The Supreme Court’s Back in Session and Why It Matters
In our Liberty Lectures around the country (For more information or to schedule a Champions for Liberty Weekend at your church or school, call us at 202-868-7291), we’ve talked about the one great threat to our religious liberty in modern America. It has to do with the Supreme Court “getting out of its judicial lane” by legislating rather than merely ruling as to whether a law is or is not constitutional. Alexander said in Federalist 78:
It equally proves that though individual oppression may now and then proceed from the courts of justice, the general liberty can never be endangered from that quarter: I mean so long as the judiciary remains truly distinct from both the legislature and executive; for I agree that “there is no liberty if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and the executive powers.” And it proves, in the last place, that as liberty can have nothing to fear from the judiciary alone, but it would have everything to fear from its union with either of the other departments.
Many of the oppressive rulings of the court, past and present, from Dred Scott, to Roe v. Wade, to Obergefell v. Hodges, were misalignments of the judicial branch with that of the legislative branch. In fact, such cases either wrongly limited rights or created legislation virtually overnight by judicial fiat. Whether one agrees with theses rulings or not, it should be commonly agreed that the court in these cases had undertaken legislative powers that were not theirs to take. And because of that, the individual liberties of all Americans were denied or further put at risk.
In this judicial session, which began on Oct. 9, 2019, such rights are again at risk. The court is hearing cases that have to do with sex, sexual orientation, and religious liberty. Most at risk is the First Amendment freedoms of speech and religious liberty. The court is ruling on whether or not to redefine and even expand the meaning of “sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans employer discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin to include “sexual orientation” in the term “sex.”
In 1964, the legislators who wrote the legislation meant “male and female” in the term “sex.” This writer believes that the court should maintain its separation from the legislative and executive branch by reaffirming the original meaning of the text in Title VII as it relates to the cases of Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia and Harris Funeral Home, Inc. v. EEOC. The 1964 act does not speak to the issues of one’s perceived sexual identity and transgenderism. To create a symbiosis between “sex” and “sexual orientation” that defies scientific differentiation between the terms, to refuse to acknowledge differences of opinion on what constitutes healthy sexual behavior and practice is bad in and of itself. But to expand the word “sex” to also mean “sexual orientation” would be worse because it would take such rulings out of the hands of the people and their elected officials and put it in the hands of nine unelected judges.
So, the Supreme Court is back in session and its rulings are vital to maintaining not only the separation of powers between the executive, the judicial, and the legislative branches of our government. These rulings are vital to our First Amendment religious liberties. The courts should do their duty. They should maintain their judicial separation from the legislative branches by ruling according to what Title VII meant in 1964, not by ruling what we think or don’t think it should mean today. After all, there are legislative ways to deal with such things. How the court rules in these cases is vital to the individual liberties of every American citizen and vital to the religious liberty of our churches and religious institutions. Keep each judge in your prayers. Everyone’s religious liberties depend on it, even those with whom we disagree.
The Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz is the executive director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty.
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse talks about the “contagiousness of divorce” and the importance of defending marriage as God designed it. Listen here!
Need help knowing how to pray for our nation, her leaders, your neighbors, or people you disagree with? Click here for a prayer that puts the focus back on Christ and the mercy He shows to all His creation.
“We must extinguish our resentment if we expect harmony and union. There has been too much of a desire on the part of some of our very good friends . . . to interfere with and dictate to those states, to treat the people not as fellow citizens; there is too little respect for their rights. I do not sympathize in these feelings.” – President Abraham Lincoln
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