Monday Reads: Theocratic Supreme Court Suppresses Religious Freedom and democracyPosted: June 27, 2022
It’s Monday Sky Dancers! Hide your wives and daughters!
The Supreme Inquisitors of the United States have released more decisions that allow their religion to have an outsized role in our supposedly secular democracy founded solidly on the separation of church and state. They’re doing that by dissolving the state and its protection of minorities.
Now, we all have to endure egoistic displays of piety in schools from public servants. Gorsuch wrote this abomination of a decision. From The New York Times: “Supreme Court Sides With Coach Over Prayers on 50-Yard Line.” As the great-grandaughter of a Methodist Circuit rider in Kansas, and a former nice little Methodist choir director and Sunday School Teacher, I’d just like to know why they don’t read their Bibles? This is straight from Matthew 6:5-6.
5“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
This isn’t even something like an outdoor wedding, blessing some building or a group of pets, or even doing an outside service. This is fucking football. What perfect being wouldn’t find that laughable? How is causing bodily harm to another person and running around with a ball anything a deity would be concerned about?
Joseph Kennedy, a former high school football coach in Bremerton, Wash., had a constitutional right to pray on the field after his team’s games, the justices ruled.
The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a high school football coach had a constitutional right to pray at the 50-yard line after his team’s games.
The vote was 6 to 3, with the court’s three liberal members in dissent.
The case pitted the rights of government workers to free speech and the free exercise of their faith against the Constitution’s prohibition of government endorsement of religion and the ability of public employers to regulate speech in the workplace. The decision was in tension with decades of Supreme Court precedents that forbade pressuring students to participate in religious activities.
The case concerned Joseph Kennedy, an assistant coach at a public high school in Bremerton, Wash., near Seattle. For eight years, Mr. Kennedy routinely offered prayers after games, with students often joining him. He also led and participated in prayers in the locker room, a practice he later abandoned and did not defend in the Supreme Court.
Just so you remember the stare decisis this over turns:
Over the last 60 years, the Supreme Court has rejected prayer in public schools, at least when it was officially required or part of a formal ceremony like a high school graduation. As recently as 2000, the court ruled that organized prayers led by students at high school football games violated the First Amendment’s prohibition of government establishment of religion.
“The delivery of a pregame prayer has the improper effect of coercing those present to participate in an act of religious worship,” Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority.
These six inquisitors have no shame.
And the facts about Abortion from the New England Journal of Medicine.
Experience around the world has demonstrated that restricting access to legal abortion care does not substantially reduce the number of procedures, but it dramatically reduces the number of safe procedures, resulting in increased morbidity and mortality. Millions of persons in states lacking protections for abortion care are also likely to be denied access to medication-induced abortions. It may be difficult for many Americans in 2022 to fully appreciate how complicated, stressful, and expensive, if even attainable, their most private and intimate decisions will become, now that Roe has been struck down. A recent New York Times article recounted the experiences of women, now in their 60s and 70s, who sought abortions before Roe.5 They described humiliating circumstances, unsafe procedures literally performed in back alleys, and the deep shame and stigma they endured. Common complications of illegal procedures included injury to the reproductive tract requiring surgical repair, induction of infections resulting in infertility, systemic infections, organ failure, and death.6 We now seem destined to relearn those lessons at the expense of human lives.
Without federal protection, recent state laws curtailing or eliminating the right to abortion care will deny Americans’ reproductive autonomy and create an Orwellian dystopia. Examples are the Oklahoma law enacted on May 25, 2022, that declares life to begin at fertilization and the Texas bill that went into effect on September 1, 2021, which empowers third parties to bring civil suits and collect damages against persons who perform, aid, or abet abortions. Defendants in such suits will bear their legal costs, while plaintiffs are indemnified against countersuits for bringing groundless actions. Use of postcoital contraception, either hormonal contraception or placement of an intrauterine device, could be equated with abortion and prosecuted; some jurisdictions (e.g., Mississippi) are already considering such actions. A single act of coitus not timed with respect to the menstrual cycle has a 3% probability of causing conception.7 After conception, approximately 14 days elapse before chorionic gonadotropin reaches detectable levels in maternal blood. Approximately 30% of recognized pregnancies result in miscarriages. Thus, in some jurisdictions, people could be prosecuted for aborting a pregnancy by using postcoital contraception, despite a 98% probability that their actions did not cause an abortion, but there is no way to prove or disprove that they were pregnant.
