Supreme justice: My warning for Christians is being ignored

(Photo by Marius Muresan on Unsplash)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito says his warning that came in the Obergefell same-sex “marriage” ruling several years ago about discriminating against Christians is being ignored in American society.

That was that people of faith soon would be labeled “bigots” and discriminated against simply because of their faith.

He said it happened in a Missouri case, and he said while he voted not to intervene because of state technicalities that would be involved, the problem is looming and needs to be addressed.

According to a report from Liberty Counsel, a top-flight legal team often contending in court for the constitutional rights of people of faith, the case was Missouri Department of Corrections v. Jean Finney, an employment discrimination complaint.

Finney self-identified as lesbian and complained she was fired for “presenting as masculine.”

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In the trial two potential jurors were dismissed “for having biblical views that ‘homosexual conduct is sinful,'” the report said.

Alito explained, “At the beginning of voir dire, Finney’s attorney asked all the jurors what he characterized as ‘a tricky question,’ namely, whether any of them ‘went to a conservative Christian church’ where ‘it was taught that people [who] are homosexua[l] shouldn’t have the same rights as everyone else’ because ‘what they did’ was ‘a sin.’

“The question was indeed ‘tricky’ because it conflated two separate issues: whether the prospective jurors believed that homosexual conduct is sinful and whether they believed that gays and lesbians should not enjoy the legal rights possessed by others,” he wrote.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito

Two potential jurors responded and a pastor’s wife stated that the Bible teaches homosexuality is a sin, but “So is gossiping, so is lying.”

The other said he believes homosexuality is a sin but “every one of us here sins. … It’s just part of our nature. And it’s something we struggle with, hopefully throughout our life.” Both said they could follow the law in the case.

But the judge approved the removal of the two from the jury pool because of their beliefs.

It was the Missouri Court of Appeals that affirmed that action partly “on the basis of their religious beliefs,” Alito charged.

That was what he had warned against in Obergefell, a court ruling that Chief Justice John Roberts described as having no relationship to the Constitution. The court, then dominated by leftists, created simply based on their own beliefs same-sex “marriage” for the nation, undoing the specific actions taken by voters in dozens of states.

Alito’s warning then was that based on that change, he expected that people of faith, those who follow the Bible’s religious teachings, soon would be treated as “bigots” and excluded because of their beliefs, a foreshadowing of exactly what the Missouri case did.

“When a court, a quintessential state actor, finds that a person is ineligible to serve on a jury because of his or her religious beliefs, that decision implicates fundamental rights. Under the Free Exercise Clause, state actions that ‘single out the religious for disfavored treatment’ must survive ‘the ‘most rigorous’ scrutiny.'”

Alito reasoned a court targeting a person with “traditional religious views” as “presumptively unfit” is wrong.

“[This] holding exemplifies the danger that I anticipated in Obergefell v. Hodges…namely, that Americans who do not hide their adherence to traditional religious beliefs about homosexual conduct will be ‘labeled as bigots and treated as such’ by the government. The opinion of the court in that case made it clear that the decision should not be used in that way, but I am afraid that this admonition is not being heeded by our society.”

Alito said, “I am concerned that the lower court’s reasoning may spread and may be a foretaste of things to come. The judiciary, no less than the other branches of State and Federal Government, must respect people’s fundamental rights, and among these are the right to the free exercise of religion and the right to the equal protection of the laws.”

Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver said, “Disqualifying a juror over religious belief is a serious threat to religious freedom. Just because jurors oppose murder does not disqualify them from serving on a murder trial. This case is not unlike Liberty Counsel’s Kim Davis case involving the issuance of marriage licenses. Religious freedom extends to more than just private thoughts.”

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