July 29, 2022

"It is hard to convince people that religious liberty is worth defending if they don’t think that religion is a good thing that deserves protection."

"The challenge for those who want to protect religious liberty in the United States, Europe, and other similar places is to convince people who are not religious that religious liberty is worth special protection.... If religious liberty is protected, religious leaders and other men and women of faith will be able to speak out on social issues. People with deep religious convictions may be less likely to succumb to dominating ideologies or trends, and more likely to act in accordance with what they see as true and right. Civil society can count on them as engines of reform.... The Cultural Revolution [in China] did its best to destroy religion, but it was not successful. It could not extinguish the religious impulse. Our hearts are restless until we rest in God. And, therefore, the champions of religious liberty who go out as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves can expect to find hearts that are open to their message."


45 comments:

Kevin said...

The larger issue is we seem to care only about the freedoms we choose to enjoy, and not the freedoms of others.

This is not an issue restricted to religion.

Lem said...

It never entered my mind justice Alito was saying those words. An advantage of reading from a phone?

gilbar said...

People with deep religious convictions may be less likely to succumb to dominating ideologies or trends,

The thing of it is:
the dominating ideologies or trends, so called "Non-religious" stuff, are Deeply religious.
It's NOT that the "Non-religious" people don't think that religion is a good thing that deserves protection.. It's that they think 'religion' is HERESY, and should be persecuted.

Everyone (EVERY ONE) must succumb to the dominating ideologies or trends.. Or they Must be Burnt!

Humperdink said...

"Our hearts are restless until we rest in God. And, therefore, the champions of religious liberty who go out as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves can expect to find hearts that are open to their message."

He's right of course. It's been my experience that people who have tried everything except God, still have a hole in their hearts.

Dave Begley said...

“ Our hearts are restless until we rest in God.”

Alito wrote that line and his entire speech.

Kai Akker said...

Will the succeeding generation of lawyers have notable members suitable for high court appointments with the same historical understanding as Alito references here?

Think of the difference in pre-collegiate schooling, and the difference in critical thinking traditions in universities.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

The core issue is how do you ensure commonly-called "separation of church and state" when for a third of the population the State IS their religion? More constitutionally framed, how do you prevent the State from establishing ITSELF as the official religion ... all in the name of preventing the nonexistent chance that some other religion might otherwise be "established"?

rehajm said...

It's been my experience that people who have tried everything except God, still have a hole in their hearts

Go ahead and think like that but that’s the origin of the trouble right there- those people are broken. Inevitably people start trying to fix the broken people. The baptists tried to fix me and my family because we were catholic…

Freedom of/freedom from. Some of us mocked the they’re coming for vasectomies guy. Someone probably is…

RideSpaceMountain said...

"dominating ideologies or trends"

Do I really have to consider scientology and mormonism has religions Sam? Really? I'm actually really for religious liberty, but some 'religions' really stretch my rationality.

OK ok...I'll compromise with you. How about I expand my boundaries of believability to the scientologists and mormons, draw my line at branch-covidians. Sound good?

Richard Aubrey said...

"People with deep religious convictions may be less likely to succumb to dominating ideologies or trends, and more likely to act in accordance with what they see as true and right"

This is a bug, not a feature.

Temujin said...

My first thought was that Justice Alito could not have given his speech on religion on the campus of Notre Dame in South Bend. It would have been protested and threatened to the point where the ND administration- religious or not- would have shut it down for fear of...something. That he had to give this speech to an affiliation of Notre Dame over in Rome speaks volumes.

It's not that people today don't think religion is worth preserving. It's that they've been taught- for a few decades now- to replace those traditional religions with the newer, 'more inclusive' secular religions, which look at all beings as equal. Except for white men, white straight women, traditionally religious people, conservatives, and anyone who does not believe the world will end in 8 years of we don't stop eating meat.

Seriously, the progressive religious are more fanatical than any current traditional religion. And they are so progressive that their sacraments and dogma change on the fly. Almost weekly. How can traditional religion stand up to that sort of 'new and exciting' belief set which holds 'furries' as an approved victim group, and tells you that everyone you know is guilty- but you're not, you are pure.

