Religious Freedom Wins in the Supreme Court

Not to mention the dramatic reversal of the Supreme Court Roe last week lists this year’s cases to historic term levels. There is no issue more fundamental than life.

But with much of the attention centered on Dobbs and Roe, it is easy to forget the other important and consequential cases addressed by the High Court regarding religious freedom.

When the Supreme Court upheld Coach Kennedy’s right to pray silently at the 50-yard line, they actually empowered and encouraged all praying Americans. That’s because over the past 60 years, since the ban on voluntary prayer in schools, faithful Christians in this country have lost the motivation to publicly express their faith.

Let us be clear: Court decisions have a cooling effect on Christians. Not wanting to offend or do anything illegal, many refused and delayed when it came to public prayer. Six judges suggested the concerns were unfounded.

For the sake of the record, starting with the Dobbs case, let’s review and summarize some of the highlights of this past term-and what to look for next:

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – By a 6-3 vote, judges supported the constitutionality of Mississippi’s 2018 law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. In doing so, 5 judges considered it necessary to reverse Roe vs. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, that both forbade abortion before life. Chief Justice John Roberts, despite voting to support Mississippi law, did not feel the need to be reversed. Roe to do so, but would have left the final question for the future case. But five conservative magistrates who felt Roe was “seriously wrong from the start” – Alito, Thomas, Kavanaugh, Barrett and Gorsuch – joined forces to send Roe to the ash heap of history.

Kennedy against the Bremerton School District -By a 6-3 vote, the high court ruled that a Washington state public high school violated Coach Joe Kennedy’s rights when it disciplined him-and ultimately refused to hire him-for kneeling and praying silently on the 50- line of the field after football games.

The majority opinion, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, rejects the school district’s argument that the “Establishment Clause” of the First Amendment requires it to prohibit the coach from praying when and where to see him by players and students. The coach’s prayer is private and not forced, according to most.

“Both the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment protect expressions like Mr. Kennedy’s,” Gorsuch wrote. “Nor does a proper understanding of the Amendment’s Establishment Clause require the government to select private religious discourse for special disapproval. The Constitution and the best of our traditions advise mutual respect and tolerance, non -censorship and repression, for religious and non -religious views alike. ”

Carson v. Makin – In another 6-3 case, the court ruled in a case from Maine that the government could not create a tuition assistance program for families to send their children to private schools but banned such funds to be used by religious schools.

Maine is a rural state, with a small and widely dispersed population, and some of its public school districts do not have secondary schools, which include middle schools and high schools. To fill the gap for parents, the state has conducted a tuition assistance program for decades that provides funding for parents to send their children to private secondary schools where there is no public. State law, however, does not include such funds being used to pay for “sectarian” schools.

That release, the majority opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts ruled, violates the First Amendment.

“Maine’s‘ nonsectarian ’requirement for generally available tuition assistance payments violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,” Roberts wrote. “Regardless of the definition of benefit and prohibition, the program works to identify and exclude qualified schools based on their religious exercise. The Court of Appeals ruling was overturned, and the case was remanded for further notice. processes consistent with this opinion.

Shurtleff vs. Boston – In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that in 2017, the City of Boston refused to allow a civic group called Camp Constitution, and its director, Harold Shurtleff, to fly a Christian flag in his activity held on city property embodies the discrimination perspective. .

In a decision written by Justice Breyer, the court ruled that the city created a forum for public groups to raise special flags for their government -owned activities. In doing so, it cannot select and choose which group flags (and the messages expressed by the flags) it will allow. In fact, the Christian flag was the first flag it rejected, and the town admitted it did not want to convey a religious message.

“Here, Boston admits that it rejected Shurtleff’s request simply because the Christian flag he asked to be hoisted‘ promotes a particular religion, ’Breyer wrote. “Under our examples, and because of the government speech we hold here, that denial is biased on the basis of religious view and violates the Free Speech Clause.”

NFIB v. OSHA -OSHA Vaccine Mandate-On January 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 opinion, issued an order to “keep” (i.e., prevent) the OSHA COVID-19 vaccine order from being issued. -effect. The mandate, which applies to private employers with at least 100 employees – covering an estimated 84 million American workers – requires any proof of vaccination or weekly COVID testing and wearing mascara.

The majority ruled that the OSHA mandate, called the “Emergency Temporary Standard” or ETS, exceeded the amount of OSHA authority it gave to Congress.

“The Secretary has ordered 84 million Americans to get a COVID-19 vaccine or go through a weekly medical test at their own expense,” reads the court’s unsigned opinion. “It’s not ‘everyday use of federal power.’ … Rather, it is a serious violation of the lives — and health — of many employees. ”

Following the Supreme Court decision, OSHA announced that the order was temporarily revoked. It did not change or renew his efforts to issue another mandate.

303 Creative LLC Elenis -The U.S. Supreme Court has announced that in its next term beginning in October, it will hear a religious freedom/free speech case from Colorado involving a Denver-area graphic designer and website business owner at the wedding of Lorie Smith, a Christian.

Lorie wants to limit her clients to same -sex couples because of her Christian beliefs about marriage, but is vulnerable to potential legal cases of discrimination against same -sex couples under same -sex law. state used to persecute baker Jack Phillips before (and after) his 2018 Supreme Court Victory.

Lorie challenged Colorado’s anti -discrimination law that violated her First Amendment freedoms but lost in two lower federal courts. The fact that the high court agreed to hear his case is encouraging, showing that at least four magistrates already suspect that the lower courts have wrongly ruled the case. And the current form of the Supreme Court strongly favors religious freedom.

All of this is good news for all, but Christians especially need encouragement. I hope you will join me in thanking the Lord for these consequences – and continue to pray for all those affected by these decisions.

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