The Supreme Inquisitors will kill women and more. Every Governor who lets these laws go through has blood on their hands. But hey, isn’t that what their practice of Christianity is all about? Controlling others and not themselves?
NPR has the results of a poll today: “Poll: Majorities oppose Supreme Court’s abortion ruling and worry about other rights.” The analysis is by Domenico Montanaro.
By a 56%-to-40% margin, respondents oppose the court’s decision, including 45% who strongly oppose it.
Almost 9-in-10 Democrats and a slim majority of independents (53%) are against the decision. Three-quarters of Republicans, on the other hand, support it.
There is a massive split by education – 69% of college graduates oppose the decision while those without degrees are split. Half of whites without degrees support the decision, while two-thirds of whites with college degrees oppose it.
A majority of men and women are against the decision, though a slightly higher percentage of women oppose it (59% vs. 54%).
Along racial lines, 60% of non-whites and 54% of whites oppose the decision. (There were too few people surveyed to break out individual racial groups any further without margins of error getting too high.)
By a 57%-to-36% margin, respondents said the decision was mostly based on politics as opposed to the law. And by a 56%-to-41% margin are concerned that the overturning of Roe will be used by the Supreme Court to reconsider past rulings that protect contraception, same-sex relationships, and same-sex marriage.
Just 39% said they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the Supreme Court; 58% said they have not very much or no confidence at all in the institution. That’s a low in the poll
My friends in Europe keep telling me we have to get it into law like they did. I’m beginning to think that this is our only route but just consider how long it will take to get rid of those state-level Republicans as well as those in safe, federal gerrymandered districts.
Here’s a take from The Guardian and Stephan Marche: “With the end of Roe, the US edges closer and closer to civil war. The question is no longer whether there will be a civil conflict in America. The question is how the sides will divide, and who will prevail.”
The cracks in the foundations of the United States are widening, rapidly and on several fronts. The overturning of Roe v Wade has provoked a legitimacy crisis no matter what your politics.
For the right, the leaking of the draft memo last month revealed the breakdown of bipartisanship and common purpose within the institution. For the left, it demonstrated the will of dubiously selected Republican justices to overturn established rights that have somewhere near 70% to 80% political support.
Accelerating political violence, like the attack in Buffalo, increasingly blurs the line between the mainstream political conservative movement and outright murderous insanity. The question is no longer whether there will be a civil conflict in the United States. The question is how the sides will divide, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how those strengths and weaknesses will determine the outcome.
The right wing has been imagining a civil war, publicly, since at least the Obama administration. Back in 2016, when it looked like Hillary Clinton would win the election, then Kentucky governor Matt Bevin described the possibility in apocalyptic terms: “The roots of the tree of liberty are watered by what? The blood. Of who? The tyrants, to be sure. But who else? The patriots. Whose blood will be shed? It may be that of those in this room. It might be that of our children and grandchildren,” he told supporters at the Values Voter Summit.
The possibility of civil war has long been a mainstay of rightwing talk radio. Needless to say, when the right conjures these fantasies of cleansing violence, they tend to fantasize their own victory. Steve King, while still a congressman from Iowa, tweeted an image of red and blue America at war, with the line: “Folks keep talking about another civil war. One side has about 8tn bullets, while the other side doesn’t know which bathroom to use.”
Any time anyone acts on their violent rhetoric, the rightwing politicians and media elites are appalled that anyone would connect what they say to what others do. “We need to understand we’re under attack, and we need to understand this is 21st-century warfare and get on a war footing,” Alex Jones said in the lead-up to the Capitol riot.