Alito says that "The Cultural Revolution [in China] did its best to destroy religion, but it was not successful." On this I'd disagree with him. I'd say it was pretty damned successful. It wiped out a nation, an entire culture. It did what it set out to do. It erased the board, and allowed the new religion- the State- to set the new religious speak, the new dogma, the new rules. It's happening here now. At least the battle is on now.

Perhaps at some point in the future, Justice Alito will be able to give such a speech in South Bend, and not have to run to Rome to do so. And if not, we'll know who won the war.

Ann Althouse said...

"Alito wrote that line and his entire speech."

How do you know if he wrote his own speech?

Jersey Fled said...

Do I really have to consider scientology and mormonism has (sic) religions?

No. All we ask is that you respect the rights of others to call it a religion.

Gusty Winds said...

What is Alito talking about? Liberals in Illinois have made great efforts to protect Religious Liberty. They have fought for and allowed the Satanic Church to have a display at the state capitol next to the Nativity scene.

In WI our Liberal Governor renamed the Christmas Tree, the “Science Tree”. Secularism is their religion. Libs and Atheists are their own god. A breaking of the First Commandment, but that’s just splitting hairs. The way they use “science” to push fake agendas, and fear is a huge part of their religion, and it is well protected.

Global Warming, Climate Change, mRNA Vaccines, masks, 31 genders...fetuses aren’t alive. All of these things require a leap of faith accompanied by a heavy-handed dose of dogma.

God help us all.

Humperdink said...

Hump said: It's been my experience that people who have tried everything except God, still have a hole in their hearts

rehajm responded "Go ahead and think like that but that’s the origin of the trouble right there- those people are broken. Inevitably people start trying to fix the broken people."

You totally misunderstand being a believer. I can't fix you or broken people. Only God do that. You have a free will. Someone apparently presented the Gospel to you and you rejected it. That's your choice. I have seen numerous people (too many to count) whose lives were turned around by becoming a believer in Jesus.

If I am wrong about Jesus, I have lived a good life. If you wrong, well good luck with that.

Tina Trent said...

Well, he's obviously a disciplined and politically sophisticated person. It's extremely unlikely that he didn't at least carefully read and approve every word of the speech in advance. He presented it as his own words, so they are his own words now.

It also sounds like his work in other settings. Not proof, of course, and some part of that writing is done by clerks. But he has to approve and represent their writing as well.

aleyda said...

I see religious beliefs as silly as gener self identification. I am OK with everyone believing or thinking whatever they want, but I dont think feelings or beliefs deserve specific protections in law other than your freedom to think what you want.

I am however against double standards in law based on personal beliefs, for instance, religious sacrifices of animals (when there are animal welfare laws dictating how cattle must be butchered for everyone else), objection of conscience in certain lines of work (choose another profession if you dont like it), child marriage... and against legislating for endless amounts of selfidentification options, forcing churches to marry gay couples, forcing unisex toilets, changing names of things to please a few.

Believe what you want, say what you want, be free to judge others and feel free to feel offended. Be civil.

Humperdink said...

Even Bob Dylan got it:

You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody

Ernest said...

The line “Our hearts are restless until we rest in God” is derived from Augustine of Hippo, Confessions Book 1, Section 1: “. . . you have made us and drawn us to yourself, and our heart is unquiet until it rests in you.” The Confessions, Maria Boulding trans. (New City Press 1997), 39.

Sebastian said...

"It is hard to convince people that religious liberty is worth defending if they don’t think that religion is a good thing that deserves protection."

True, but a little late, considering that the point of the prog culture war since, oh, 1789, has been to wipe out religion as prejudice that stands in the way of progress.

Wince said...

Religious people now need to sit their children down and have "the talk" about systemic discrimination.

rhhardin said...

Religious liberty seems to mean carving out exemptions to bad laws based on religion rather than fighting the bad laws directly. As if this or that ritual gained privilege by being religiously motivated.

For example, freedom of association ought to be more general than religious exemptions want to fight for.

rhhardin said...

