Hope and a Prayer: Liberals Condemn the Conservative Justices After Dubious Rolling Stone Article

There was an extraordinary story this week out of Rolling Stone magazine, which breathlessly reported a “serious matter” of an allegation that Supreme Court justices prayed with evangelicals, including some associated with groups that filed amicus briefs with the Court. Many liberal sites went immediately into instant vapors at the thought of justices praying with such individuals, including the usual unhinged claims of ethical violations and renewed calls for everything from court packing to impeachments. What is clear is that the critics will require more than this “hope and a prayer” to achieve such ends.

Politics reporter Kara Voght wrote that Peggy Nienaber, vice president of the ministry group Faith & Liberty, admitted that she has prayed with Supreme Court justices in a video after the overturning of Roe v. Wade:

“This disclosure was a serious matter on its own terms, but it also suggested a major conflict of interest. Nienaber’s ministry’s umbrella organization, Liberty Counsel, frequently brings lawsuits before the Supreme Court. In fact, the conservative majority in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which ended nearly 50 years of federal abortion rights, cited an amicus brief authored by Liberty Counsel in its ruling. In other words, sitting Supreme Court justices have prayed together with evangelical figures whose bosses were bringing cases and arguments before the high court.”

The brief in question was on behalf of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, led by its President, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez; the Frederick Douglass Foundation, led by Chairman Dean Nelson; Rev. Alveda King, President of Speak for Life; Deacon Keith Fournier, Esq., of the Common Good Foundation; and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tyler.

There is a reference to the brief in a footnote that raises a historical claim:

“Other amicus briefs present arguments about the motives of proponents of liberal access to abortion. They note that some such supporters have been motivated by a desire to suppress the size of the AfricanAmerican population. See Brief for African-American Organization et al. as Amici Curiae 14–21.”

After I challenged the claims last night, various people wrote to insist that this is a violation of “the separation of church and state” or clearly a violation of judicial ethics. It is neither.

First, thousands of groups and individuals participate in amicus or “friends of the Court” briefs every year. That does not make them parties in interest for the purposes of judicial ethics.

Almost 150 groups filed with the Court as amicus, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Six of the nine justices (Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Sotomayor, Kavanaugh and Barrett) are Catholic and pray every Sunday in the church with other Catholics. Is that unethical?

The outrage seems rather selection. I do not recall the Rolling Stone summing law professors to denounce Justice Sotomayor for calling for students to organize against abortion laws that might come before the Court.

Second, it is not even clear when or if such prayer occurred. Liberty Counsel’s founder, Mat Staver denies any knowledge of such sessions with the justices . Nienaber later stressed that her off-the-record

“comment was referring to past history and not practice of the past several years. During most of the history up to early 2020, I met with many people who wanted or needed prayer. Since early 2020, access to the Supreme Court has been restricted due to COVID. It has been many years since I prayed with a Justice.”

Voght quotes Rob Schenck, who originally founded the group and denounced the praying. However, he left the group in 2018 and said that he had no knowledge of such praying sessions. Nevertheless, Schenck declared “[t]o pray with the justices was to perform a sort of ‘spiritual conditioning.’ … Prayer is a powerful communication tool in the evangelical tradition: The speaker assumes the mantle of the divine, and to disagree with an offered prayer is akin to sin.”

It could also just be a prayer by religious people. It happens in hundreds of thousands of churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and public events around the world every day.

It is an ironic position since the Court just voted that a football coach has a right to pray after a game. Such prayer was rejected as a form of government speech or having any coercive impact on players. However, this would suggest that the justices themselves cannot ethically pray at any time with anyone who belongs to a group that might file with the Supreme Court, including the Catholic Church.

The article states

“Nienaber was recorded telling the livestreamer that she prayed with Supreme Court justices on June 27, the Monday after the high court issued the Dobbs ruling.” Simply as a factual matter, Nienaber insisted “I do not recall making such a statement. I listened to the livestream, and I did not hear such a statement…The public has not been allowed access, and I am no different. I will generally silently pray for the justices, their staff, and the Court.”

However, putting the facts aside, I am more interested in the take of Louis Virelli. a professor at Stetson University College of Law, who insisted that “Praying with a group that filed an amicus brief with a court is a problem.” It would seem to me that whether such praying is problematic would depend on the specifics. Generally praying with a group that is an amicus is not a problem. Otherwise, the attending of  Catholic services would be a problem for six out of the nine justices.

The “problem” would be joining a party to pray about the specific outcome of a case, which no one is suggesting occurred. Indeed, there is no indication that such prayers even occurred during the pendency of the case and no indication of what such prayers entailed in terms of the forum or the subject.

Indeed, at the end of the article, the author quotes Adam Winkler, a Supreme Court expert at the University of California Los Angeles, as noting that

“For Winkler, the greater concern is not prayers, but the “religious-themed” decisions he’s seen come down from the high court this term, pointing to not only the Roe reversal but also opinions that permit unchecked free exercise of First Amendment rights. “The problematic aspect isn’t whether they’re praying,” Winkler says, “but that several justices seem committed to reading their religion into the Constitution.”

That objection to the constitutional views of the justices is a revealing conclusion to the article. While I understand Professor Winkler’s personal and intellectual objection to the outcome of these cases, it is an entirely unfair attack on the integrity of these six justices. They are not “reading their religion into the Constitution” by supporting prayer for all religions in the Kennedy decision or returning the question of abortion to the states in the Dobbs decision. One can clearly disagree with their constitutional interpretative approach, but they are applying a jurisprudential approach that is entirely unrelated to their personal faith.

So the Rolling Stone ran an article that unnamed justices may have prayed at some point with people associated with a group that has filed briefs with the Court. Putting aside the lack of essential factual foundation, there is no serious ethical breach raised by the article.

However, the article may have succeeded in uncovering for the first time in history what justices silently prayed for. They appeared to have collectively followed Voltaire’s advice: “I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it.”

