any nationwide effort to pass legislation. The current legislation that is trying to be pushed now is for full term abortion‘s not part partial at all which of course is not going to make it through. Unfortunately now the economy is front and center many people are losing their 401(k)s to retirement plans their ability to purchase things and ironically there is a massive shortage of baby formula on the shelves. We could probably estimate over 50,000 people in Ukraine have been murdered by President Putin . In mirror pole the estimates are 20,000 or more and he has brought in trucks that have incinerators on the back to burn the bodies up. Sounds like Hitler doesn’t it. We need to realize that these people were on the borders of Ukraine within 60 days of the Biden ministration taking over.

  2. Like I mentioned in many comments earlier, if this is becoming too egregious, Joe Biden could stop it right now if he wanted to! He could declare a national emergency and suspend habeas corpus, he could actually change the structure of the Court if that was something he felt would correct a problem.

    He has the power and authority to do so, but will he?

    He might, if the right person got in his ear!

  3. It’s not just about abortion. As has been stated often on this blog and anywhere else intelligent people reside, it’s about controlling women. For it is the women who end up doing what is right in societies after the men screw it up.

    BTW, isn’t this sort of religious tyranny why the Pilgrims left England for America? Well, here we are again on the brink of religious idiocy (often a redundancy) wherein a few “zealots” control the narrative and the laws. It’s all quite absurd, of course, but Democrats have allowed these morons and their Republican brethren to come to power. Democrats have NOT stood for the people who matter. They’ve “gone high” when the Republicans have gone “low”. A lot of good that did.

    The DNC and the rational voters had better get off their asses and start mucking it up. It’s the only thing Republicans understand: lie, cheat, steal, abuse, defile. It’s what and who they are. Voting in November will be critical to the survival of our Constitution and our nation as well as our liberties.

    We’re running out of chances to fix what’s broken in our politics because we’ve let Republicans get away with Constitutional murder for too long.

  4. Top US officials from the State Dept admit to using propaganda against the American people to control messaging. Anyone countering their message will be censored by Big Tech and the new Disinformation Board.

    So, there is that.

    Also, the Democratic Party members are hopeful that Alito’s “leaked letter” will energize young people to vote in the midterms (the motive for the leak). It’s also a great fundraising tool.

    And suddenly, the “out of their mind” GOPers are condemning spending $40 billion in Ukraine while the US citizens are getting nailed by inflation – the likes we haven’t seen in 40 years. Since when does the GOP relate to the commoner?

    We are butting heads against two powers aligned with each other (Russia and China) while our activist court unleashes further steps into Christian Fascism.

    What is the reply of the masses when they are frightened? What kind of leadership do they seek out?

    Don’t forget, according to Chomsky, the role of the media is to manufacture consent which the State Department has already admitted this week.

    So what is the media steering us toward?

  5. Very good points today Vern!

    History really is cyclical isn’t it? For all of humankind’s so-called highly evolved and intellectually functioning brain, he sure cannot learn from previous mistakes. Even animals can figure out how to adapt for survival!

    Todd,

    One man’s Propagandist is another man’s Herald, one man’s Freedom Fighter is another man’s Terrorist. One man’s Whistleblower/informant is another man’s Traitor! I guess it depends? Who is on the receiving end of one or the other? And, therein lies the rub…

    I would venture on one’s perspective of good or bad, right or wrong? When there is no continuity or consent concerning morals and conscience, it gets made up as history keeps trudging along. Hence apathy and societal decay. it’ll just keep happening over and over again.

  6. Since inflation is due to increased spending let’s raise interest rates to control spending?
    Let’s throw abortion choice back to the states then pass a federal law to ban abortion?
    Make ALL these moves make sense?

  7. While this particular local case will not make it to SCOTUS; the system which legally and politically allowed it to happen in our election system could be a future case for the Judicial Branch of this government. Is there a law to prevent or stop what is going on with known criminals still sitting in high level elected positions in government and running for election?

    Andrew Wilhoit is sitting in the Lebanon jail, charged with murdering his wife by hitting her in the head with a cement flower pot and dumping her body in a nearby creek. I believe I read that he admitted doing this during an argument because she had filed for divorce. He won the Clinton County Republican Primary Election for Clinton County Township Board from jail last Tuesday. Probably loopholes in criminal and election laws have allowed this to happen.

    john sorg; we watched as Donald Trump abused presidential powers and authority and we are still fighting to survive and find a way out of this mess. I am sure President Biden is more aware of presidential powers and authority than Trump was, is or ever will be; but he is tip-toeing through the cow pies of those effing loopholes which benefited Trump and maintains his power and authority from his unelected position with help from his White Nationalist MAGA party’s minority power in the House and especially the Senate. President Biden is following the laws and the rules; that takes more time than overpowering by force, lies, sedition and treasonous actions. Look how fast the January 6th insurrection happened and how long it is taking us to legally deal with it.

