By now you’ve heard about the Supreme Court’s latest betrayal of Christian values.
In a stunning 6-3 decision, the court ruled that Christians, even churches, can be forced to hire homosexual/transgender employees.
But many missed another stunningly anti-Christian decision by the court just a few weeks earlier.
When a California church appealed to the Supreme Court for the right to reopen, conservatives had high hopes that the case would solidify religious rights across the country.
The church—South Bay United Pentecostal in Chula Vista, CA—simply requested an exemption from state restrictions on attendance, arguing that churches should not be held to the same guidelines as businesses.
Restricting church congregations and preventing religious services borders on anti-Christian sentiment, warned the church’s legal counsel.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a national tragedy, but it would be equally tragic if the federal judiciary allowed the ‘fog of war’ to act as an excuse for violating fundamental constitutional rights,” the church’s lawyers wrote in their Supreme Court brief.
The church’s counsel appealed to the conservative justices on the court, asking them to protect religious freedom in these perilous times.
But Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who was expected to lead the court to a favorable decision, revealed his leftist political leanings by ruling against South Bay United Pentecostal.
In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that religious freedom should be sidelined.
“Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the free exercise clause of the First Amendment,” wrote Chief Justice Roberts, disregarding the church’s appeal.
“Similar or more severe restrictions apply to comparable secular gatherings, including lectures, concerts, movie showings, spectator sports and theatrical performance, where large groups of people gather in close proximity for extended periods of time.”
“And the order exempts or treats more leniently only dissimilar activities, such as operating grocery stores, banks, and laundromats, in which people neither congregate in large groups nor remain in close proximity for extended periods.”
Justice Roberts’ ruling failed to note that churches provide a different kind of “essential” service than “comparable secular gatherings.”
But the four truly conservative justices on the court recognized this important distinction in their dissenting opinions.
“The church and its congregants simply want to be treated equally to comparable secular businesses,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote.
“California already trusts its residents and any number of businesses to adhere to proper social distancing and hygiene practices.”
Kavanaugh stressed the need to protect religious freedom during this time of uncertainty.
“The state cannot assume the worst when people go to worship but assume the best when people go to work or go about the rest of their daily lives in permitted social settings.”
Judge Daniel P. Collins, a United States Circuit Judge from Arizona, agreed with Kavanaugh, writing that California and the Supreme Court had failed “to honor [their] constitutional duty to accommodate a critical element of the free exercise of religion—public worship.”
“I do not doubt the importance of the public health objectives that the state puts forth,” Collins continued, “but the state can accomplish those objectives without resorting to its current inflexible and overbroad ban on religious services.”
In their majority opinion, Roberts and the Supreme Court’s four liberal justices argued that freedom must take a backseat until the pandemic is under control.
“We’re dealing here with a highly contagious and often fatal disease for which there presently is no known cure,” Roberts wrote.
“In the words of Justice Robert Jackson, if a ‘court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.’”
But if the Bill of Rights isn’t protected right now, it may be replaced with progressively more restrictive laws regarding religious practice.
“Churches are one whim away from being once again subjected to the restrictions they challenge in this case and which the governor [and the Supreme Court] obviously still [favor],” the church’s counsel warned.
In light of Chief Justice Roberts’ ruling, President Trump has discussed the appointment of more conservative justices to the Supreme Court.
Please pray for the appointment of Supreme Court justices who will uphold religious freedom and honor our First Amendment freedoms to worship!