153 thoughts on “Hope and a Prayer: Liberals Condemn the Conservative Justices After Dubious Rolling Stone Article”

  1. We have to remember, the original settlers came across the Atlantic, to escape religious persecution.
    Many of the original 13 colonies, were divided, in a big part by Religious denominations. Many mandated religious actions by citizens.
    These were the desire of the people living in those colonies.

    This carried on for two and half centuries, and then the US Constitutions written and approved by the Continental Congress.

    While we are not a Religious Nation, we are a Christian Nation. We are a nation of Christians and other faiths. A Nation founded on Judaeo Christian tenets.

    1. We are not a Christian nation. We are a nation that explicitly rejects — in the First Amendment — associating with a single faith tradition.

      What religious tenets do you believe are Judeo-Christian but not Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, …? (There are certainly different religious beliefs, but they generally don’t split Judeo-Christian versus other religions. Islam is an Abrahamic religion too.)

        1. We are a nation of theists and atheists, and the theists include diverse religions: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Sikhism, etc. A majority of Americans are Christian, but that does not make us “a Nation of Christians,” and the percentage of Americans who identify as Christians is decreasing (per the ongoing Pew survey of American religious life).

                1. So you’re too much of a “retard” to understand the difference between being majority Christian and being a “Nation of Christians”? OK.

      1. We are a nation that explicitly rejects — in the First Amendment — associating with a single faith tradition.

        Explicitly you say. I missed that clause. Please provide a citation where the First Amendment explicitly rejects associating with a single faith tradition.

        I’ll wait.

        1. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”

          You do understand the meaning of the Establishment Clause, right?

          1. You do understand the meaning of the Establishment Clause, right?

            Yup. And I also understand the meaning of explicitly. You apparently do not.

            You stated: We are not a Christian nation. We are a nation that explicitly rejects — in the First Amendment — associating with a single faith tradition.

            Your opinion is we are not a Christian nation. You have every right to that belief. However in your next sentence you cite the First Amendment as saying something it doesn’t actually say. Your opinion once again is We are a nation that explicitly rejects — in the First Amendment — associating with a single faith tradition. And again, you have every right to that belief. However the Establishment Clause doesn’t say the nation rejects associating with a single faith tradition. It says Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,, In theory, the nation could be 100% in favor of establishing a single religion, or the outright banning of all religions. The full context of the First Amendment includes ,or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Therefore the First Amendment prohibits Congress from making laws in either respect.

            1. No, it’s a fact that we are not a Christian nation. We are a nation of diverse religious beliefs, including theistic religions, non-theistic religions, and a-theism.

              It’s a fact that the Establishment Clause explicitly rejects the establishment of a national religion.

              “In theory, the nation could be 100% in favor of establishing a single religion”

              People could poll that way, but the government is prohibited by the Constitution from acting on that want. The Constitution would have to be amended. I’m talking about our actual Constitution, not a hypothetical one.

              “or the outright banning of all religions.”

              People could poll that way too, but here the Free Exercise Clause prohibits the government from acting on it.

              “the First Amendment prohibits Congress from making laws in either respect.”

              Duh. And that is an explicit prohibition, AKA explicit rejection.

  2. I think Professor Turley would add a lot of gravitas and common sense were he to become an Associate Justice on the SCOTUS — anyone else agree?

  3. Rolling Stone Magazine became irrelevant about the time the Eagles band disbanded the first time, circa 1980. No one reads it to get a serious, well-thought out ‘take’ on matters of socio-political interest, with rare exceptions. I haven’t subscribed since the early 1970’s.

  4. Has anyone done a wellness check on “Justice Holmes”? We’re two hours into this post and he has not yet falsely asserted Republicans are creating a theocracy. Sure, enigmainblackcom is picking up the slack left by Holmes’s absence. But we still need to ensure fake Justice Holmes is ok.

  5. You righties wouldn’t be as supportive about this supposedly innocent activity if it was the justices praying with a Muslim group who filed an amicus brief in the previous case.

    1. You righties wouldn’t be as supportive about this supposedly innocent activity if it was the justices praying with a Muslim group who filed an amicus brief in the previous case.

      Bigoted much? The beautiful thing about this country is that we are designed to be secure in our freedom of conscience. If one is Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Agnostic, Atheist and so on, we are to be secure in the practice of those beliefs. We can be Constitutionalists, Marxists, Socialists, Communists, or any other “ist”. What we cannot do is legitimately infringe the rights of others that practice their beliefs in a manner that does not infringe the rights of others.

      You also have the freedom of conscience not to believe any of that. If so, me and my Muslim colleague will pray you remain in your super-minority.

      1. “ What we cannot do is legitimately infringe the rights of others that practice their beliefs in a manner that does not infringe the rights of others.”

        Interesting, based on what you said this means Christian legislators or Christian groups infringing on the rights of homosexuals such as marriage, and freedom from discrimination because those are their beliefs cannot legitimately propose laws that infringe on their rights and beliefs such as bans on same sex marriage and the right to discriminate.

        Yet they seem to do exactly what you say they cannot do because their religious beliefs supersede the rights of others.

        1. It’s a legitimate point. The question is why did the government get into the marriage business in the first place? Does the government have a duty to makes laws that protect individual rights of conscience if the consequences are provably detrimental to our national security interests? So on one hand the right to homosexual marriage, as secured by the government, appears to be “tactically” good for the individual, the question is is it “strategically” good for the country and our national security interests?

          1. Government is not in the marriage business. But in order for same-sex couples to enjoy the same rights and benefits as heterosexual couples it has to recognize their marriage under the equal protection under the law. It’s the religious who wanted the government to invalidate that basic concept and force their views on everyone else by demanding government not recognize same-sex marriages and ban them. Some states even made constitutional amendments to ban an entire subset of people from enjoying a right everyone else had just because they didn’t like the fact that it violated their religious beliefs. They were making the argument that their religious beliefs were above everyone else’s rights.

            This attitude continues to this day with the transgender community. They demand the government deny them equal protections under the law because it violates their religious beliefs and therefore force everyone else to adhere to their view thru legislation supporting their view.

