Holy Rollers, the High Court, and the Paradox of Liberty

Categories:  News & Politics    Opinion
Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 at 3:17 PM
Holy Rollers, the High Court, and the Paradox of Liberty by Jim Wertz
Image Courtesy of Patheos.com

In a week when the Supreme Court rejected the appeals of five states that sought to enforce prohibitions on same-sex marriage -- prohibitions that are principally religious in nature -- one of those states is under fire for zealous religious promotion by a state trooper.

An Indiana woman and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed a lawsuit against the Indiana State Police after one of its troopers pulled the woman over to give her a religious pamphlet, according to the complaint.  

Trooper Brian Hamilton allegedly pulled over Ellen Bogden and asked her if Jesus was her Lord and Savior and if she had a “home church.” After saying that she did not, Trooper Hamilton asked her to acknowledge that she was indeed a sinner as he gave her a pamphlet for “Policing for Jesus” ministries.

According to Bogden, the trooper had his emergency lights on throughout the stop and she believed that she had no right to leave the traffic stop. And why would she?

The Indiana State Police states that it has no specific policy prohibiting its troopers from disseminating religious information to the public.

This case bubbles to the surface as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told students and faculty at Colorado Christian University that the government can favor religion over non-religion in its construction and interpretation of the law.

For a constitutional originalist, like Scalia, it seems odd for him to make such a claim given that such interpretations of the First Amendment are generally rejected.

We don’t know how many justices voted against hearing the appeals to uphold same-sex marriage. Four justices must approve of a case’s constitutional merit for it to come before the Court.

So as you and your partner race off to the courthouse to file for the marriage licenses that the Supreme Court has tacitly supported, be sure to dangle your rosary from your rear view mirror. That should keep the Christian guard at bay long enough to say “I do.”  

Erie Reader: Vol. 7, No. 13
Now Available — Pick It Up Today

CURRENT

Dr. Ferki Ferati will succeed Dr. William P. Gary as the head of Erie's think tank

Innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders shaping the future of Erie

Centenarian building serves criminally good drinks, eats

Thousands of music enthusiasts from all across the country flock to the Great Blue Heron Music Festival.

Don’t Blink Photography and Design along with The Box will is putting together Humanity Against Heroin fundraiser.

IN THIS ISSUE

Innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders shaping the future of Erie

Centenarian building serves criminally good drinks, eats

Thousands of music enthusiasts from all across the country flock to the Great Blue Heron Music Festival.

Don’t Blink Photography and Design along with The Box will is putting together Humanity Against Heroin fundraiser.

Big Thief are able to communicate emotions with heartbreaking accuracy.

East High School Tribute

Uncanny advertising and meth-fueled hotwiring 

Catch some of Erie’s best original musicians while helping to support a great cause.

Goodell Gardens and friends present the gardens’ third annual Botanical Beverages event.

Beach Fossils continue to raise the bar for themselves