Immediately following President Donald Trump’s announcement nominating Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court Tuesday night, the Freedom From Religion Foundation – a militant atheist group known for targeting police departments and Gideons International over even the most basic religious expression – released a statement condemning Gorsuch for his past history of affirming religious freedom and expression.
“Gorsuch's record reveals that he cannot be trusted to abide by even well-established legal principles within state/church separation law,” FFRF complained.
Gorsuch does, in fact, have a refreshing track record of upholding religious freedom and expression, particularly in public spaces. Back in 2007, he joined in a dissent when the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to rehear a case banning the government from displaying a donated monument of the Ten Commandments in a public park without also displaying other religious symbols. Gorsuch opined that not only was it constitutionally allowable for the government to put up the Ten Commandments display, but that the monument didn’t obligate the government to also exhibit other religious monuments.
Gorsuch was also part of a 10th Circuit decision affirming Hobby Lobby’s right to refuse to pay for certain contraceptives if doing so would violate the company owners’ deeply held religious beliefs – a position FFRF said would “trample women employees’ contraceptive rights in the process.”
In their public statement, FFRF also said they were now concerned about several of their ongoing court cases that could land in the Supreme Court, all of which allege violations of the “separation of church and state” (a phrase that’s found nowhere in the U.S. Constitution or any of its amendments).
Then again, this is the same group that once joined with the Satanic Temple to pass out pamphlets to public school students entitled “The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities” and “An X-Rated Book: Sex & Obscenity in the Bible,” the second of which featured a cartoon illustration of a Bible sexually assaulting a screaming woman. Even the uber-liberal Daily Show once called the group a bunch of “petty a**holes” who needed to “lighten the f*** up.”
So I don’t have it on my schedule to feel very bad for them.