Last Wednesday WashingtonTimes.com reported on Justice Scalia’s recent speaking engagement at Colorado Christian University. And boy did he have a lot to say. From the Washington Times:
“I think the main fight is to dissuade Americans from what the secularists are trying to persuade them to be true: that the separation of church and state means that the government cannot favor religion over nonreligion,” Justice Scalia said.
“That’s a possible way to run a political system. The Europeans run it that way,” Justice Scalia said. “And if the American people want to do it, I suppose they can enact that by statute. But to say that’s what the Constitution requires is utterly absurd.”
What does that mean? How does one honor separation of church and state AND allow the state to favor religion over non-religion?
The secularlists? The Europeans run it that way? Allow me to paraphrase for the good Justice: “If those euro-loving heathens want to be like Europe then I suppose they can go ahead, but I’m a Constitution-loving’ ‘Murican, dadgum it!
“Our [the court‘s] latest take on the subject, which is quite different from previous takes, is that the state must be neutral, not only between religions, but between religion and nonreligion,” Justice Scalia said. “That’s just a lie. Where do you get the notion that this is all unconstitutional? You can only believe that if you believe in a morphing Constitution.”
In the first part of his sentence he seems to be saying that the recent, ahem, religion-neutral positions of the court (BAHAHAHAHA!) are a recent development. (fear, fear, fear: From whence this sudden secularism???). As for the rest of it, I’m betting that Justice Scalia’s big complaint with us secularists is that we tend to get all wound up about that pesky First Amendment prohibition against the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion. He seems to be arguing that the founding fathers obviously didn’t intend to imply that our government shouldn’t favor any single religion over any other religion, or over no religion. I mean, where would we get that wacky idea?
I don’t believe in a morphing Constitution, but the interpretations of the document and the ways in which those interpretations are applied are changing. Constantly. Since Day 1. And I know baby, that’s tough for a conservative. But luckily, we have a Supreme Court which is tasked with interpreting the Constitution in a way that honors the original intent and keeps on top of our ever-evolving state. Right? Right?
In a different part of his speech, Justice Scalia “jokes” about how stress-free his job is because he doesn’t have to weigh a lot of massive ethical questions – you know, like he’d have to do if he treated the Constitution as a “malleable” document. It’s all right there in the Constitution – no need to question it. Just ask Justice Scalia what it means and he’ll tell you!! See that part in there where it mentions birth control and Hobby Lobby? Justice Scalia does. He’s seeing the Constitution like some religious people see the messages in their holy books: clear as a bell and super easy to implement – as long as you interpret it in the same way they do.
DUDE! YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!
It’s not unusual for SCOTUS court decisions be split 4-5 or 5-4. Do you know why that is? It’s because these cases are multifaceted, complex and often present big questions that have huge moral and ethical implications. The answers are rarely clear-cut. If these decisions were simple, they wouldn’t advance all the way up to the Supreme Court of the United States. But it’s all so easy in Justice Scalia’s mind, and that should make you worry.
“We do him [God] honor in our pledge of allegiance, in all our public ceremonies,” Justice Scalia said. “There’s nothing wrong with that. It is in the best of American traditions, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. I think we have to fight that tendency of the secularists to impose it on all of us through the Constitution.”
Who is imposing what exactly? Justice Scalia may be honoring god with the pledge of allegiance; I’m honoring my country and that’s all that is it; God doesn’t play into my recitation. You want to honor our country, you say the pledge of allegiance. You want to honor your god, you go on and do that in whatever way sits right with you. But don’t tell ME that I have to include your god into the way I honor our country. God and our country are intertwined – of that there is no doubt. But that doesn’t give our government free reign to start including (your) god in the daily proceedings.
And let’s end with a little fear-mongering by the good Justice:
[Justice Scalia] noted that references to God by government officials are already forbidden in many European countries, thanks to a widespread policy of secularism.
Bad form, sir.
I mean, really: How are we supposed to expect fair rulings that are rooted in logic and free from bias, favor and prejudice when this is what we have to work with?