He's mocking knee-jerk reactions by the religious right, which he regards as stupid as the ones on the left.

Mark said...

"Alito wrote that line and his entire speech."

How do you know if he wrote his own speech?

The same way we know that you write your own blog posts.

Don't be petty. Do better.

Achilles said...

When Atheism and Climate Change are properly labeled Religions people who believe in Atheism/Secularism and the Climate Change Cult will find newfound respect for Religious Freedom.

Cappy said...

It's hard to convince. It's easier to shut down.

Critter said...

Are children being taught the truth that it was deeply religious Christians who were responsible for the end of slavery in England and the U.S.? Not by force, but by winning the hearts and minds of people who were then willing to give their lives in battle to free the slaves.

People do not even credit religious people with creating a civil society that was the envy of the world. At least until progressives/Marxists came along.

Dylan addressed this with the following lyric:

I crossed the green mountain, I slept by the stream
Heaven blazin’ in my head, I dreamt a monstrous dream
Something came up out of the sea
Swept through the land of the rich and the free

n.n said...

Religion establishes a behavioral protocol: morality in a universal frame, its relativistic sibling ethics, and their politically congruent cousin law, dictated by God, gods and goddesses, mortal gods and goddesses, and experts of diverse colors. Principles matter.

Inga said...

“In WI our Liberal Governor renamed the Christmas Tree, the “Science Tree”.”

This is untrue. The tree was renamed the Holiday Tree.

rcocean said...

here's the thing. Religious leaders are going to have to fight. Becuause if you don't fight the athiests and the God haters, they're going to destroy your religious liberty. But I don't see any fight in this crop of leaders. Onward Christians soldiers? More like, onward Christian sheep.

Look at the Pope, look at the Church of England aka Episcipalions or other mainline churches. Empty pews and liberal Churchmen who march with pussy hats. If its up to those people, kiss Religious liberty goodbye!

iowan2 said...

I see religious beliefs as silly as gener self identification.

Like:

love your neighbor as you love yourself

judge not lest you be judged

Do not murder

accept your fellow man

Be of service to your neighbor

Forgive others as you forgive yourself


Which beliefs bother you

Joe Smith said...

God. Country. Notre Dame.

They are in that order for a reason...

Narr said...

It's always amusing to see those who are terrified of atheists and secularists pretend that us outsiders are the problem.

Religion has discredited itself in the eyes of millions (billions?) for the same reason as all powerful cultural institutions and elites do--it consists of human beings, and is eventually made the tool of the most domineering and power-hungry.

Where I am the churches, temples, and mosques abound, and on the days of observance I see a lot of activity. If they are collapsing from the inside in spite of appearances, that's on them.




Kate said...

Pope Samuel I

Kevin said...

How do you know if he wrote his own speech?

We don't know he wrote the whole thing.

However, we can be very sure the words aren't coming out of his mouth because he's reading them off the teleprompter for the very first time.

Smilin' Jack said...

"It is hard to convince people that religious liberty is worth defending if they don’t think that religion is a good thing that deserves protection."

The amusing thing here is that religious liberty only needs defending from other religions. Us atheists really don’t care what you believe, and our numbers are too small to do anything about it if we did.

DINKY DAU 45 said...

The core issue is how do you ensure commonly called "separation of church and state" when for a third of the population the State IS their religion? More constitutionally framed, how do you prevent the State from establishing ITSELF as the official religion ... all in the name of preventing the nonexistent chance that some other religion might otherwise be "established"?

Been seeing the recent buzz from the some preaching Christian Nationalism as expressed in some areas seems to be making a comeback. (It's actually very old and already been part of campaign rhetoric) certainly not Jesus like and certainly doesn't respect religious liberty of all. The STATE is the religion? yup careful what you want to promote. hmmmmm?

Michael K said...

