Supreme Court sides with religious institutions in a major church-state decision
- WaPo (subscription).
This case, TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH OF COLUMBIA, INC. v.
, continues a disturbing trend of the majority eroding the "Establishment" clause of the First Amendment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," in favor of the broadest reading of the "free exercise" clause "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." That only two justices dissented is disheartening. I understand the simplicity of the majority argument - and why it is so fundamentally wrong.
These two clauses operate differently, but the religious majority of the court keeps using the "free exercise" clause as a sword to force others to accept
religious purposes, rather than as a shield (as explicitly intended) to protect the religious from inhibition. By ruling as they did, the court literally
required the State of Missouri (hardly a bulwark of separation) to fund
a religious program - in other words, to establish religion. This wasn't even, really, a close call.
An argument, weak as it is, could be made that Missouri could allow
a religious institution to participate in a neutral program, but the Court, here, requires
the State to do so. That is what is so disturbing to me. Theocracy über alles