            1. And this is why I’ve always said government need to get out of the marriage business entirely. Property disposition, custody, medical power of attorney, probate, these are all matter of civil contract law. 2, 3, 6, 12 people for that matter can have a contract drawn up to cover these issues and call themselves “married”. I don’t see what it’s the business of anyone else, in government or out.

              1. You need the government to legally recognize the marriages because that protects the married couple from being discriminated against when certain people or groups refuse to recognize a marriage’s validity due to religious beliefs. Remember, the constitution guarantees everyone equal protection of the law. Not just those who don’t want to accept others have the same protections as they do.

                1. How does equal protection not attach? All Americans, by virtue of being here have equal protection under the law. The minute you start diving people into groups, you’re doing it wrong. We have rights as individuals, not by group membership.

                  No one needs someone else to recognize anything. If they chose not to, not my concern, no skin off my back. They are entitled to any belief they want. I’ll happily take my business elsewhere, if that’s what it comes down to. My wife and I presented ourselves as a married couple 7 years before the formality of signing any paper. All that matter was what we considered ourselves. We already had all of the legal protections in place. My then, for lack of a better term “partner” had medical power of attorney, was my sole beneficiary, had joint access to my bank account, was my legal business partner, etc. That certificate changed or added nothing, in fact we were adamant no one officiated the ceremony, which is completely legal in this state, since no one can “marry” someone.

                  1. “All that matter was what we considered ourselves. We already had all of the legal protections in place.“

                    currentsitguy: You recognize the marriage contract for what it is. The guy you are responding to doesn’t get it no matter how many times it is explained.

                    Marriage can be thought of as ceremonial.
                    The contract is standard and can be drawn up by any attorney, as you did.

                    The exceptions are some crazy state laws that existed and laws that involved money, such as social security. That is where a problem lies for giving to one takes from another.

                    1. S. Meyer, you’re an idiot. The issue is not individuals recognizing a contract. It’s religious bigots who demanded that same sex-marriages not be recognized or validated because it was against THEIR religious beliefs. With government recognition same sex couples could enjoy the benefits of marriage within the entire country. Not just a few states. Just like everyone else.

                    2. Svelaz, you are a know-nothing. When you go to court, the court considers the law, not whether one might or might not be bigoted. In specific it is based on contract law.

                  2. “ How does equal protection not attach? All Americans, by virtue of being here have equal protection under the law. The minute you start diving people into groups, you’re doing it wrong.”

                    It’s true that everyone here is supposed to have equal protection. But…, it is the religious groups that are putting people into groups that deserve to be excluded because THEIR beliefs require it.

                    “ No one needs someone else to recognize anything.”. The government does. The government recognizing same sex marriages legitimizes their right and that brings equal protections under the law and all legal benefits that all other marriages enjoy. The religious right didn’t want that and was demanding government enforcement of THEIR beliefs that same-sex marriages are invalid and should not be recognized. They wanted the government to apply their belief that marriage is only between one woman and one man on everyone.

            2. There’s always going to be some group attempting to justify why their personal beliefs need to be protected by the force of government. Is the government required to make laws that secure the right to every belief? I believe fossil fuels are currently the lifeblood of our economy and of strategic importance to our national security. Others believe renewable energy should be the only available option to save the planet. The force of government has decided to go with the latter. Isn’t this discrimination, not only against the rights of individual citizens, the economic interests of the state and a threat to our national security?

              1. “ Is the government required to make laws that secure the right to every belief? ”

                No, the government is required to recognize that everyone has equal protections under the law. The constitution requires it.

                When you have a religious group wanting to deny another the same rights that THEY enjoy simply because of their religious beliefs is contrary to the constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. This applies to everyone. Not just those who believe their religious beliefs supersede the constitution.

                There are some Christian groups who vehemently believe the laws of the Bible are the law of the land and not the constitution.

                I will add that the government cannot protect the personal beliefs that are contrary to the constitution’s protections if it involves trampling on someone else rights.

                1. You’re still avoiding answering the fundamental question.

                  Does the government have a duty to makes laws that protect individual rights of conscience if the consequences are provably detrimental to our national security interests?

                  The framers explicitly stated our constitution was written for a moral and religious people. Are we better or worse off today in the security of our rights as we’ve evolved as a culture away from that 18th century culture?

    2. You righties wouldn’t be as supportive

      Are you born with that mind reading skill? If so, why aren’t independently wealthy do good for the world

    3. islam is not a religion. It is an intollerant ideology. Why don’t you read up on the true history of it? Read up on a good interputation of the so-called curan.

