Scalia poo-poos seperation of church and state

By YeOldeScribe ~ October 4th, 2014 @ 5:59 pm

Supreme court justices often make the news for cases that they rule on. It seems like every year, there’s at least one high profile case that the court has to rule on. This year was no exception (See: Hobby Lobby). But this week, a supreme court justice made news for a different reason.

Justice Antonin Scalia spoke to students at Colorado Christian University, and had the following to say:

“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… 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. That’s just a lie.”

Scalia is a part of the super-conservative sect which carries copies of the Constitution in their back pocket, or wherever a pocket is in a justice’s robes. So let’s take a look at the first amendment to that Constitution:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

People often quote this amendment as the one which grants freedom of religion. That’s very true, but it also does one other thing: it provides freedom from religion. That seems to fly directly in the face of Scalia’s comment about how the separation of church and state means the government can’t favor religion over nonreligon is a lie.

But don’t take my word for it. The father of our Constitution, Thomas Jefferson has this to say about what the First Amendment means:

“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”

So we’ll call B.S. on Justice Scalia’s statement. It doesn’t match our interpretation of the constitution, it doesn’t match Jefferson’s interpretation, and it certainly doesn’t match the general public’s interpretation either.

On that note, we’ll leave you with this gem from The Capitol Steps:

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Scalia? by Capitol Steps on Grooveshark

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