Friday, June 14, 2024

And Another Thing

     You may believe American are insufficiently Godly.  Or you may believe they are sufficiently Godly, or that they are far too much so.  It's a range of opinions that may be held by any resident of this country -- and not just held, but expressed.

     You might even be of the opinion that our governments -- Federal, state, local, whatever -- ought to be involved in that.  You can think it, you can say it, you can write to the newspaper about it.  It happens to be wrong; we've got a First Amendment that covers the precise issue and a pack of clamoring, competing religions, secular organizations, sects and denominations who want to make sure Uncle Sam doesn't back the other guy's horse.  Nevertheless, you can have your own opinion.

     If you happen to be a U. S. Supreme Court Justice, you get to have your own opinions, too -- but you're expected to be mindful that your every word potentially carries the weight and might of the Federal government behind it; you're expected to be circumspect; you're expected to have thought the whole thing through.

     So when I hear of a Justice being a-okay with the idea that "We've got to return the nation to a place of Godliness," I'm gobsmacked.  Our government is a secular affair, and they're not supposed to be putting a thumb on those scales.

     It's ugly when the Justices are found hobnobbing with wealthy pals who have axes to grind and. occasionally, cases that come before the Court; they can be dazzled.  The black-robed Nine are making about $300,000.00 a year,* which would delight me, but is modest by Washington-attorney standards or compared to a gazillionaire oligarch's lifestyle.  It's worse when they appear to be committed to ideologies they hold higher than the Constitution of the United States of America.

     I used to have faith that even when I disagreed with the ruling, the Justices would have carefully considered their positions, and would support them with honest reasoning based on foundational documents and sound jurisprudence.  I'm not so confident now.
* A little more for the Chief Justice and a little less for the others, and it looks like they even have buy their own lunch at the cafeteria in the Court building if they didn't bring a sandwich from home.  If we could better secure the independence of their thought by paying them far more, it would be cheap at the price; but it's extremely unlikely to help.

1 comment:

Stewart Dean said...

An irony in all of this is that the Constitution's disestablishmentarianism was originally included to protect *evangelical* Christians from persecution (by mainline denominations). In 1793, a bunch of thankful evangelicals did something of a wonderful prank to thank Jefferson. Now the evangelical movement is bending every effort to tear down that wall.

A thoughtful conservative NYTimes columnist recently wrote The Day My Old Church Canceled Me Was a Very Sad Day, about being driven out for merely planning to speak about the Manichean madness on the Right