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Overheard (Sept. 2022)

The situations that people find themselves in, and in need of abortion care are some of the most difficult that you could imagine. And that’s why we, as physicians, need to be able to provide that care unhindered, that medical decisions need to be made between a physician and their patients. . . . I’m not the only provider who has taken care of young children needing abortion care.

Dr. Caitlin Bernard, speaking to anchor Norah O’Donnell on “CBS Evening News,” about how the attorney general of Indiana, Todd Rokita, is investigating her for how she had reported an abortion she gave to a 10-year-old to state officials. Bernard is looking into a possible defamation lawsuit against Rokita. 

Washington Post, 7-27-22

I am old enough to remember when there was prayer in schools. While my elementary school class recited the Lord’s Prayer, I mumbled or stayed silent, knowing that it wasn’t my prayer. 

Justices, please don’t make my grandchildren feel the same discomfort. These are public schools. They belong to everyone.

Burt Solomon, in a letter to the editor.

The New York Times, 7-27-22

Taken together, the rulings [this term] proclaim a new day in modern jurisprudence. A newly installed conservative bloc is now in control, eager to forge ahead, with little regard for real-world consequences — for women, public safety or the life of the planet.

Columnist Carl Ramey, retired attorney.

Gainesville Sun, 7-27-22

On the one hand, we’ve had almost every parliamentary leader applaud the diversity of the Parliament and so if we are genuine about the diversity of the Parliament, we cannot continue to say a Christian prayer to open the day. Personally, I would like to see the prayers gone. I’m an atheist. I don’t want to say the prayers. If others want to say the prayers, they’re open to do that.

New Australian Senate President Sue Lines, urging the Senate to cease its 121-year-old Christian tradition.

OnlySky, 7-31-22

This [Bremerton School District v. Kennedy] decision was a mistake — not because public schools should be devoid of any religious expression, but because students should not feel pressure from their teachers, administrators or coaches either to be or not to be religious, let alone subscribe to a particular faith. . . . We have enough problems in our public schools. We don’t need to turn them into religious battlefields.

E.J. Dionne, in his column, “The Supreme Court punts on religious liberty.”

Washington Post, 8-3-22

The right pretends that ending Roe returns abortion to the democratic process, but Roe’s demise was made possible by democracy’s erosion.

Michelle Goldberg, in her column, “Lessons from the terrible triumph of the anti-abortion movement.”

The New York Times, 6-28-22

This is a court unafraid of the electorate and unashamed of showing its hand. The emperor does not care that he wears no clothes.

Tressie McMillan Cottam, in her column “What the reversal of Roe means for women’s work.”

The New York Times, 6-29-22

Christian nationalism, while pervasive and long-standing, cannot be normalized. I think Christians, who continue to make up a majority of Americans, have a special responsibility to step up at this critical moment to reject Christian nationalism.

Amanda Tyler is the executive director of Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. 

CNN, 7-27-22

The stench of illegitimacy emanating from the court only grows stronger, the need for change more urgent.

Columnist Pamela Paul, in her column, “If only Roberts would retire.”

The New York Times, 7-10-22

It offends me to see sanctimonious public prayer in any circumstance — but a coach holding his players hostage while an audience watches his piety makes my skin crawl.

Novelist Anne Lamott.

The New York Times, 7-11-22

I don’t believe in man-made religions. I don’t believe in man-made gods.

Taika Waititi, director of “Thor: Love and Thunder.” 

Wall Street Journal, 7-12-22

[Republicans had “fixed” the Supreme Court] with a few justices seated by an autocratic president. They behave as theocrats.

Rep. Madeleine Dean, Democrat of Pennsylvania, quoted in an article titled, “House passes two bills seeking to ensure access to abortion.”

The New York Times, 7-15-22

When states are led by zealots, many of the people who live there are governed by laws they vehemently oppose. And with no help coming from the U.S. Supreme Court for the foreseeable future, we now have a country in which the citizens of red states don’t have the same rights and civil liberties as the citizens of blue states.

Margaret Renkl, in her column, “‘Stay and fight’ isn’t so easy when a red state puts your child at risk.”

The New York Times, 7-14-22

The reality is that it’s not going to be Muslim coaches praying from the field or Jewish teachers reading from the Torah. The reality is that it’s going to be Christians who take advantage of this ruling and Christianity that is introduced into schools.

Caroline Mala Corbin, professor of law at the University of Miami School of Law, in describing the practical effects of the Kennedy v. Bremerton School District ruling by the Supreme Court in June.

Washington Post, 7-15-22

I am back and stunned that Ireland and the United States have traded places. Ireland leaped into modernity, rejecting religious reactionaries’ insistence on controlling women’s bodies. America lurched backward, ruled by religious reactionaries’ insistence on controlling women’s bodies.

Once, Ireland seemed obsessed with punishing women. Now it’s America.

Maureen Dowd, in her column “Irish eyes aren’t smiling.”

The New York Times, 7-16-22

The [Supreme] court is facilitating a movement many fear is a threat to American democracy — a concept known as Christian nationalism that asserts America is a nation by and for Christians alone.

Dave Zweifel, editor emeritus, in his column “Court rulings on religion put us on a slippery slope.” 

The Capital Times, 7-20-22

It feels to me that the churches in this area are no longer true Christian churches. They’ve morphed into something that’s completely unrecognizable. And I don’t think a lot of people know that they’ve been radicalized. . . . Something has happened to these people. I think it’s Fox News. I think it’s social media, causing division among people. And they’re using Christianity as a means to divide people.

Noah Jones, quoted in the article, “Christian nationalism drove these people out of their churches.”, 7-18-22

Unhappy with what much of the country believes, the court’s right wing chooses to believe what it would like and foists the results on the rest of us. Just like Coach Kennedy, they’re out to proselytize.

Pamela Paul, in her column “In the face of fact, the Supreme Court chose faith.”

The New York Times, 7-18-22

There is another norm, too, one that has for too long restrained the rest of us from calling out the pervasive role that religion is playing on today’s Supreme Court. In recognition that it is now well past time to challenge that norm, I’ll take my own modest step and relabel Dobbs for the religion case that it is, since nothing else explains it.

Columnist Linda Greenhouse, describing how Roe v. Wade and Dobbs were not legal decisions, but rather religious ones, in her column “Religious doctrine, not the Constitution, drove the Dobbs decision.” 

The New York Times, 7-22-22

I hope the Democrats are sufficiently radicalized that they reform the court, expand it and make our podcast obsolete. But I’m not very optimistic.

Attorney Michael Liroff, one of three attorney hosts of “5-4,” a podcast about “how much the Supreme Court sucks,” which endorses court reform to balance the high court.

The New York Times,  7-26-22