According to a New York Times series, Tucker Carlson has articulated the theory of white replacement more than 400 times on his show. Calls to violence are normal in rightwing media. Calls to resist white replacement are normal in rightwing media. The inevitable result is the violent promotion of resistance to white replacement. Republican politicians like Arizona state senator Wendy Rogers and New York congresswoman Elise Stefanik are outraged when their one plus one turns out to equal two, but their outrage is increasingly unbelievable, even to themselves. America is witnessing a technique used in political struggles all over the world. Movements devoted to the overthrow of elected governments tend to divide into armed and political wings, which gives multiple avenues to approach their goals as well as the cover of plausible deniability for their violence.
The leftwing American political class, incredibly, continues to cling to its defunct institutional ideals. Democrats under Biden have wasted the past two years on fictions of bipartisanship and forlorn hopes of some kind of restoration of American trust. When violence like Buffalo hits, they can do little more than plead with the other side to reconsider the horror they’re unleashing, and offer obvious lectures about the poison of white supremacy. Since January 6 didn’t wake them up to exactly what they’re facing, it’s unclear what might ever wake them up. The left has not made the psychological adjustment to a conflict situation yet. But it won’t be able to maintain the fantasy of normalcy for much longer.
This is from Politico: “European leaders decry US restriction of abortion rights. US Supreme Court ruling adds to sense that America is out of step with other modern democracies.”
European leaders are voicing dismay and outrage about the U.S. Supreme Court decision stripping the legal right for women to obtain an abortion.
“Making abortions illegal isn’t pro-life. It’s anti-choice,” Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel tweeted. “It’s a social & economic injustice. And just so, so wrong. Reproductive rights are not just women’s rights. They are human rights. So let’s all stand up for them.”
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told POLITICO: “I’ve got to tell you, I think it’s a big step backwards.”
Speaking at a news conference in Rwanda, where he was attending a Commonwealth meeting, Johnson said: “I’ve always believed in a woman’s right to choose and I stick to that view and that is why the U.K. has the laws that it does.”
The U.S. court ruling overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade precedent, which had protected a woman’s right to obtain an abortion, is just the latest development that has left Europeans bewildered about the deep political polarization in the U.S.
“There is still a long way to go for gender justice,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a tweet. “Women’s rights are threatened. We must defend them resolutely.”
Along with years of inaction in Washington in response to an epidemic of mass shootings, endemic racism, the exorbitant costs and limited access to medical care, and meager government-protected maternity benefits, the abortion decision has reinforced a sense in Europe that the U.S. is oddly out of sync with most modern, civilized democracies.
Despite this sense that the U.S. is negligent when it comes to basic social protections for its citizens, the country remains a global political and cultural touchstone, and its domestic political perturbations still reverberate across the two oceans that often keep U.S. citizens relatively distant and disconnected from tribulations elsewhere.
“Very concerned about implications of @USSupremeCourt decision on #RoeVWade and the signal it sends to the world,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo tweeted. “Banning abortion never leads to fewer abortions, only to more unsafe abortions. Belgium will continue to work with other countries to advance #SRHR everywhere,” he wrote, using the hashtag for “sexual and reproductive health rights.”
At least BOJO knows how to read a room or a country in this case.
The more I read, the more disgusted I become. I’m not sure what President Biden has up his sleeve other than a few panaceas that have to do with the availability of pharmaceutical birth control and abortion. He needs to start thinking out of the box or else women will find more radical ways to solve the problems. He also has some interest in seeing that women can get to safe-haven states.
However, since many women needing abortions are poor, I’m not sure he needs to address just availability. Louisiana women will need to travel 600 miles. This is why I’ve been tweeting to every public official I know to consider a Fleet of Women’s health clinics where women in the south–a terribly underserved group–can get access to ALL the healthcare they need. We need to fund these women.
We haven’t heard from Speaker Pelosi for several days. Congress is on vacation and I certainly hope it’s a working one. Congresswoman Ocasio has been out on the press circuit. I’m with AOC on this one.
Now is the time for all of us to come to the aid of our country. Our democracy is sinking fast.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?