Reviews | Alito’s call to arms to guarantee religious freedom

Even aside from his swipe at his fellow judges who did not sign up for his crusade, to call this kind of talk simplistic is far too generous. Judges and jurists have struggled for decades to identify the right balance for religion within a pluralistic society, an effort Judge Alito has reduced to an either/or cartoon. Even if I was willing to give him some time to talk freely with friends (I don’t know if he was aware that Our Lady would be posting the video), I would still find the narrowness of his vision deeply troubling. . He offered no recognition, none, of the evil that can occur when religion is elevated above all other claims to recognition and respect.

For example, following its opinion in the Case Lobby Hobby 2014, tens of thousands of women have never received the contraceptive coverage they are entitled to under the Affordable Care Act because they work for employers who oppose particular forms of birth control. His notice in 2020 extending the so-called ministerial The exception to cover non-ministerial employees of religious organizations deprived such employees of the protection of federal laws that prohibit discrimination in employment. And, of course, the very opinion of which he boasted to her audience in Rome, an opinion which, as I recently explained, was based on religious doctrine rather than constitutional law, disregarded its devastating impact on women.

In speech In addition to opinions, Judge Alito warned of growing hostility to religion, and he did the same in Rome, denouncing what he called hostility to “at least the traditional religious beliefs that are contrary to the new moral code which is ascending in certain sectors”. .” It was the Alito of his dissenting opinion of the Oberfell v. Hodges Decision, which recognized a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. He then predicted that “those who cling to old beliefs may whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat these opinions in public, they risk being labeled as fanatics and treated as such”.

In Rome, more clearly than in the past, Judge Alito provided his own definition of religious liberty, a broad definition that reflected the court’s decision in this summer’s prayer coach case. In this case, the Bremerton, Wash., school district had offered the coach another place where he could pray after games. But the coach insisted he felt religiously obligated to pray in public in full view of the spectators. The court, which in the past has been particularly stingy with regard to the freedom of expression of civil servants, endorsed this expression of militant Christianity.

In his speech from Rome, Justice Alito did not explicitly refer to this case, but his definition of religious liberty underscored and explained the court’s remarkable departure. Religious freedom must mean more than just “freedom of worship,” he said. “Freedom of worship means the freedom to do those things that you love to do in the privacy of your home, or in your church or your synagogue or your mosque or your temple. But when you go out into the public square, in the light of day, you better behave like a good secular citizen. And he added: “That’s the problem we face.”

Comments are closed.