As we noted yesterday, prominent evangelical leader Franklin Graham took to Facebook this week to warn that Christians are “under attack” in the United States – a state of affairs that may only grow worse with Joe Biden in the White House.
Now Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is sounding a very similar tone, telling gathered attendees at the Federalist Society that freedom of religion – a bedrock foundation of this country since the first Pilgrims arrived – is in danger of being thrown overboard in the name of social justice concerns and for the sake of government overreach.
“Tolerance for opposing views is now in short supply,” Alito said. “In certain quarters religious liberty has fast become a disfavored right. For many today, religious liberty is not a cherished freedom. It’s often just an excuse for bigotry and it can’t be tolerated even when there’s no evidence that anybody has been harmed.”
To this latter point, he cited recent Supreme Court cases. In one, the Roman Catholic Little Sisters of the Poor were sued by government officials insisting that they provide birth control coverage to employees. In another a Colorado baker was sued for refusing to produce a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony. In the first case, there were actually no employees who asked the Little Sisters for birth control coverage. In the second, the gay couple at the center of the lawsuit immediately found a wedding cake from another vendor.
In other words, these are cases meant to enforce a doctrine – not to actually defend a harmed victim.
“The question we face is whether our society will be inclusive enough to tolerate people with unpopular religious beliefs,” Alito said. “Religious liberty is in danger of becoming a second-class right.”
The conservative jurist noted that free speech, which goes hand in hand with religious freedom, is also being endangered under the same ideology of intolerance.
“You can’t say that marriage is a union between one man and one woman,” Alito said. “Until very recently that’s what the vast majority of Americans thought. Now it’s considered bigotry.”
There was once a time when liberals held the First Amendment above all others, and they would do anything to defend it. Now, the decidedly illiberal left thinks that “hate speech” (defined however they want to define it on any given day) should be exempted from protection, and they argue that people with opposing viewpoints should be barred from the public square – meaning, these days, major social media platforms.
Only when both the courts and the American people push back courageously against these mob-like zealots will we once again enjoy the full freedoms we are guaranteed under the Constitution. If not, we’ll stand by and watch as those freedoms slowly deteriorate and disintegrate, one by one.