  6. Again, I like your analysis; and yet I always have my own take on it. You don’t mention that the appearance of a conflict of interest and a conflict of interest pose often equal dilemmas. To redress an appearance usually requires more reliable information. You provide some here, but your Tweet of last night reads differently. By itself it creates, with no complement information, the appearance of a potential conflict of Interest, and with stakes as high as those of the Highest Court, it requires attention and will fervently raise passions on both sides. These passions have been quite high in the past year, so it may be like playing with matches in a California Forest. You wrote: “Rolling Stone has breathlessly reported a “serious matter”: “Sitting Supreme Court justices have prayed together with evangelical leaders whose bosses were bringing cases and arguments before the high court.”The good news is that we now know what the justices were praying for…” on the night of July 7 2022 around 8:00 PM. The first part by itself may easily create a perception of bias from the Court, and the second one gives the perception that we know what they prayed for. But this is inexact, since it is a speculation from a “plaintiff”… Professor.
    Two years ago, Justice Alito, for which I have much respect and whom I perceive as extremely intelligent, gave a speech which was broadcasted live by NBC. In it he made 2 ambivalent statements which he believed were not potentially tainting the perception of the Court. (From memory) 1: “Our greatest Right is the Right to religion”. 2. “No other persons or group have been so repressed in their Rights during the Pandemic than Christians”. If you don’t see the problem here from a Sitting Justice making such a statement, then effectively, while I know very well we don’t share the same degree of knowledge in the Law (this is a no contest), but I now fear you are entering a privilege understanding of the Constitution and it’s Bill of Rights and I cannot agree with it.
    If any hierarchic order should be put into Individual Rights, and this only in considering, for example, the First Amendment, then the Judicial Rule would be that as no order is articulated, their order of presentation would establish hierarchy. The first amendment spells 6 Rights, 4 of which are Individual, and 2 Others Collective (redress of grievance is two folded but express as a collective write in this form). Right of Religion may be interpreted two fold, the individual Right and the Collective one. The Collective Right to Religion is therefore strongly associated to the Right to Freely Assemble. If a Hierarchy exists, it is between Individual Rights and Collective ones, the Former having preseance over the Latter, as a collectivity is in by itself a government, while an Individual Natural Right precedes Government. But no one can make a Hierarchy of Individual Rights except in specific cases. In each cases opinion give rank to each of our Rights, but in the General understanding of the Constitutional Papers, The Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, The Bill of Rights, no hierarchy can be made, because each circumstances shifts their order of priority and relative importance.
    I would remind, as usual, the Press, Politicians, Commentators, and even sometimes members of the Court, to show modesty, and to be extremely prudent in what their actions and “off the record” comments may create in Perceptions concerning the Court.
    Yet, as the Idiot of the Village, I can enjoy using irresponsible qualifiers as I wish, since I have gain no respect of any in my community. People of High Status should always be held to higher standards. Responsibility curtails the full enjoyment of freedom yet in exchange enriches one self with great enjoyment of special experiences.

    1. None of us will be better off if an Artificially-intelligent (AI) robot makes decisions at the Supreme Court — Justices are human beings.

    2. Denys,
      That was an impressive and for me a quite complicated post. I’ve read it now several times and I apologize if I’m misinterpreting your point. I’m not sure, but I believe in sum it’s the perception of a potential conflict of interest. If that is the case, then what is the measure we should use to determine the conflict of interest impacted a justice’s decision?

      You cited a speech by Justice Alito broadcast by NBC. Your critique was in part; If you don’t see the problem here from a Sitting Justice making such a statement,… I don’t see the problem as this speech was not made as a sitting justice. While Alito is employed as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, he is also a citizen with the equal right of freedom of conscience. He does not have to subordinate his individual rights merely on the basis of his employment status. We will always have those who don’t share the personal beliefs of the justices on the court. They are free to disagree. They are even free to “perceive” a potential conflict of interest. Which brings me back to my question. Does the justice’s opinion (from the bench) conflict with the constitution? That would seem to be the measure that matters.

      1. Olly: You are spot on. J Alito was spot on in his assessement. The so-called leaders, hide behind in most occassions in which they declare ” a national security measure” to wavie the Constitutional rights, in their judgment, and totally circumvent the Constitution as if it did not exists. 1: “Our greatest Right is the Right to religion”. 2. “No other persons or group have been so repressed in their Rights during the Pandemic than Christians”. If you don’t see the problem here from a Sitting Justice making such a statement, then effectively, while I know very well we don’t share the same degree of knowledge in the Law (this is a no contest), but I now fear you are entering a privilege understanding of the Constitution and it’s Bill of Rights and I cannot agree with it. Well I agree with the Justice’s statement.

      2. Olly, Denys point is essentially what Turley is ignoring. The appearance of a conflict of interest is a major issue when it comes to judges or justices.

        The entire point of being a judge is that they are supposed to be impartial, objective, and free from influences from those who they are judging. You can’t have trust in a judge’s impartiality or objectivity if you see a party that is dependent on the outcome of cases that are based on religious beliefs praying with the same justices. That’s a direct line of influence on the justices that undermines the credibility of a justice’s impartiality. That undermines the credibility of the court and the ruling. It destroys any notion of a fair judgment based on the law. Instead this is seen as justice’s being biased in favor of one party over another. The prayers are not the issue. That’s just a distraction. It’s the direct access and influence of a group that directly benefits from the justice favorable ruling.

        1. The entire point of being a judge is that they are supposed to be impartial, objective, and free from influences from those who they are judging.

          And how is that measured? One’s opinion that there is an appearance of a conflict of interest is just that, an opinion. Courts have and will forever be considered suspect by those whose opinion differs from the Court. A Justice’s impartiality and objectivity is a reasonable concern, but the measure of that is and should always be whether their opinions in the court reflect a fidelity to a constitutional interpretation.

          1. “ And how is that measured?”

            It’s measured by a judge’s credibility. It seems like a flimsy rationale, but it is a crucial component of what a judge is supposed to be. Everyone expects a fair judgement. That doesn’t mean everyone will think all judgments are fair. But if a judge has a credible reputation of impartiality with everyone then a judgment has more weight even when one disagrees with it.

            “ One’s opinion that there is an appearance of a conflict of interest is just that, an opinion.”

            It’s not about anyone’s opinion. It’s about the judge. He’s the one who is expected to be impartial and objective in order to have at least a sense that their decisions are credible enough to have validity even if the decision is disputed.

            “ A Justice’s impartiality and objectivity is a reasonable concern, but the measure of that is and should always be whether their opinions in the court reflect a fidelity to a constitutional interpretation.”

            That’s right. But how are we supposed to trust their opinions are reflecting a fidelity to a constitutional interpretation when the very people who are part of the case they are deciding on are praying privately with that same judge in their chamber? How do we know their prayers involved saying out loud that they hope the ruling goes their way or that “god” guide them to a favorable ruling? That crosses a line that violates the sense of impartiality and destroys the credibility of the ruling. It’s an insult to the other party and the sense of fairness.

            1. That’s right. But how are we supposed to trust their opinions are reflecting a fidelity to a constitutional interpretation…

              Full stop. By reading their opinions to see if they are based on the constitution. You know that, or at least should. Nothing else matters.

              1. But you still have the problem of the appearance of bias because one party had direct access and influence with the judge. The other party did not. The constitution guarantees a fair trial and the only way to adhere to that guarantee is when judges leave no doubt that they are being impartial.

