Home Christian News Court’s Term Delivers Wins for Life, Religious Liberty

Court’s Term Delivers Wins for Life, Religious Liberty

In the term’s decisions on a Maine school-choice program and especially Kennedy, the justices “really slammed the door” on government use of the Establishment Clause to discriminate against religious individuals, Theriot told BP. The court said, ‘No, these folks have religious convictions, and you can’t use the First Amendment as a justification for censoring or discriminating against them,’” he said.

In the term’s other rulings seen by most religious freedom advocates as victories, the Supreme Court:

— Ruled in a 6-3 opinion the state of Maine offended the First Amendment’s guarantee of the free exercise of religion by prohibiting faith-based schools from participation in a tuition-assistance program. Carson v. Makin, issued June 21, was the latest in a series of decisions in recent years in which the high court has ruled states may not exclude religious individuals and institutions when it makes public benefits available to all. It also clarified the Free Exercise Clause bars such discrimination on the basis of not only religious status but on the basis of the use of such benefits.

— Decided unanimously May 2 the city of Boston violated the First Amendment’s right to free speech by prohibiting the flying of the Christian flag when it permitted other groups to fly their flags on the City Hall plaza. In Shurtleff v. City of Boston, the justices said the policy also constituted discrimination based on “religious viewpoint.”

RELATED: Supreme Court: Religious Schools Must Get Maine Tuition Aid

— Supported in an 8-1 ruling March 24 a condemned Texas inmate’s request to have his Southern Baptist pastor lay hands on and pray aloud for him when he receives a lethal injection. The justices said in Ramirez v. Collier the prisoner “is likely to succeed in showing [the state’s] policy substantially burdens his exercise of religion” by barring his pastor from ministering to him as requested.

The ERLC signed onto friend-of-the-court briefs in support of the parties that prevailed in all the church-state cases, as well as Dobbs. In the brief in the Dobbs case, the Southern Baptist entity urged the justices not only to uphold the Mississippi law but to reverse Roe.

In other abortion-related actions during the term, the high court:

— Ruled in an 8-1 decision March 3 that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron will be allowed to defend the state’s 2018 ban of dismemberment or D&E abortions on unborn children who are still alive. Cameron had sought permission after another state official declined to continue defending the law. — Decided in December 2021 the Texas ban on the abortion of a preborn child whose heartbeat can be detected may remain in effect while it is being challenged in court. The justices returned the case to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The law, which has been in effect for all but two days since Sept. 1 of last year, prohibits abortions as early as five to six weeks into pregnancy.

This article originally appeared at Baptist Press.