Religious Freedom Is Winning, But Religious Hostility Is on The Rise
Over the past few weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down three significant decisions involving the First Amendment freedom of religion.
In Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, the Court ruled that a discriminatory Montana rule prohibiting students from using tax-credit scholarships at religious schools violated the Free Exercise Clause of the U.S. Constitution. (5-4 decision; Roberts, joined by Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh)
In Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, the Court upheld the “ministerial exception,” preserving the staffing decisions and rights of religious institutions to “decide for themselves, free from state interference, matters of church government as well as those of faith and doctrine.” (7-2 decision; Alito, joined by Roberts, Thomas, Breyer, Kagan, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh)
And finally, in Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania, the Court determined that the Little Sisters of the Poor are exempt from the Obamacare contraceptive mandate so they can continue serving the poor and the elderly without violating their sincerely held religious beliefs. (7-2 decision; Thomas, joined by Roberts, Breyer, Alito, Kagan, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh)
What do these three recent cases tell us? – that while religious freedom is winning, religious hostility is on the rise.
Dr. Ryan T. Anderson, Senior Research Fellow at our national ally, The Heritage Foundation, pointed this out recently in response to a tweet touting 15 straight religious freedom victories at the U.S. Supreme Court this decade. Dr. Anderson replied, “The fact that there were 15 flagrant religious liberty violations that rose to the Supreme Court in a decade is a sign not of a winning streak at large, but new and heightened hostility.”
We agree with Dr. Anderson, noting that multiple defeats at the nation’s highest Court have not deterred anti-religious activists and politicians from continuing to target people of faith – whether they be single mothers (Espinoza), Catholic schools (Our Lady of Guadalupe School), or even nuns (Little Sisters of the Poor). In fact, following these recent losses, the hostility from the far-left immediately continued.
The ACLU quickly condemned the Court’s decision in Espinoza while praising the anti-Catholic “Blaine Amendment” in Montana’s constitution. Meanwhile, in response to Little Sisters of the Poor, former Vice-President Joe Biden announced his intentions to reinstate President Obama’s policy which would require the Little Sisters to provide access to birth control and abortifacients for employees.
It is also worth observing that two Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court dissented in all three cases – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor. So, while the First Amendment may have survived another term at the U.S. Supreme Court, the effort to defend our first freedom – the freedom of religion – is more critical than ever.
Together with our state and national allies, Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico® will continue to defend our constitutional rights so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can continue to be proclaimed and lived out in our homes, churches, schools, and places of employment. Our vision is a state and nation were religious freedom flourishes, and with your partnership and support, we will preserve that freedom for generations to come.
Financial Update: Given the unprecedented times in which we live, one of the encouraging stories has been the faithfulness of local Ministry Partners like you. Though COVID impacted our giving in the Spring, we wrapped up the month of June in a much better financial position than expected and, believe it or not, we are now on track to meet our target for the fiscal year ending September 30!
Entering the month of July, we had just $35,000 left to raise and thanks to your generosity, we have already raised $13,500 in the past three weeks. If you have not yet given this year, or if you would like to further help us reach our goal, I invite you to do so today by becoming a monthly Ministry Partner or by making a one-time gift of $100, $250, or $500.
Thank you for your prayers and support!
President and Executive Director