Connect with us

Faith

A Deeper Look at the Recent Religious Freedom Cases Brought Before the Supreme Court

Were They True Victories?

Published

on

On the surface, it appeared this past week’s SCOTUS ruling on florist Barronelle Stutzman’s refusal to provide floral arrangements for a gay “wedding” was a victory for religious freedom.

But it, like the Masterpiece Cake Shop decision from earlier this month, has its nuances, and may not be the slam dunk for Constitutional religious freedom that Christian small business owners in this nation sorely need after the historic Obergefell v. Hodges case that established same-sex marriage as legal across the land.

Author and commentator Dr. Michael Brown explained these nuances over at Charisma News this week, urging the church to pray that we can eventually get the day in court that we’ve been waiting for.

First, he says, it is important to note that the Court did not rule in favor of Stutzman, but rather, sent her case back to the Washington court that had originally ruled unanimously against her.

“The Supreme Court could have agreed to hear Stutzman’s case, but it chose not to at this point,” he says. But this isn’t all bad news, as “It could also have refused to hear the case entirely, which would have been a devastating defeat for this Christian grandmother. Thankfully, that did not happen.”

“But what the court did decide is significant. The court sent the case back to Washington, advising the justices there to reconsider their initial decision, which found Stutzman in violation of the state’s anti-discrimination laws, in light of the Supreme Court’s own decision in Masterpiece Cakes,” he explains.

In the Masterpiece Cake decision, the Court did not actually rule in favor of baker Jack Phillips because of his Constitutional right to refuse to lend his services to a ceremony that violated his deeply held faith, but that the Colorado Human Rights Commission had shown distinct hostility towards said faith.

This was a First Amendment issue, the court said, because he was deprived of a trial that would show no bias towards his faith–the issue as to whether or not a small business owner has a First Amendment right to refuse to provide services to a same-sex wedding, Justice Kennedy, who wrote the decision, said, would have to wait for another day.

So this is the context in which SCOTUS said the Washington Supreme Court would have to reconsider Stutzman’s case. While SCOTUS overturned the Colorado Human Rights Commission’s ruling on Phillip’s case, they instead sent Stutzman’s case back to the lower court, so this is an important distinction to make when considering the outcome, as Brown clarifies:

Can we expect them to change their ruling in light of the Supreme Court’s order? It would be foolish to get too optimistic, given their previous 9-0 decision. Yet it’s clear that the case was returned to them for a reason. And should they rule the same way again, the case will surely be appealed back to the Supreme Court.

Perhaps, if that scenario unfolds, the court will issue a more definitive defense of our First Amendment rights.

But let’s pray even now for justice to prevail. The State of Washington has literally sought to bankrupt this Christian grandmother. Specifically, “Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington … filed discrimination lawsuits” against Stutzman. “In addition to targeting her business, Arlene’s Flowers, Inc., they sued Stutzman personally, ensuring that any assets she might own beyond the flower shop could be taken from her to pay their own legal fees if she lost.”

Are you going to tell me there is no animus against religion in these outrageous actions? It’s high time these hostile sentiments get exposed.

The battle for religious freedom following Oberfield v. Hodges is far from over–but between these recent rulings and the hope of yet another originalist appointed to the court, there’s good reason to hope.

Faith

Pelosi is Barred from Communion by Archbishop of San Fran

WHOA!

Published

on

Of all of the personal, bitter, hot topics that our nation is facing, perhaps none is quite as raw as abortion.

With the Supreme Court seemingly poised to overturn Roe v. Wade sometimes in the not-so-distant future, the issue is once again at the forefront of the American political theater, and the fervor is increasing by the minute.

Now, in a wild escalation of the national narrative, church is giving state a little bit of blowback.

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone announced Friday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is barred from receiving Holy Communion due to her pro-abortion stance — marking an escalation in a decades-long tension between the Roman Catholic Church and liberal Democratic politicians on abortion.

Cordileone has written to the California Democrat, informing her that she should not present herself for Holy Communion at Mass, and that priests will not distribute communion to her if she does present herself.

He did not hold back.

“A Catholic legislator who supports procured abortion, after knowing the teaching of the Church, commits a manifestly grave sin which is a cause of most serious scandal to others. Therefore, universal Church law provides that such persons ‘are not to be admitted to Holy Communion,'” he says in the letter.

And also:

Cordileone says in his letter that he wrote to her on April 7, informing her that “should you not publicly repudiate your advocacy for abortion ‘rights’ or else refrain from referring to your Catholic faith in public and receiving Holy Communion, I would have no choice but to make a declaration, in keeping with canon 915, that you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” He says that since that time, she has not done so.

