Supreme Court + Hypocrisy = Religious Tyranny

Alan Zendell, June 25, 2022

No one was surprised when the Supreme Court issued its ruling overturning Roe v. Wade Friday. Despite all the hand wringing and despair on the part of three-fourths of our country, we knew this was coming and the opponents of the decision had been planning their responses for weeks, perhaps since Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed as a Justice. If you were surprised to learn that she and Trump’s other two nominees, Bret Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, lied about Roe during their confirmation hearings, I’d have to ask which planet you’ve been living on since Trump told us truth and facts are just irrelevant nuisances. Apparently, the three new Justices care as much about the integrity of the Court and whether Americans have confidence in it as much as Trump respects the Constitution.

But all that kind of misses the point. States whose majority populations haven’t been gerrymandered into impotent silence will pass new laws that codify a woman’s right to control her own body, and we need have no fear of the Supreme Court overturning them because the Court just told us it’s none of their business. Henceforth, abortion rights are to be determined by the states. And Democrats who were expecting to lose the House and possibly the Senate in November are now as happy as clams, as we say in Maryland, though I know no one who can tell when a clam is happy. They’re happy because nearly eighty percent of Americans are unhappy about the demise of Roe. That should be worth a couple dozen seats in Congress.

The real point is hypocrisy – of the Supreme Court, of the Evangelist movement, and of right-wing politicians in general. How many times have we heard that the United States is a Christian nation? That’s a crucial question, because the right-wing extremists, who with Mitch McConnell’s help have been stacking lower courts with judges who agree with them, would have every American live according to Christian orthodoxy, whatever that actually is.

The truth is, we’re not a Christian nation. Justice Alito, who wrote the decision killing Roe claimed that all decisions must be based on a literal reading of the Constitution. But the Constitution as it was originally drafted makes no mention of Christianity or any other religion. The First Amendment, however, guarantees every American the right to worship or not as he or she pleases. The Amendment also declares that there shall be a separation of church and state; that is, our laws shall not be governed by religious doctrine of any kind. Yet, today’s decision was clearly an attempt to set legal precedents based on the religious beliefs of the Justices and of the evangelist portion of the Republican Party. It’s pure hypocrisy.

Today’s decision is also about power. Mitch McConnell is as responsible for this travesty, this disastrously wrong reading of the Constitution as anyone. McConnell doesn’t give a damn about abortion rights or Christianity. His only interest is in power, and he’s known for decades that his key to power was pandering to the religious right. As a result, the Supreme Court now represents the tyranny of a religious minority over the vast majority of Americans.

It’s difficult to know people’s true feelings about religion. Some researchers believe that as many as seven out of every eight Americans, in the privacy of their own minds, do not believe in a supreme being or place any value in religion, though they would never admit that publicly – in other words, most people lie when asked about their religious beliefs. But even if we take them at face value, the number of people who claim to attend church services was pegged at about 47% in 2021. Assuming that number is accurate, it still tells us very little about their beliefs and practices.

As one example, how many Catholics do you know who attend church either regularly or occasionally who completely disregard church doctrine about birth control, abortion, or divorce? And what about other religions? According to the Pew Research Center, the positions on abortion of the major religions in 2016 were  (touch to expand):

I’m with the Democrats on this one. If the Court wants abortion rights to be legislated in unambiguous terms, it’s up to Democrats and everyone who believes in democracy to make their case to voters at election time. If Americans care about a woman’s right to control her own health and body, the solution is really simple. The tyranny of the Supreme Court’s decision has made it the most pressing issue of 2022, tied in its urgency with voting rights. Marching in the streets makes for nice videos on the evening news, but the way to fix this is to vote for people with their heads on straight to be state legislators and members of Congress.

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