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Two terrifying examples of how SCOTUS has eviscerated the original meaning of the Constitution

Published in Blog on February 28, 2019 by Article V Patriot

You've probably heard about the controversy surrounding a 40-foot cross in Bladensburg, Maryland, that honors the men who died defending liberty in World War I.

Because the cross is located on public land, some believe the cross represents a violation of the First Amendment. Others understand that the cross does not establish a national religion, as the Constitution forbids, but merely honors fallen defenders of our nation.

The case has made it's way all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the justices will decide the issue.  

Unfortunately, as Convention of States National Legislative Strategist Rita Dunaway explains in a recent op-ed on The Steam, even the judges who value the original meaning of the Constitution must contend with decades of bad precedent.

The Court has so warped the Founders' intentions for the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause that the outcome of the decision is anything but assured.

Dunaway explains:

Let’s start with the “Establishment Clause,” which forbids Congress to make laws establishing a national religion. You may well wonder: how could a cross-shaped war memorial, built with private funds on land later acquired by the state of Maryland, amount to Congress establishing a religion?

The answer can’t be found in the Constitution, of course. It can only be found by those who have waded through court cases in which the Establishment Clause has been stretched, twisted, and otherwise bent out of its original shape.

Through those cases, one learns that courts must now apply the Clause not only to Congress, but to all levels and branches of government and all their officials. One learns that courts have tried out various “tests” for expressions of faith in the public square. The one now in vogue may be the worst of the bunch. It asks whether someone might perceive a government “endorsement” of religion.

Under this framework, any speech, monument, display, or policy that is not hostile to religion could be struck down. Three men and the American Humanist Association view the Peace Cross as an official “endorsement” of religion. It offends them. And so the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it illegal.

Let’s hope that the Supreme Court overrules the bad decision. The First Amendment does not protect humanists from having their feelings hurt by exposure to religious symbols. It protects them from being compelled to support the religions that the symbols represent.

The Court's interpretation of the Free Exercise Clause hasn't been much better:

Let’s also hope that the Supreme Court takes every opportunity to correct bad case law surrounding the Free Exercise Clause. Because sadly, this has become the active front in the battle for religious liberty.

Those who don’t support real religious freedom apply shocking double standards in this area. On the one hand, they sue the state to protect their sensibilities from the mere sight of a religious symbol. On the other hand, they invoke the state’s power to force a Christian to violate her beliefs by servicing a same-sex wedding.

Is the burden higher on the commuter, forced to either feel uncomfortable for a few seconds by seeing a cross someone else made, or to avert his eyes? Or is the burden higher on the Christian baker, florist, or photographer, forced to spend hours or days actually making the thing that violates her beliefs?

The first burden is the cost of living in a society with people who don’t share all of our views. The second burden is one that no member of a free society ought ever bear. As James Madison once said, each person belongs to civil society “with a saving of his allegiance to the universal sovereign.”

But sadly, many courts have ruled that one’s religious freedom can be trumped by other “interests,” like the interest of a same-sex couple in having a particular Christian service their wedding.

As Dunaway so convincingly proves, even justices who care about the Founders' intention for the Constitution may not be able to override years of judicial activism regarding the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses.

That's why we need to call an Article V Convention of States. A Convention of States can propose constitutional amendments that clarify these and other portions of the Constitution that activist judges have taken advantage of. 

Only via constitutional amendments can we effectively reverse the last 100 years of judicial activism and restore our country to a true constitutional republic with a limited federal government.

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