                The party whose case was before the justices were praying WITH the judges who were in a position to decide on their cases. They even bragged that they did so in their chambers. That itself destroys the constitution’s guarantee of a fair trial. It certainly matters.

                Would you be ok with abortion providers having lunch with the justices in private without the knowledge of the other party ? According to you it wouldn’t matter as long as they rendered their opinion even if they ruled in their favor. You would be ok with that?

  7. I wonder if the ‘love and tolerance’ crowd would be as angry if supreme court justices were praying with BLM members or some mainline ‘woke’ Christian denomination.

    Maybe some of our erudite, morally superior leftist readers can explain the difference, if any.

    What do I know since I am a deplorable?

    Patiently waiting for an explanation but won’t hold my breath. I don’t expect an explanation only another leftist slur because people such as me stand in the way of their leftist utopia.

    antonio

  8. Thinking is my kind of prayer.

    “I don’t want to go to heaven. None of my friends are there.”

    -Wilde

    1. Jeff: So you are just simply a great thinker??? Have youn ever thought about reading Pascal’s Book, “The Gambler”? Might want to give it a perusal, as he was a Great Thinker.

      1. Lighteredknot,

        Not only that, I have read Alexander Bostic’s “Gambling with God: Refuting Pascal’s Wager”

  9. Democrats “pray” with the Press, Legislators, local judges, SCOTUS all the time and are intransigently aligned with the Democrats.

    The liberal Justices never veer from Dem party ideology while conservative justices, as illustrated from the most recent decisions, hear the case with a much more open mind.

    Remember it’s not freedom FROM religion — it’s freedom OF religion… a guaranteed right given us from the Constitution.

    1. It always amazes me how one little word (of) is usually seen by the left as (from). It must be a genetic defect that blurs their vision.

  10. “Second, it is not even clear when or if such prayer occurred. Liberty Counsel’s founder, Mat Staver denies any knowledge of such sessions with the justices . Nienaber later stressed that her off-the-record

    “comment was referring to past history and not practice of the past several years. During most of the history up to early 2020, I met with many people who wanted or needed prayer. Since early 2020, access to the Supreme Court has been restricted due to COVID. It has been many years since I prayed with a Justice.”
    ******************************************
    What do you grasp at when the straws run out? Why religion, of course.

    I love a dying breed. So pathetically and doomedly (I know, but it ought to be) resourceful.

    1. “What do you grasp at when the straws run out? Why religion, of course.”

      You do realize religion is the alleged basis for half the things the Republicans do? Their whole platform (back when they used to have one) is based on whatever they think white evangelists want. They finally stopped pretending and threw out the Log Cabin Republicans from the Texas GOP Convention. Republicans don’t grasp at religion, religion has a stranglehold on them, along with the NRA.

      1. They finally stopped pretending and threw out the Log Cabin Republicans from the Texas GOP Convention.

        I saw that as well a few weeks ago. Funny thing is, people who rant about homosexuals being sinners, reprobates, beta-males often have someone in their family who is a closeted homosexual

        Fun fact: decades ago I was invited to deliver a presentation on chemotherapy for Oncologists, Oncology Nurses and Oncology Pharmacists at a cancer center in Miami. As I was waiting for attendees to arrive to the chemo suite, I overheard a cancer patient, who was tied to an IV line while sitting in a recliner, make condescending comments about his nurse who was a flaming queen. His wife saw me react to her husband’s comments and apologized for him. He looked at me and continued his apoplexy aloud thinking I would be in agreement with him. Seeing that he engaged me, I walked over to his chemo area, and said as follows:

        “you never know when you have homosexuals in your midst. They might be oncology nurses administering chemo to cancer patients, nurse managers who run the chemo suite, pharmacists who compound and mix the chemo treatment or oncologists who diagnose, prescribe chemo and tend to the cancer patients. In your case, in this cancer center, a gay pharmacist, gay nurse and gay administrator are making sure you beat your cancer, by providing you state of the art care. I am friends with all of them. So be careful about casting aspersions. Those homosexuals might be saving your life”

        With that I turned around and approached the podium in the open chemo suite to deliver my presentation to the staff. I never told any of the staff what I did and I never saw the patient again. But the look on his face after I said my words: priceless. As we say in Spanish, “tragame tierra” (may the Earth swallow me) described his reaction perfectly

        Those Texas GOP members have homosexuals in their lives but have no idea about them….because of their stupidity.

        1. I am as curious as to why Log Cabin Republicans provide cover to the Republicans nationally who tell them every four years in their platform (when they used to have one) what they really think of them?

          1. enig—–Over 75% of black protestant preachers preach anti-gay messages from the pulpit. Deal with that. And show us what ya got in regards to religious Muslims throwing gays off of buildings.
            I know you’ll spin this and proceed with a racist rant against white Christians, because you have no original thoughts on the subject. You hypocrites are so transparent and predictable, but i guess the pay is good.

            1. I’m happy to hear of your vast experience in the Black church. I’m not shocked that you may have attended a Black church in your lifetime but to know what all of them think is amazing. That said, it’s true that many Black preachers denounce homosexuality as a sin from the pulpit, their sermon preceded by and followed by songs led by a gay choir director (not all of course but certainly enough to make up a large percentage). In my lifetime of attending Black churches I’ve seen gay members welcomed and given leadership roles in those same churches, far more than in the Republican Party. The list of out elected Republicans is how long?
              If you want to say that Republicans fare better than some Muslims on a curve, I’ll give you that, Republicans fare better than Democrats of the past but have certainly caught up.
              White Christians is too broad of a group to attack, white evangelicals have put themselves in a special category and are worthy of criticism.

              1. enig……There’s nothing more disgusting than a black bigot.
                You get to be as hateful as you want and believe no one can or should chastise you, because of your pigmentation.
                Like I said, disgusting.

                1. You seem to have accurately described white bigots as well. Since you think Black bigots are the most disgusting thing, you have greater sympathy for white bigots.