  8. John Sorg, only two Presidents have suspended habeas corpus. One was Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, and that still is the worst black mark against him. The other was Bush 43, and he suspended it for non-citizens who were facing his military tribunals, in essence solving a problem the he himself created. Generally it is a really bad idea.

    I mentioned the Boston case the other day. The court used that same logic to compel the city to allow the flying of a “Christian” flag. A Satan worshiping group filed a request to fly their flag immediately after that decision. I recall being told as a kid that the best response to bad speech was good speech. I would like to see every coven, every Satan worshiping group, and any off the beaten path religion respond to every single ruling by the court. How long would it take to have the very “Christian” Christians bring suits against them?

  9. Vernon, that’s such a load of garbage. So you think that all those women who are against abortion hold their position on abortion b/c they want to “control women?” Obviously not. You are overlooking the fact that in many polls women are actually more against abortion than men. The demographic group that most strongly supports abortion rights is men 18-25.

    Pro-life people hold their position because they truly are concerned about fetal life. I don’t know why so many pro-choice people refuse to accept that fact.

    Abortion is such a tough issue exactly because both sides have very legitimate points of view that by their very nature conflict. Both sides need to stop demonizing the other side and deal with the issue honestly.

  10. Actually on some of these religion cases, the conservative majority has started picking up votes from some of the liberal justices. Some of the cases have majorities like 7-2. I think Breyer was one of the liberal justices voting with the conservative justices on some of the religion cases. I think there was another one as well.

  11. Una, The Interest rate is how much it costs to borrow money. When costs to borrow are near zero, (low interest rates) people bore more money so they have more money. The more money chasing after limited goods, the higher prices go. If you make it more expensive to borrow money (higher interest rates), the amount of money circulating in the economy goes down. If you pay people more for saving money, the amount of money circulating in the economy goes down. Less money circulating means there are fewer dollars to be spent on the limited amount of goods and services. So yes, raising interest rates will make inflation go down.

  12. Republicans hope to establish government in which some of the people control the rest of the people with the power of the government managed by the few. If that reminds you of corporate and military organizations, it’s not an accident.

    When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  13. Right on, Pete.

    This is all about power because those in power control the treasury, the government, the military, and the press.

    The journalists I follow write about monopoly power, the FED, the MIC, and the media – the power centers. Every decision impacting these power centers gets bipartisan support.

    The social issues as Paul noted are mere wedge issues used to divide up the populace. It’s a finely tuned machine but it has overdone itself and is doing extreme damage to the planet and people.

    The Founders were worried about democracy or power in the hands of the people. They were scared the people would take power away from the oligarchy. The problem is the checks and balances they set up for the people have been taken away (government and free press) by the oligarchy.

    Today, those in power want absolute power because total control is man’s corrupted aim.

    At the essence of all religions is the truth that alignment of our will with our Creative Force (universal laws) is the solution to what ails man. Otherwise, destruction is its path…

  14. Paul Ogden
    “Abortion is such a tough issue exactly because both sides have very legitimate points of view that by their very nature conflict.”

    This is EXACTLY the reason abortion should be left to the individual and their doctor.
    No one should have the right to impose their views on another person, especially when doing so causes harm to that individual. No one is forcing another person to have an abortion.

  15. The abortion issue was targeted, long ago, now, only because it was seen as something around which to rally the peasants. Sadly,
    it was a wise choice, and the fools have been salivating ever since. The proudly right-wing evangelicals, have been said, according to
    HCR, to be joining Eastern Orthodox churches, because of those churches’ nationalism, nativism, and other ultra-conservative views.
    Charles Koch, and his associates, have been working to create a Christain Theocracy, here, for decades, and their efforts seem to be
    on the verge of paying off.
    Something needs to be done to offset the crazies presence on SCOTUS!

  16. Paul Ogden,

    Since you have real trouble understanding what others write, try again. I wrote no garbage. I KNOW more women are favorable to women’s rights: over 75%!! Garbage that.

  17. Separation of church and state? Whut’s thet? Stare decisis? Whut’s thet? Perhaps we need an atheist/agnostic church in order to have standing to sue. After all, not everyone is cut out to be Unitarians, Scientologists, or buy any other approach to a religious life conjured up by a Brigham Young or a Calvin or a Luther or a Falwell.

