When U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito spoke to the National Lawyers Convention of the Federalist Society in early November, no one would have predicted that his address would be a Christmas gift to America.
Alito’s basic message was a warning that the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty — our “First Freedom” —is being jeopardized as never before by politicians using Covid-19 as an excuse to violate the Constitution.
Three cheers for the American Humanist Association (AHA), which has filed a brief in the Supreme Court case of Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski, that will be argue soon before the nation’s highest tribunal.
Contrary to the appearance of the case title, it’s about the right of individual students — in this case, Chike Uzuegbunam, a now-former Georgia Gwinnett College student — to share their religious faith on campus.
Uzuegbunam, who is represented in the litigation by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), had twice attempted to distribute Christian witnessing materials outside of two tiny “free-speech zones” on the campus.
The ADF is also representing Joseph Bradford, another former student at the Georgia school who “self-censored” after seeing how Uzuegbunam was treated.
“People need to be given every chance to preserve their First Amendment rights. While the AHA and ADF may approach the Constitution from different angles, at the very least we agree that First Amendment litigation and the associated rights are essential to our democracy,” AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt said in a statement announcing the brief’s filing.
Grace Community Church in Los Angeles County is the latest Christian congregation to challenge California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ban on religious gatherings in 30 Golden State jurisdictions.
Grace is led by Pastor John MacArthur, one of the nation’s most influential evangelical Christian pastors and authors. His ministries encompass books, translations of the Bible, radio and digital programs seen around the world, missionary works and multiple other outlets.
In today’s hyper-charged environment, these type of statements are becoming more frequent. It’s understandable how one would react when hearing something like this. For me, a sense of indignation, fear, and anger are the emotions I typically feel.
Things get ugly when permission to speak depends upon whether the hearer agrees with what is said
A recent keynote speaker at the Harvard University Art & Science Faculty Conference on Diversity told his Twitter followers in 2015 that people who base their spiritual beliefs on the Hebrew scriptures should be “locked up.”
Author and speaker Tim Wise went on in that tweet, saying “people basing their beliefs on the fable of Noah and the Ark, or their interpretation of Sodom and Gomorrah … rather than science or logic … If you are basing your morality on a fairy tale written thousands of years ago, you deserve to be locked up … detained for your utter inability to deal with reality … NO, we are not obligated to indulge your irrationality in the name of your religious freedom …”
Wise undoubtedly thinks everybody else — including those who accept the Hebrew scriptures and all other “fairy tales” — absolutely are obligated to respect his spiritual beliefs or lack thereof.
Pastor Wang Yi of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China, is in jail, accused by the Communist government in Beijing of “inciting subversion of state power.”
The pastor absolutely denies the charges, which are based on the fact he preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ, including His claim to be “the King of Kings” and His injunction to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and the things that are God’s to God.”