Humans are hard wired for religion. In prehistory, humans worshiped various natural things, like the Sun or the sky. Monotheism took over after the Greeks and their gods faded. Jews started it, then Christians and finally Muslims. In modern times, as fewer natural phenomena were still mysterious, faith began to fade away. But the religion gene was still there so people began to worship philosophies like communism or fascism. They were a small minority but acquired power by including mythology, as Hitler did in his version of fascism. Now, we see a further development into a worship of the earth as Gaia and the whole climate delusion has the force of a powerful religion. It is no more based on fact than any other religion. Belief is all that is necessary. It is probably the most destructive religion was have experienced.

Robert Cook said...

He's arguing against a straw man. Who says religious freedom isn't important? Who is trying to stamp out the free practice of religion in the U.S.? The problem is that many do not understand that "religious freedom" also does and must mean "freedom from religion." Freedom of religion does not mean that religion should intrude into the public sphere, (public schools, sporting events, etc.) Those who want to pray can pray to themselves, internally, silently, 24/7, if they like. They can freely choose to attend gatherings of like-minded people to celebrate their shared religious beliefs. However, imposing religious rituals (reciting prayers) in public places and events where--one can be certain--there are many people who hold no (or alternative) religious beliefs is a violation of those persons' religious liberty.

To put it another way: "People with deep religious convictions" have chosen to "succumb to dominating" religous "ideologies or trends," but they may not choose to assume others agree with them and they may not choose to require non-believers in their dominating ideologies or trends must participate in their rituals, even passively.

“Our hearts are restless until we rest in God.”

Maybe for you and yours, bub, but not for everyone.

takirks said...

The point that Alito has failed to comprehend is that "religion" isn't just "belief systems about God/spirituality", but also politics.

I would argue that most socialist/progressive/communists are invested enough in their irrational belief systems that they should be considered as religions in their own right.

Corollary to that is that given our traditional system of government mandates a separation of church and state, then the various flavors of quasi-religious political belief should be included in that. Meaning that socialist/progressive/communist true believers should be treated exactly the same as they would be if they were some bishop or imam trying to impose canon law or sharia on the rest of us.

Socialist/progressive/communist belief systems are sufficiently miracle-based as to qualify as religious faiths, and have worked out about as well as every other faith-based system of governance, always failing when put to the test of actually being enacted. It's about time we recognized their essential unworldliness and ineffectiveness in the real world, and started treating them like any other faith-based ideology.

Raw fact is, these belief systems are quasi-religious, and should be banned from the public sphere in terms of being allowed to influence governance.

Robert Cook said...

"Do I really have to consider scientology and mormonism has religions Sam? Really? I'm actually really for religious liberty, but some 'religions' really stretch my rationality."

Ha! All religions violate rationality.

gspencer said...

Love this guy Alito.

takirks said...

Robert Cook said:

"Ha! All religions violate rationality."

It ain't just religions; ideological and political movements violate rationality just as much, and often in far worse ways.

People say that religion and religious wars kill, but the raw fact is that the same irrational belief and failure to comprehend reality underlay much of the various "-isms" that we mistakenly frame as being "merely political".

Socialism, Communism, and Fascism are as essentially unfalsifiable as any religion. If that weren't a truth, then you'd never hear people say things like "True communism has never been tried...", and then trying to bring about what they think is a purely secular immanentization of the eschaton by attempting communism yet again, with different people, the same failed ideology, and the same sort of wistful hopefulness usually only found in the hearts of a true-believing religious zealot.

Shit don't work, yo... Never has, never will. Not at the micro-level of a small cafe or restaurant, and not at the macro-level of an entire society. It doesn't even work over the long haul inside a basic family unit, because if you don't acknowledge economic reality with regards to raising your kids, you're never getting your house back.

bentoak said...

Religious people love the Augustine quote: Our hearts are restless till they rest in thee, O Lord. It is a medieval sentiment, and Augustine is the fountainhead of medieval thought. And Alito's Catholic Church took shape in the Middle Ages. But I doubt that this idea (the restless heart only resting in God) has as much currency for modern man and woman who have long been nurtured by naturalism, which has no need or place for God any longer. There are plenty of secular hearts today that are content and satisfied to live without reference to God.

aleyda said...

iowan2 said:
"Which beliefs bother you"

None, thats my point. I am not bothered by anyone's beliefs, just by actions.