    There is another dimension inadequately considered in this recurring church-state brawl played out before the courts, and it’s not whether public funds should be spent to further religious education, but rather what we are getting for our money. Thus time spent inculcating beliefs in the philosophies of a risen saviour reduce the time spent “inculcating” readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmetic.

    Studies show that we as taxpayers and the students we are inculcating are being shortchanged
    in terms of measured educational outcomes and the remedial classes those who pursue further education must take to “catch up” with those who spent their time being educated free from religious instruction. Thus from an accounting point of view, we are paying for remedial education that would have been unnecessary had the elementary and high schools done their job(s) but which they could not do because of time constraints resulting from teaching religion, which in my view is the job of Sunday school teachers.

    The SCOTUS as currently composed seems oblivious to what we once considered “settled law” in re separation of church and state, and I think it fair to guess that this rot will spread to other areas beyond education and flag-flying if not contained. Expansion of the court’s number may be the last and only means of a return to one of our founding principles – separation of church and state – an unfortunate but necessary remedy if we are to avert becoming a theocratic state.

  18. Hey Paul & Lester —
    Whatever ones’ personal views of abortion are, NO ONE SHOULD HAVE THE POWER TO IMPOSE THEIR VIEW ON ME!!! Many very traditional philosophies differ on when the unborn becomes a “person.” It will never be a settled question. It is a personal decision that should be left up to the individual.
    As far as controlling women, it is, in the the last analysis, what it boils down to in that Christianity is a patriarchal structure. Women’s role in Christianity has always been that of subservience (Mary Magdalen got a raw deal). So, yes, is about controlling women and anyone else – men – who doesn’t see it their way.
    Again, my prayer is, Dear God, save me from your followers!!!

  19. Vernon,
    😲

    Kathy M,

    You are absolutely correct on being able to decide your own direction and fate.

    Proverbs 1:8 reads,
    “Listen, my son, to the discipline of your father, and do not forsake the instruction of your mother.”

    Proverbs 31:26 reads,
    “She opens her mouth in wisdom; the law of kindness is on her tongue.”

    2 Timothy 1:5 reads,
    “For I recall your unhypocritical faith, which dwelled first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, but which I am confident is also in you.”

    Peggy Hannon,

    I understand, but, martial law has been declared in the United States approximately 70 times or so. And the POTUS
    has the option for declaring the suspension of Habeas Corpus anytime POTUS declares martial law. It’s the law and it’s there for a reason. There has to be a way to stop the inmates from running the asylum? And I believe the founders recognized that very issue could happen eventually. 👍

  20. I suppose they want us to teach that slavery and polygamy are ok. See Exodus 21:7-11
    New Living Translation
    7 “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. 8 If she does not satisfy her owner, he must allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. 9 But if the slave’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave but as a daughter. 10 “If a man who has married a slave wife takes another wife for himself, he must not neglect the rights of the first wife to food, clothing, and sexual intimacy. 11 If he fails in any of these three obligations, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.

  21. Leslie Gardner,

    Mormons and others who still believe in polygamy, they are going by what WAS tolerated in the Mosaic law. So, whether a person is a Messianic Jew or a Christian, that toleration has been eliminated. The original toleration was concerning expansion of the population. Of course it would expand much quicker if a man had more than one wife. So even though it was not written in the Mosaic law, it was tolerated as an exception for a while.

    Genesis 2:24 reads,
    “That is why a man will leave his father and his mother and he will stick to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

    The corresponding scriptures related to the above are Malachi 2: 16, Matthew 19: 5, Mark 10: 7 and 8, Romans 7: 2, 1 Corinthians 6: 16, Ephesians 5:31, Hebrews 13: 4! All refer to one Husband and one Wife! Almost all of them are identical in wording.

    Of course, the Hebrew law permitted fathers to sell their daughters Into marriage. But those daughters had to be treated as such in their new home with their new husbands. They could not be divorced without cause or sold into slavery.

  22. Nice to know that even in 2022, some lame theocrat-in-hiding is advocating we live by the rules set by desert sheepherders.

    What’s your view on the shape of the earth, Sorg? Abiogenesis?

  23. Todd: “the role of the media is to manufacture consent which the State Department has already admitted this week.” I missed that; please clarify; not saying you’re wrong, for once, just asking for clarification.

    Paul and Vernon: and anyone else who quotes statistics: please state your sources (and the dates of publication).

  24. The bottom line on why inflation, is the enormous profits being made by already rich oligarchs.
    The consumer is not the problem yet we are being punished by making access to money harder to reach.
    Don’t bypass this Dan.

  25. What if a prerequisite to casting a vote on the Supreme Court in regards to Roe vs Wade required the Justice and their law clerks to complete a vasectomy. Would the case even be heard? Sorry. 😇

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