Freethought Caucus: Brett Kavanaugh’s Views on Religious Liberty Are “Alarming” September 9, 2018

Freethought Caucus: Brett Kavanaugh’s Views on Religious Liberty Are “Alarming”

The big fear, if Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court, is that he will work to overturn Roe vs. Wade. This is an entirely valid fear, because yes, he will definitely do that. He never would have been recommended by the Federalist Society if that were not the case. If confirmed, the right to abortion will no longer exist at a federal level, and it will likely become illegal to obtain one in most states.

He’s a threat not only to the right to choose, but also to the right to birth control. On Thursday, Kavanaugh referred to birth control pills as “abortion-inducing drugs,” which is in no way what birth control pills are. The idea of someone that ignorant being appointed to the Supreme Court should send chills down our collective spines.

However, as a letter written to Sens. Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein by the Congressional Freethought Caucus points out, this is far from the only way in which Kavanaugh would be absolutely terrible for our country.

His messed up ideas about abortion and birth control don’t exist in a vacuum. They’re part of a whole theocratic worldview. He presents a danger to anyone in possession of a uterus, anyone who is LGBTQ, and anyone who doesn’t want religion forced upon them or their tax dollars furthering religious ends.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation applauded the letter as well as the Freethought Caucus members and other House members who signed it. All told, 15 Democrats signed onto the letter (though Rep. Dan Kildee, a member of the Freethought Caucus, isn’t one of those people for some reason).

The letter points out that Kavanaugh simply does not believe church and state ought to be separate. He has, in fact, said that the idea of a wall between the two is “wrong as a matter of law and history.” He has argued that public schools should have the right to proselytize to children over the loudspeakers. He believes that private religious schools should benefit from vouchers — which is essentially a direct transfer of taxpayer dollars to religious institutions. He has said that he will not uphold the Lemon test — which holds that “all government actions must have a secular purpose, that they must not have a primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion, and that they do not lead to excessive religious entanglement” — in regards to Establishment Clause cases.

In fact, he doesn’t even seem to believe in the Establishment Clause at all.

Kavanaugh has shown that in matters of church and state, he will always side with the church, no matter how absurd that church’s request may be. There’s also reason to believe he won’t be objective in cases involving Christianity. This is a man who didn’t think it was an “undue burden” for an immigrant teenager in a federal detention center to wait a while before getting an abortion, but thought it was a “substantial burden” for religious business owners to fill out five blanks in a two-page form if they didn’t want their employees’ health insurance to include birth control. The letter says, “For Kavanaugh, filling out a form burdens religion, but forcing a child to give birth is not a burden.”

The letter also points out that church/state separation doesn’t just benefit the non-religious, noting that the “wall of separation is critical because genuine religious freedom requires a secular government.” That’s true! Hell, the first person to cite a need for such a wall was Roger Williams, the Baptist preacher who founded the state of Rhode Island as a refuge for religious minorities to believe whatever they damn well pleased.

That should still hold true today. Americans should not have their tax money used to promote religious beliefs they don’t subscribe to. They should not have their employers’ religious beliefs forced upon them. They should be able to send their kids to public schools without fear of religious indoctrination.

Kavanaugh has zero history of putting his own religious beliefs aside and ruling objectively on those issues. He has shown, repeatedly, that he’s willing to override precedent in those situations.

A Supreme Court justice should represent all of our interests, not just the interests of people who share the judge’s religious views. The fact that there’s no reason to think he has everyone’s best interests at heart ought to disqualify him entirely.

(Screenshot via YouTube)

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