                  1. Enigma, Cindy’s statement, “You get to be as hateful as you want and believe no one can or should chastise you, because of your pigmentation.” is what I think she is talking about.

                    Cindy is not being bigoted. She is pointing out a fact she sees, as do many others. Hate and bigotry are not things to make one look good no matter who or what they are. You are at fault. Cindy is stating the truth.

                    1. Cindy, don’t thank me. I thank you for standing up against those who are intent on dividing the nation. You are one of those who doesn’t stand for it and will say what is needed to be said by all Americans no matter what they believe.

                      I’ve had enough of being silent so “we get along.” We have to be more outspoken and stop these people from shutting up hard working Americans using fear of retribution.

                      You are like some friends of mine. One, when accosted outside the courthouse, pulled a revolver out of her purse and settled the issue right then and there. The man ran. I am sure he will never be back.

                    2. What she said is that she has a different standard for Black and white. I’ll let her try to explain it, you frankly are the worst advocate for someone else’s view.

                    3. Cindy’s comment involved people ***hiding*** behind their pigmentation. That is not racist. It tells you to cut out the cr-p. Your pigmentation hasn’t caused you or your family harsh adversity because of something you couldn’t control. You even had a basketball scholarship.

                      If you want to compare hurt, we can go down that destructive path, but you will look like a fool.

                    4. “There’s nothing more disgusting than a black bigot.”

                      If ever you choose to defend something I wrote, please don’t, you are just digging the hole deeper.

          2. It’s because that is just one vocal wing of the party. There are plenty of us from the libertarian wing, and there are plenty of us from the atheist wing. We find the religion distasteful and distressing, but we find the policies espoused by, and the behavior of the Democrats more so.

            Absolutely nothing said by a Republican candidate, no matter how repugnant, is going to turn me into a big government, high tax, micromanaging regulator, liberal Democrat because ultimately I am an individual, not a member of some group.

          3. I am as curious as to why Log Cabin Republicans provide cover to the Republicans nationally who tell them every four years in their platform (when they used to have one) what they really think of them?

            Black gay men have higher HIV rates, and higher STD rates, than all other homosexual groups in America. HIV rates have been falling amongst all groups in America except blacks: they have maintained their plateau. Check the CDC site

            Hispanics used to be as homophobic as blacks, but they soon came to realize that their sons, grandsons, nephews, daughters, granddaughters, nieces needed their love and support after coming out of the closet. I saw it in Miami in the early 2000s with Cuban, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan grandmothers setting the trend. Blacks, on the other hand, never followed the trend because blacks do not have a unifying culture. They used to encompass mighty Gospel churches, known for their thunderous preachers, stomping choirs, swaying music, and overflowing church attendance. Sadly blacks threw that away, much like white “conservatives”, which means whatever they want it to mean. However blacks hang on to their dismissiveness of homosexuals because of their inordinate attachment to masculinity. The black male, as evidenced in black rap music, proudly rants about being a “brutha”, “your daddy”, and of course, a “n*gga”, which, in their twisted minds, exclude their depiction of a supposed homosexual, sissy, limp-wrist paradigm.

            To be a black lesbian is even worse. Ask Queen Latifah

            Black homophobia is kept a secret precisely because it shows the hypocrisy of blacks. However the US and African continent epidemiological data on HIV, STDs, and mental health problems within gay black men and women tell a troubling story. Few, very few, black HIV patients come to clinic with their families. Hispanics have a higher family participation, not great, but higher. Do a search on the internet using two words: “black homophobia”. it is all there.

            Stop Pretending to Be Shocked at Homophobia in the Black Community
            https://www.theroot.com/stop-pretending-to-be-shocked-at-homophobia-in-the-blac-1792228332

            As for GOP, it is all the same. It exists in Muslim, Jewish, Evangelical Christians, Catholics, liberal, left wing circles as well, e.g. ANTIFA BLM assaults on gay Asian conservative reporter, Andy Ngo, Bari Weiss, Andrew Sullivan, Dan Savage, etc. These reporters have written extensively about the attacks by the Left using gay slurs.

            People are people, Enigma. The sooner you see that, the sooner you can heal your toxic anger and perhaps be a better grandparent, parent, spouse and human being

          4. enigma—–President Trump was the first U.S. President to appoint an openly gay person to the President’s cabinet. I’m so proud of that fact, which cannot be disputed.

            1. That’s debatable as Grenell only served as “acting” director of DNI for four months. “Cabinet-level” isn’t quite the same as Cabinet Member. But I wasn’t blaming Trump, who viewed Grenell more as a Fox News personality than an openly gay man in my opinion. What do we know about Trump’s views on gay people. He is opposed to gay marriage.
              ““‘I have been against [same-sex marriage] from the standpoint of the Bible, from the standpoint of my teachings as growing up and going to Sunday school and going to church, and I’ve been opposed to it.””

              He also said, “America’s going to hell,” because the NFL defended the drafting of openly-gay Michael Sams.

              He was asked a long time ago what he thought about equal rights for gays. He must still be thinking because his only on-the-record- statement was, “I haven’t given it much thought.”

              I wasn’t talking about Trump but he probably isn’t the best example of tolerance, he of the Muslim Ban.

              1. enigma……President Trump appointed the first ever openly gay person to a Presidential Cabinet. NOT debatable.
                It’s sad that you are not able to admit that a girl like me is correct…….Must be learned behavior from your privileged, private high school days.

                1. He appointed someone to a “Cabinet-level” position for four months. He didn’t get confirmed as the actual DNI for reasons I don’t know. We’ll give Trump credit for that which doesn’t remove his previous statements.

                  For the record, my privileged, private high school days only involved the seventh grade. I might well have had more years there but the private school merged with a public school which was grades 7-12. I took the city bus to get there, transferring once which was typically an hour commute. My school was considered better than the school in my neighborhood and I was happy to go there. Y don’t know what you ascertain from that but have at it.

