Saturday, January 09, 2016

Scalia: Government religious neutrality not Constitutional

U. S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia voices an obvious truth one could discover by simply reading the language of the First Amendment. From the Associated Press:
METAIRIE, La. (AP) -- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Saturday the idea of religious neutrality is not grounded in the country's constitutional traditions and that God has been good to the U.S. exactly because Americans honor him. 
Scalia was speaking at a Catholic high school in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie, Louisiana. Scalia, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 is the court's longest serving justice. He has consistently been one of the court's ... more conservative members 
He told the audience at Archbishop Rummel High School that there is "no place" in the country's constitutional traditions for the idea that the state must be neutral between religion and its absence. 
"To tell you the truth there is no place for that in our constitutional tradition. Where did that come from?" he said. "To be sure, you can't favor one denomination over another but can't favor religion over non-religion?" 
He also said there is "nothing wrong" with the idea of presidents and others invoking God in speeches. He said God has been good to America because Americans have honored him.
Read more here.

In response, internet atheist P. Z. Myers, who moonlights as an amateur Constitutional scholar, says:
That’s right. I thought it was clear: the government doesn’t get to interfere in private matters of conscience. It’s a concept that really isn’t that hard to understand. There should be no federal bias in favor of Baptists over Catholics, or Christians over Muslims, or religious vs. non-religious — it’s just not their job. It’s worrisome that a Supreme Court justice thinks it is their job.
Sure. It's right there in the Constitution. It's in the subsection on Baptists, Catholics and Muslims. Let's see, let me find it ... Uh, I could have swore ... Hmmm.

We'll get right back to you on that.

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