RIP Religious Liberty: 1789 - 2020

Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:
This Court’s decisions...confirm that it is impermissible for the government to contradict a church’s determination of who can act as its ministers.
SCOTUS has ruled that teachers who teach at religious schools are clergy because they are promoting religion, and that the state is barred from protecting such teachers from discrimination which would otherwise be illegal under laws such as the Civil Rights Act. Alternately, this SCOTUS also holds - in this very session - that for the purposes of receiving public funds, religious schools are not promoting religion. Expect a broad realignment of forces hostile to civil rights with forces hostile to religious liberty, as the Roberts Court has now ensured that religious organizations are the last best hope for racists and theocrats.

The Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania:
Concerns that the exemptions thwart Congress’ intent by making it significantly harder for interested women to obtain seamless access to contraception without cost-sharing cannot justify supplanting the [ ACA's ] plain meaning [ requiring exemptions for religious objections ]. Even if such concerns are legitimate, they are more properly directed at the regulatory mechanism that Congress put in place.
The ACA, in part because of decisions like Hobby Lobby and Burwell, provides religious groups the special privilege of exempting them from civil law applying to everyone else because those groups object to how their employees might use their employment benefits. The SCOTUS has ruled that the plain text requiring employers to provide contraception services to employees cannot be enforced because of the plain language of the ACA exempting religous orgs from those requirements. So far these cases have all focused on state mandated health services that Catholics object to, but the logic of these decisions will also apply to religious groups demanding the right to control how employees spend their wages on products and services that are not mandated by the state. When a religious school refuses a pay rise or deducts pay from a teacher because that teacher donated to an organization which defends homosexuals, or bought a Bad Religion record, or perhaps donated to a political candidate the school opposes, will the SCOTUS rule that the teacher is promoting religion, and hence a minister, and hence the state has no right to protect her from such takings of her income?

I have until today managed to convince myself there is still a fight to be had to defend the First Amendment and religouis liberty against the unholy alliance of the fascist right with the Capitalist Christ. I am no longer able to convince myself of that. The religious protections of the First Amendment have been broached; the Establishment clause is now being used to exempt religious orgs from civil law and to force taxpayers to pay for the support of clergy. Christianity is the overwhelming beneficiary of public gifts of money and legal privilege, and is the state religon in fact if not in title.

Religious liberty: may it not rest in peace.

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