Raven at San Jacinto

Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Catholic Court

An auto de fe in the marketplace. Burning the heretics - After Fleury

I used to be happy that I lived in a democracy.  It appears that it is quickly turning into a theocracy before our eyes. We got a taste of it last week when witnessing the new shift in our Supreme Court, which ruled that legislatures' attempts to limit the reach of a grave pandemic ran afoul of "religious liberty."

This sort of ruling is not just endemic to our country, we are seeing similar actions by theocratic governments around the world, like in Poland. The Catholic government recently issued new and very draconian abortion measures that have been met with mass protests in the streets.

On 22 October 2020, Polish Constitutional Tribunal found that abortion in the case of severe fetal defects is inconsistent with Article 38 of the Polish Constitution.

The chief justice, Julia Przyłębska, said in a ruling that existing legislation – one of Europe's most restrictive – that allows for the abortion of malformed fetuses was incompatible with the constitution. After the ruling goes into effect, abortion will only be permissible in Poland in the case of rape, incest or a threat to the mother’s health and life, which make up only about 2% of legal terminations conducted in recent years.

When the clergy runs the show, troubles soon follow. There have been similar rulings in America of late, in Colorado, Louisiana and most notably Tennessee, where legislators passed a stealth bill five month ago outlawing abortion at six weeks that has been recently ratified by a Federal Appeals Court.

It bans abortion outright for juvenile women in state foster care and bans abortion if sought because of a Down’s syndrome diagnosis, or because of gender or race. There are no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

Gov. Lee celebrated Friday's ruling on Twitter, writing, "Every life is precious and every child has inherent human dignity."
"Our law prohibits abortion based on the race, gender, or diagnosis of Down syndrome of the child and the court's decision will save lives," the governor said. "Protecting our most vulnerable Tennesseans is worth the fight."

Call me old fashioned but I tend to trust women in these matters. While I would personally disapprove of  terminating a life because of gender or race I do have a problem forcing a mother to not only carry a brain damaged child to term but to raise and care for the child for the balance of their lives. It sounds easy until you have to do it, I am sure. Some are admirably up to the task. And some mothers are clearly not capable, financially, emotionally, or otherwise. To force this duty on them for the rest of their life seems cruel and barbaric to me. And oftentimes, sadly, the progeny becomes a ward of the state.

We currently have the most religiously unbalanced court we have ever had. Six Catholics, one lapsed Catholic/Episcopalian and two Jews. This clearly does not represent the heterogeneous religious or spiritual views of our country. The GOP, principally Mitch McConnell and Larry Leo and his Federalist Society cronies have done a remarkable job stacking the courts with right wing evangelicals. Thanks, Jim Comey. Without you, none of this would be possible.

Look for more edicts that seek to force our justices' inherent and holier than thou religious beliefs on our society as a whole. They are human and it would be impossible not to. So look for puritanism to win the day, in the near term at least.

Would be nice to have a Buddhist, Methodist or Unitarian on the court or god forbid, even an atheist or two. But that is not the hand that we have been dealt, we instead essentially now have the Catholic court and I personally look towards its future rulings with dread.


Jon Harwood said...

I am trying to be sanguine about this ruling. While the court could have interpreted the law to allow limits on services the court wasn't completely out in space with this one as it is easy to interpret the constitutions strong religious freedom protections as limiting the ability of governments to control access to religious facilities. It CLEARLY IS a danger to others and I wish they had not done it.

As long as I keep my reasoning and attention on the more or less abstract principles I can kinda put up with this decision. If I look at it through the lens you are using (the relentless push toward authoritarian-religious rule) I just start screaming and want to run for the hills (oops, I guess Fallbrook is the hills).

Overall I am really concerned that so many are unable to comply with the medical recommendations. If COVID goes exponential again as it seems it might it will be a really difficult winter. My wife's son has a new COVID case acquired as a jail nurse in Arizona, so the fear is more personal now. Many are likely to know someone who died of COVID by next year. Perhaps they will come to the senses when the extent of the damage and pain becomes clear.

Wilbur Norman said...

Yes, I look to the court's future rulings with dread. Perhaps if Georgia comes thru in January the Congress might balance some of the rulings we will undoubtedly get.

As I am wont to tell jerks who did not vote in 2016: you get the government you deserve, with the problem that the rest of us have to live with it, too.

aferda said...

I don't believe you ever stated what you are objecting to in this specific ruling. The court said that you cannot single out religious observance / institutions when you create executive orders. However they stated that governments can make a rule that applies to any organization, including religious ones, that has certain characteristics (assembling more than x people indoors for example). The specific NY order, was simply unconstitutional because it treated religious assembly differently from other types of assembly. I hope you would agree that this is clearly unconstitutional. This court ruling does not prevent sensible public health orders in a pandemic, just governments issuing unconstitutional orders.

Instead you appear to attack the court because they do not profess to be atheists, agnostics or at least represent the country's religious makeup. What you seem to demand is exactly what our constitution was written to protect us from: a religious conformity test enacted by the government.

Blue Heron said...

No, I am saying seven catholics will have the tendency to vote catholic, protestations of objectivity aside. I am definitely showing my bias on your first point, I believe that the ability to go to a store and procure food for your body trumps the need to obtain the spiritual food that some obviously require, the latter something that can be done in your car or in your home I am assuming if your faith is sufficient.