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Overheard (August 2022)

It will embolden others and exacerbate culture wars.

Nancy Armour, sportswriter, in her column, “Supreme Court siding with praying football coach would create larger problems,” regarding the Bremerton School Board vs. Kennedy case, which was decided in favor of the coach.

USA Today, 6-15-22

Back then, I probably would’ve said to work it out in the church. Now I would say get somewhere safe. Write everything down and gather evidence. Don’t go through the church. Go to authorities.

Naghmeh Panahi, who was abused by her husband for years, but stayed with him because evangelical leader Franklin Graham told her to.  

Washington Post, 6-20-22

Since the 1960s, parental rights have been a rallying cry for conservative evangelicals who felt repeatedly usurped in their ability to control schools. It was a shock to think public schools could possibly function without religion guiding them.

Adam Laats, a professor of education at Binghamton University State University of New York, as quoted in the article, “How Christian home-schoolers laid the groundwork for ‘parental rights.’ ”

Washington Post, 6-11-22

Surely, there are atheists in Congress and running for Congress, just as there are atheists everywhere else in America, even if they remain closeted. With the right using God to coax the party into regressive, punitive and at times increasingly scary places, here’s hoping they’ll finally have the courage to come out of the shadows.

Conservative pundit and atheist S.E. Cupp, in her column, “The GOP weaponizes faith; will atheists object?”

New York Daily News, 6-22-22

Privacy, like liberty, is threatened by a Christian nationalist movement that wants to freeze the United States in the 19th century and remove our individual choices. 

Jennifer Rubin in her column “The ‘pursuit of happiness’ means having the right to privacy.”

Washington Post, 6-27-22

Let’s be honest: Our rulers don’t come out and say so, but obviously they see this as a Christian nation, not a secular one. We once believed that non-Christians had the right not to have Christianity imposed on them in the public sphere. That was then; this is now.

Eugene Robinson, in his column, “It’s not a court. It’s a junta.”

Washington Post, 6-27-22

They regard secularism, which for centuries has been the liberal world’s understanding of what it means to be neutral, as itself a form of discrimination against religion.

Cornell Law School professor Michael Dorf, speaking of the conservative judges on the Supreme Court, in the article, “U.S. Supreme Court takes aim at separation of church and state.”

Yahoo News, 6-28-22

In previewing this case in April, we suggested the constitutional problems here are so glaring that the eventual ruling would serve as a useful test of whether the court’s conservatives are actually the unbiased constitutional originalists they strenuously claim to be, or just robed right-wing partisans who would shoehorn Republican policies into force with whatever legal arguments served the moment.

We now have our answer, in a ruling that Christian proselytizing to an effectively captive audience of public-school students is somehow consistent with religiously neutral government.

Newspaper editorial regarding the Kennedy v. Bremerton School District case titled, “In its latest partisan ruling, the high court erodes church-state separation.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 6-27-22

Americans tend to think of the separation of church and state as one of our foundational principles. And it was. But it’s not anymore. Nothing good can survive the conservative takeover of the Supreme Court. And it doesn’t take these conservatives long to dismantle whatever it is you hold dear.

Elie Mystal, in the column, “The Supreme Court strikes another blow to the separation of church and state.”

The Nation, 6-22-22