        2. Estovir…..and the Texas Dem members have conservative Christians in their lives…That’s usually the reason they’re liberals. They’re still rebelling against their Mommy’s ‘ strictness, and think Repub’s are taking away their fun, like sex on demand without consequences. Working with Texas Dems for 40 years is the reason I’m a conservative today. I could no longer take their hypocrisy when it came to morality, and the way they regarded women and gays. The derogatory names that the male Dem leaders called Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton were shocking.

          1. It is not shocking, Cindy, though for a group (Democrats) that likes to convey the impression that they are for minorities, the poor, the immigrant, yada yada yada, they’re are not. They are no better than Conservatives that like to say they are Christian, when you wouldnt find them anywhere near a Crisis Pregnancy Center, a prison, a homeless shelter to feed, clothe, heal, care for the needy.
            This is a point that Bishop Robert Barron addresses regularly: evangelize, get your hands dirty, smell like the sheep, lead by example. And yet, where are the conservative/liberal warriors when it comes to doing the work?

            There are some Democrats, some Republicans, etc that walk the talk, but from my experience, they are Christian first. Their identity is in Christ. Their political affiliation doesn’t come up nor do they wear it on their sleeves. I’m sick and tired of the “conservative vs liberal” tropes. They are pointless, they mean what ever the individuals want them to mean (a form of relativism), which is divorced from Christianity. To be a Christian means expectations. There are expectations that we must meet if we are to tell people we are Christian. Now, show me a devout Orthodox Jew, Muslim, Catholic, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu….and they don’t even have to identify their religion. It shows in their comportment.

            I had a very good friend who was an ER physician in Miami Beach, a devout Orthodox Jew. When the hospital would not allow Haitian immigrants, newly arrived, to be seen by the physicians because of lack of money or insurance, my Jewish physician friend would literally tend to them in the parking lot in the stealth of night. He did it at great risk of his job, but he said he could not allow them to be ignored. Now that’s the type of person who doesn’t need to advertise his political beliefs. I’ll take that type of Jew any day of the week than a ‘conservative’ or ‘progressive’. In Christ’s kingdom He won’t be asking us whether we were this or that political label. “Did you feed my sheep?” That’s what He will be looking for.

            Have a good weekend, Cindy. Be safe out there in TX

            1. Estovir…….I agree with and appreciate your thoughts. The conservative Christians who raised me taught me that Christ commanded us, individually, NOT as the government, to feed, clothe, love, shelter those less fortunate. You never hear about those people…..only about the ones who are with a government program, and/or have received a gov’t grant, etc, Being raised a Baptist, i was immersed in authentic meaningful, hands-on missions.every week, starting in early childhood. Baptists were also vehement about church-state separation…..and no prayers in schools!
              After middle age, and years of immature rebelling against conservatives, I realized and appreciated the wholesome, positive, productive goodness in the way I was taught as a child….this, as I watched the Left sail further out to sea on their toxic Ship of Fools.
              It was not a tough decision to return to the Christianity of my heritage .The Democrats made it easy for me.
              You have a nice weekend, too.

              1. The conservative Christians who raised me taught me that Christ commanded us, individually, NOT as the government, to feed, clothe, love, shelter those less fortunate.

                The Florida Legislature is a parttime legislature. Their legislative sessions are for 60 days out of the year. The rest of the year the state legislators return home and work their real jobs. Ive been saying for years that the US Congress should follow that model. Our Federal Govt is entirely out of control as to size, influence, and meddling in our lives. To your point, the largest US charitable organizations, according to Forbes, are populated by religious groups. No surprise there.

                I find that to be the case locally as well. The largest health care provider in Richmond for the uninsured, financially poor, and non-Medicaid eligible, is run by a religious group. Ive been working with them for years. The state will not see these patients on a continuous basis because they must have insurance, financial resources or be a Medicaid participant.

                For all of the bellyaching by the Left about religion in America, the Left is no where to be found when it comes to caring for the poor, the hungry, the immigrant, the sick, the orphaned, marginalized, etc.

                Take a look at the Forbes list.

                https://www.forbes.com/top-charities/list/#tab:rank

                Religious groups lead the list: United Way (#1), Salvation Army (#3), St Jude’s Children (#4), Habitat for Humanity (#6), YMCA (#8), Compassion International (#10), Catholic Charities USA (#11), etc.

                The largest global charitable organization is the Catholic Church.

                Notice the ranking of Planned Barrenhood in the Forbes list: #30. Their main source of revenue: US Federal Govt. The Feds should stop granting financial resources to any and all charitable groups and let them be self-sustaining. Chances of people, Left or Right, stepping in to fill the gap? we know the answer to that question.

      2. You are right EB, the right tries to follow the Ten Commandments. The left? Not so much.

  11. You must be an atheist to become a Supreme Court judge. Or maybe a Satan worshipper. Or only pray to Aztec gods as outlined in new California guidelines. There you go. We’ll get these new laws into an executive order right before we go into packing the court with twenty or so new members. ~Joe Biden~

  12. Examine exactly why totalitarians, control religion, or ban it entirely.
    That examination will inform you about the action of our leftists in the United States.

    Fear is a powerful motivator.

  13. Separation of church and state is not in the constitution. It only says that congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion. In other words, no state religion. Many states for decades afterwords had state religions since they were not inhibited by the constitution from doing so. Those eventually were removed. And then there is the second part of the sentence (Congress) nor prohibit the free exercise thereof. In other words lay off the people who are praying whether in church or the street corner. I believe it was Jefferson that coined the phrase separation of the state and religion, but again, he did not write the constitution and it is not so stated in the constitution. Ancient History is dotted with many empires which had state religions but also had tolerance for other religions including Rome, Persia, et all. Much of Rome’s actions against Jews or Christians were policies of specific emperors or specific subgroups who rebelled against Rome. Imperial Rome had legal and unmolested synagogues spread through the city. Does this mean that Imperial Rome was more tolerant of religion than many liberals and progressives of today. One might draw that conclusion.

