Wednesday, July 20, 2005

John Roberts: Champion of Majoritarian Religious Privilege

The President has nominated John Roberts to serve on the Supreme Court.

Most of the media attention is directed toward his opinion on the Roe v. Wade decision. My own concerns are with his opinions in regard to the First Amendment of the Constitution.

If the report from People for the American Way is reliable, then Roberts is clearly an advocate for the government to extend special privileges and endorsements of majoritarian religious expression.
Roberts was co-author of a brief in the landmark Lee v. Weisman decision that argued in favor of prayers at public high school graduations. He argued that graduates opposed to religious exercises were free to voluntarily skip participating in their graduation exercises. SCOTUS ruled against Roberts opinion in that decision.

Roberts has also argued that the "Lemon test" should be jettisoned. The "Lemon test" is the standard that SCOTUS set forth in the landmark "Lemon v. Kurtzman" decision that gave guidance on how government legislation on religion could be considered constitutional. The "Lemon test" says the government's action must have 1) a legitimate secular purpose, 2) it must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion, and 3) it must not result in an "excessive entanglement" of government and religion.

In my opinion, Roberts opinions demonstrate extreme insensitivity toward the rights of religious minorities. When the hubris that demands special privilege is coupled with the obsequity that grants it, it inevitably creates enough outrage at such injustice that the privileged become despised and the privileges are rejected.Those who think justices like Roberts will be good for the church are mistaken. To paraphrase the words of Jesus, "Those who wish to save their way of life shall lose it, but whoever loses his way of life for Christ's sake shall find it." (Matthew 16:25)

This entry is cross-posted from the Mainstream Baptist blog.


Blogger Bruce Wilson said...

This passage in the report linked to stood out for me :

"Also as Deputy Solicitor General, Roberts co-authored an amicus curiae brief in the Supreme Court on behalf of the government in support of the radical anti-choice group Operation Rescue and six individuals who had obstructed access to reproductive health care clinics. The government was not a party in the case and need not have filed a brief."

Robert's "It was just my job" excuse seems more than a bit disengenuous to me

6:04 PM  

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