Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia likes to brag that he knows what the Founding Fathers intended when they wrote the Constitution, but his latest comments about the separation of church and state proves he really doesn’t know anything at all.
During a speaking event in front of a crowd of 400 people at Colorado Christian University, the conservative judge made it clear how ignorant he is of what the Constitution says when he said that separation of church and state doesn’t prohibit government from treating non-believers as second class citizens and that government can uphold Christianity if it wants to do so.
I think the main fight is to dissuade Americans from what the secularists are trying to persuade them to be true: that the separation of church and state means that the government cannot favor religion over non-religion. That’s a possible way to run a political system. The Europeans run it that way, and if the American people want to do it, I suppose they can enact that by statute. But to say that’s what the Constitution requires is utterly absurd.
Scalia also claimed that the Constitution doesn’t say that the state has to remain neutral in religious matters, calling it a lie.
Our [the court‘s] latest take on the subject, which is quite different from previous takes, is that the state must be neutral, not only between religions, but between religion and non-religion. That’s just a lie. Where do you get the notion that this is all unconstitutional? You can only believe that if you believe in a morphing Constitution.
So according to Scalia, the Constitution doesn’t keep the government from placing one set of religious beliefs above another. Basically, Scalia just said it’s perfectly constitutional for the government to discriminate against and persecute non-believers or people who practice non-Christian religions.
Scalia even claimed that America has a “tradition” of honoring God.
We do Him [God] honor in our Pledge of Allegiance, in all our public ceremonies. There’s nothing wrong with that. It is in the best of American traditions, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. I think we have to fight that tendency of the secularists to impose it on all of us through the Constitution.
What is truly shocking here is how a Supreme Court Justice can be so wrong about the history of this country and the document he is supposed to be interpreting. Scalia often claims that he knows exactly what the Founding Fathers intended when they wrote the Constitution, but he’s either lying when he says that or he’s just ignorant. Because all we have to do is look at the words of the Founding Fathers themselves. The first four presidents of this nation, for instance, had plenty to say about what the Constitution says about religion and government. First off, let’s look at the Constitution itself. It’s a totally secular document that makes no mention of God, Jesus, Heaven, or Christianity. In fact, the text of the First Amendment plainly forbids government from respecting an establishment of religion.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…
In other words, the government cannot favor one religion over any other belief or lack thereof. The government must be neutral. The Founding Fathers felt this way as well. Just look at their own words.
“If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”
~Founding Father George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789
“We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition… In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States.”
~Founding Father George Washington, letter to the members of the New Church in Baltimore, January 27, 1793
“We should begin by setting conscience free. When all men of all religions shall enjoy equal liberty, property, and an equal chance for honors and power we may expect that improvements will be made in the human character and the state of society.”
~Founding Father John Adams, letter to Dr. Price, April 8, 1785
“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”
~Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802
“Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the “wall of separation between church and state,” therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society. We have solved … the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries.”
~Founding Father Thomas Jefferson: in a speech to the Virginia Baptists, 1808
“The civil government functions with complete success by the total separation of the Church from the State.”
~Founding Father James Madison, 1819, Writings, 8:432, quoted from Gene Garman, “Essays In Addition to America’s Real Religion”
“Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.”
~Founding Father James Madison; Monopolies, Perpetuities, Corporations, Ecclesiastical
And the above quotes are just the tip of the iceberg. You can find many more by clicking here.
James Madison is particularly important here because he is the Father of the Constitution. No one, especially Scalia, would know more about what the Constitution means than Madison. And Madison clearly states that there is TOTAL separation of church and state.
Furthermore, the “traditions” Scalia is talking about are modern inventions by conservatives in an effort to turn America into a Christian state, which again, is forbidden by the Constitution. According to the American Constitution Society,
The “American tradition” that Scalia refers to doesn’t have much of a history. “Under God” was slipped into the Pledge in 1954 as a slap at godless Communism. “In God We Trust” wasn’t codified for use on paper money until 1956…
Antonin Scalia is not fit to serve on the Supreme Court. He serves Christian extremists instead of the law and the American people. He should not only recuse himself from every single case involving religion, he should resign from the bench entirely. You cannot claim to understand what the framers of the Constitution intended and then rule in favor of destroying one of the clearest and most important pillars they put in place. Scalia thinks he’s right, but the Founding Fathers completely disagree.