    1. I would argue that both sides of the political lines are guilty. It all depends on their politics at the moment. I wonder if it was a Muslim coach saying a prayer in a baptist majority school would have the same support. I wonder if the right would be so supportive and the left be so against it.

      1. Was that coach that was praying working at a Muslim school?? NO!! Then this is apples and oranges.

        1. Really? He prayed at a Christian religious school? That is funny, I thought it was a public high school. The fact it is not a religious or private high school does not make Apple to Oranges. My statement stands.

      2. Quiet Man, I am Muslim and have prayed both publicly and silently. Nobody ever bothered me. You don’t have to worry about me.

        1. Fair enough. I will not worry about you at all. How about the person that does not or cannot stand alone or is threatened directly or indirectly? How about when one in a hundred has to take a stand to NOT have to share a prayer? Should they be critiqued? This is not about religion for me, but the appearance of problems for those not in a majority and coerced.

          Out of curiosity, will you tell me what part of the country you live? The reason I ask is that I am curious how you have avoided being bothered. I wonder if it is the area in which you reside.

      3. I understand the coach’s actions were his alone and not interfering with those things already planned to happen. The left is responsible for making a big thing out of this incident.

      4. Muslim coaches and teachers are already praying in school. Specific rooms have been isolated, just for them.
        Google Dearborn Michigan, Muslim, public schools, accommodation. Interesting stuff. Mostly that you are just making stuff up.

        1. So one school district is the entire country? I also point out if this in fact praying schools, this will be challenged at some point and I will not be surprised when a different religion demands the same treatment.

          BTW,

          Exactly what am I making up?

          1. The school is not challenging. I just pointed our you were making up what would happen, by giving examples of what exactly has not happened. This has been going on for years. The neat thing about Muslims. If you challenge them, they often lop your head off. The dead artists at Charlie Hebdo, learned that the hard way. Christians tend to vote, and work within the structure of society.

    2. GEB:

      The logic has always been you cannot expressly establish a state religion nor may you establish its tenets which would of course be tantamount to the same thing. So in the 60s if I passed a law saying no meat on Friday for everyone, the establishment clause would still be triggered since it would mandate a tenet without an actual named religion.

      1. “The logic has always been you cannot expressly establish a state religion “

        Mespo, when you say ‘state religion’, I assume you mean federal not state, as in the 50 states. In earlier periods of time, as you know, some states established a state religion and state taxes could even go to support it. This confuses some people on the left.

        The left doesn’t like to play second fiddle to family or religion. The state, especially a leftist one is power hungry.

      2. Well the Netherlands is now in a crisis because the state is trying to have 30% of livestock destroyed in pursuit of climate change policy and the new liberal world order would have us all not eat meat but go veggie in order to adhere to their climate change god. Sounds like a religion to me. Maybe Congress should declare climate change a state religion and invalidate all it’s claims. You are in effect saying not eating meat on Friday in the 1960’s was an evil, if legislated, but forcing people, by law, to not eat meat in 2022 is ok because we have a different god now.

      3. Not so sure Mesp

        Lots of blue laws on the books.
        To this day, Car Dealerships can not do business on Sunday in Iowa. Talked to a new dealership owner, he specifically moved to Iowa, so he would not have to work Sundays. Liquor laws have been loosened, but were banned in Iowa, 50 years ago. Some Local laws restrict business on Sundays. Dutch Reform communities.

  14. The constitutional Oath of Office – which includes the First Amendment’s religious clause – only applies to officials job authority. Justices and judges are free to worship in their private capacity. The Oath of Office does prohibit an official from imposing their religious interpretations onto the rest of us.

    To be genuinely “conservative” means you adhere to constitutional due process – as their oath mandates – even if the end result is viewed as liberal politically.

    For example: constitutionally speaking, things like equal marriage rights were achieved through a “conservative” constitutional due process. This result was built upon decades old precedent in cases like “Loving v. Virginia” that overturned state laws banning interracial marriage.

    This is what is disturbing about Clarence Thomas’ extremely liberal interpretation of constitutional due process (in his recent opinion). Thomas seems to start with a theocratic nanny-state end goal instead of using conservative constitutional due process.

    Remember, the First Amendment was created because one Christian denomination (Anglican Church) was persecuting other Christians with different Christian interpretations. Thomas is free to worship privately but not allowed to impose his religious interpretation onto the rest of us.

  15. Hey all U Marxist WOKIES, there are TWO parts, in the 1st Ammendment regarding religion, you love to quote the 1st part but leave out the second. You must think ANYONE slurping up your KoolAid is to loop stooooooooopid to look up the second part which has the words, “Shall not be infringed”, meaning YOU can NOT stop people from FREELY exercising their, CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED RIGHT to engage in the practice of their religion. U R SO DISHONEST!! But that’s how Marxism works, lie to the people you want to control. So, in parting, I will say this, “God bless you.

  16. Liberals today are the equivalent of those who believed the earth was flat. They need no actual “proof,” only some vague insinuation by one of their “leaders.” You can’t talk reasonably with them because they have only one setting: nuts.

    1. Comparing Liberals to Flat Earthers misses the point. There is plenty of evidence that world is not flat, which Flat Earthers ignore. Prove there is a God. Since there is no proof, it is called faith.

      What is by far the better comparison is comparing Liberals to Conservatives. They BOTH substitute their interpretation of the law as fact and denounce the other. Funny how that works…

  17. Radical Lefties want the end of all Prayer….and the banning of all religion…the end of Spirituality.

    They want worship of government be the only such activity…..can you say Communism?

    Oh….by the way…the truth or the Truth is something they care not to impeded their agenda.

    I cannot remember anytime Prayer harmed anyone.

    1. It’s not the prayer itself that is the problem. It’s the appearance of a conflict of interest. Justices are supposed to be impartial and that impartiality is crucial in keeping the trust of the public about their decisions. Otherwise they will be deemed biased and untrustworthy in the eyes of the public. It’s the exact opposite of what judges or justices are supposed to be.

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