“Therefore, in light of my responsibility as the Archbishop of San Francisco to be ‘concerned for all the Christian faithful entrusted to [my] care” (Code of Canon Law, can. 383, §1), by means of this communication I am hereby notifying you that you are not to present yourself for Holy Communion and, should you do so, you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion, until such time as you publically repudiate your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of Penance.” he said.

And with Catholics making up a rather large voting bloc in America, (and California, too), Nancy Pelosi may have to get to praying.

Of all of the personal, bitter, hot topics that our nation is facing, perhaps none is quite as raw as abortion. With the Supreme Court seemingly poised to overturn Roe v. Wade sometimes in the not-so-distant future, the issue is once again at the forefront of the American political theater, and the fervor is increasing by the minute. Now, in a wild escalation of the national narrative, church is giving state a little bit of blowback. San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone announced Friday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is barred from receiving Holy Communion due to her pro-abortion stance — marking an escalation in a decades-long tension between the Roman Catholic Church and liberal Democratic politicians on abortion. Cordileone has written to the California Democrat, informing her that she should not present herself for Holy Communion at Mass, and that priests will not distribute communion to her if she does present herself. He did not hold back. “A Catholic legislator who supports procured abortion, after knowing the teaching of the Church, commits a manifestly grave sin which is a cause of most serious scandal to others. Therefore, universal Church law provides that such persons ‘are not to be admitted to Holy Communion,'” he says in the letter. And also: Cordileone says in his letter that he wrote to her on April 7, informing her that “should you not publicly repudiate your advocacy for abortion ‘rights’ or else refrain from referring to your Catholic faith in public and receiving Holy Communion, I would have no choice but to make a declaration, in keeping with canon 915, that you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” He says that since that time, she has not done so. “Therefore, in light of my responsibility as the Archbishop of San Francisco to be ‘concerned for all…

Continue Reading

Faith

SCOTUS Rules Against Boston After City Refused to Fly Christian Flag

The decision was seen as a win for Christians everywhere.

Published

on

In the United States, we are guaranteed the freedom to practice whichever religion we should choose, and have been since the inception of this great nation.

What we are not guaranteed, however, is freedom from religion.  We are allowed to believe what we wish, but we must also understand that this means we may bear witness to the beliefs of others who are exercising their rights.  Maybe we’ll see a yarmulke at the grocery store, or get stuck in traffic as a baptist megachurch lets out on Sunday.

It also means that all religions must be treated equally – something that the City of Boston is learning the hard way this week.

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a program of the city of Boston that allows outside groups to fly flags at city hall must permit the flying of flag with a cross that a camp referred to as a “Christian flag.”

The question before the court was whether flying the flag as part of a government program was considered government speech if the flag belonged to a private organization, in this case, Camp Constitution. The Supreme Court ruled that it is not.

The ruling left no room for interpretation.

“We conclude that, on balance, Boston did not make the raising and flying of private groups’ flags a form of government speech,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the court’s opinion, stating that as a result the city improperly violated Camp Constitution’s free speech rights.

And that’s not all:

The court’s opinion pointed to how Boston said their goal is “to accommodate all applicants” looking to hold events in the city’s “public forums,” including City Hall Plaza, and the flag flying application only asked for contact information and a short description of the event being requested.

Breyer noted that the city employee who fields flag applications testified that before Camp Constitution’s application, he had never even asked to see a flag before granting approval or even before they were raised.

“The city’s practice was to approve flag raisings, without exception,,” Breyer wrote.

The news comes as the mainstream media continues to equate the religious right with the lesser opinions they hold of conservatives in general, thereby creating a soft vilification of Christianity in the process.

In the United States, we are guaranteed the freedom to practice whichever religion we should choose, and have been since the inception of this great nation. What we are not guaranteed, however, is freedom from religion.  We are allowed to believe what we wish, but we must also understand that this means we may bear witness to the beliefs of others who are exercising their rights.  Maybe we’ll see a yarmulke at the grocery store, or get stuck in traffic as a baptist megachurch lets out on Sunday. It also means that all religions must be treated equally – something that the City of Boston is learning the hard way this week. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a program of the city of Boston that allows outside groups to fly flags at city hall must permit the flying of flag with a cross that a camp referred to as a “Christian flag.” The question before the court was whether flying the flag as part of a government program was considered government speech if the flag belonged to a private organization, in this case, Camp Constitution. The Supreme Court ruled that it is not. The ruling left no room for interpretation. “We conclude that, on balance, Boston did not make the raising and flying of private groups’ flags a form of government speech,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the court’s opinion, stating that as a result the city improperly violated Camp Constitution’s free speech rights. And that’s not all: The court’s opinion pointed to how Boston said their goal is “to accommodate all applicants” looking to hold events in the city’s “public forums,” including City Hall Plaza, and the flag flying application only asked for contact information and a short description of the event being requested. Breyer noted that the city employee who…

Continue Reading

Latest Articles

Best of the Week