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DANIELS: The Supreme Court's 'Religious Freedom' Scam

Lee A. Daniels | 7/9/2014, 3 p.m.
Last week, the Supreme Court issued two decisions that the Court's conservative majority and the larger conservative movement pretended were ...
Lee A. Daniels

That became even clearer once it issued the Wheaton College ruling.

Given that it is indeed a “fiction” to pretend the ruling was not a politically driven gift to the Christian right, here are some questions to think about:

How long will it be before some conservative Christian business owners require their female employees to wear dresses (no slacks, please) down to their ankles? And for all employees to genuflect before crosses set up at entrances to their businesses? And to join them in “prayer sessions” before and after the workday? And to attend only those houses of worship they “approve” of?

And how long will it be before some white business owners claim—as in the Jim Crow days—that their  “religious beliefs” require that they not serve or employ Black Americans? Or, will they try that on Muslim Americans first? Or gays and lesbians? Or Hispanic Americans? Or Jewish Americans?

If those possibilities sound far-fetched to you, you’ve forgotten that for most of American history, the “white” version of Christianity was part and parcel of the many crackpot justifications for the exclusion and oppression of women and Americans of color.  And you’ve forgotten that the Court’s conservative majority crafted numerous “fictions” in its 2010 Citizens United decision to enable corporations to make unrestricted political contributions, and again in the 2013 decisions that significantly narrowed affirmative action and voting rights protections.

Those facts underscore that there’s little in the Christian right’s efforts to limit the freedom of others that the Supreme Court’s “5 political operatives” (as a headline in The Huffington Post so accurately put it) will consider “far-fetched.”

Lee A. Daniels is a longtime journalist based in New York City. His latest book is "Last Chance: The Political Threat to Black America."