Diary

Justice Scalia , God, and the constitution.

A few weeks ago I wrote a Diary titled: “It’s time we reintroduced “Merry Christmasand “God” back into our public discourse and kicked the Supreme Court out.” 

If you haven’t read it, I hope this diary prompts you to take a look.

To the point: on Saturday January 2, 2016, Supreme Court Justice,  Antonin Scalia, while speaking at a Catholic high School in New Orleans,  said that those who are of the opinion that any mention of God in a public forum, even in a non-denominational sense, somehow offends the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, are wrong.

“To tell you the truth” he said, “there is no place for that in our constitutional tradition. Where did that come from?” he asked.

He continued: “I think one of the reasons God has been good to us is that we have done him honor. Unlike the other countries of the world that do not even invoke His name we do Him honor. In presidential addresses, in Thanksgiving proclamations and in many other ways.”

For those interested in reading a more detailed discussion on this subject I would suggest you read Justice Scalia’s Opinion in the case of Capitol Square Review and Advisory Bd. v. Pinette, 515 U.S. 753 (1995) where he writes: “Religious expression cannot violate the Establishment Clause where it (1) is purely private and (2) occurs in a traditional or designated public forum, publicly announced and open to all on equal terms. Those conditions are satisfied here, and therefore the State may not bar respondents’ cross from Capitol Square.”

This is exactly the point I raised in my earlier Diary, a view I am certain other members of the Supreme Court share — and might, I suggest, even be held by a majority of its members.

Much of the case law we see today, however, that gives so-called civil liberty types an opening to sue every time God is mentioned in a public arena comes from misguided court decisions structured on arcane nuances and a perverse academic fiddling with words, many of which suggesting that the only time Christmas displays are permitted is if they include in the display other non-Christian themes or messages, and God-forbid from even mentioning the name or existence God –any god. Really?

This kind of logic, to me, suggests that the state is meddling — no, not meddling — dictating the content of speech of private groups who simply seek permission to erect a display on government property or speak the name of God to celebrate a religious occasion or kick off a football game. It is the people’s government, after all. And most, if not all government facilities are, correct me if I am wrong, places of public accommodation where speech occurs regularly. It is in those forums that I  address my remarks.

By allowing displays on public property, the government is not endorsing, but merely allowing speech to occur in a place of public accommodation. Period! But I would go one step further, taking issue with Justice Scalia: It doesn’t matter if the government endorses non-sectarian mention of a God or a Supreme Being, because that is the very essence of the our founding. Our founding fathers endorsed His name; we can, too. That is history. And for the most part, the Supreme Court has it all wrong. They equate endorsing a particularized religious belief, as some nations do with Islam or as the Church of England, or maybe even India does, with simply standing aside and allowing speech to occur in a public forum, or by a public individual.

But to say, things like, “We ask God for his blessing.”, or “May God be with us”, or “We thank God for this beautiful day”, or “May God protect our players from harm”,” is about as broad as you can get. Moreover, it is a mere reflection — a continuation, you might say, of what our founders said when establishing our nation.  History. Our history. It’s a message worth repeating.

To wit: Every Supreme Court decision that mandates or says otherwise shoulder be overruled and replaced (much like Obamacare). It’s a widely and wrongly held belief among politicians and judges that God has no place in public discussion. However, this is a view that is not supported by a vast majority of the American public. Incredibly, even the American Jewish Committee in one of its briefs supporting removal of a Crèche wrote:  ”There is simply no religious need for the display of sacred symbols of any faith in or at government buildings.” This is incredulous! Has the American Jewish Committee ever read any of the speeches given by our founders? Have they not perused our national treasure of written words?

These decision never had merit and will never have merit in our system of government which, as I pointed out in my earlier Diary, had at its very core the belief as Thomas Jefferson wrote that: “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” and that as justification for their rebellious actions the signers of the Declaration appealed to “the Supreme Judge of the World,”  acting “with a firm Reliance on the protection of divine Providence”

Does this sound to you like a government that believed God had no place in its very national fabric? Look, let’s be honest, it really  doesn’t matter whether atheists or agnostics, or mama’s little darling objects to hearing the invocation of God at public events, because what they are really objecting to is not only (a) subversive of our very republic, but (b) inconsistent with our national Charter: The Declaration of Independence.

Objectors are nothing more than self-centered deniers of a national heritage that contradicts their insistence that God has and had no place in our founding. He does!  They don’t. They may not like it, but that is what our historical documents tell us about how we came about and who we are. What they can’t and shouldn’t ne allowed to do any longer is dictate a kind of narcissistic secularism that writes out of our national character what our founders wrote into it: God!

I have written this before and I will restate it here: the Supreme Court can no more tell us that God has no place in our public dialogue than they can tell us that Tuesday will henceforth be called Mushday. And if the Supreme Court can’t get it straight, then the congress of the United States and the president, acting together, for what it’s worth, can and should, by stating that any Supreme Court decision that says otherwise will not be enforced by the two branches. But the better route would be for the Supreme Court to get it right: once and for all.