For years, a public high school football coach made a practice of saying short prayers after football games. He prayed whether he won or lost. Some of his players typically joined in, and some didn’t.
For that, he was fired.
This has been a long drive for the left. It started on their own 2-yard line about two centuries ago with Karl Marx scorning the masses he pretended to champion by mocking their “opiate” of religion. Marx and his fellow travelers preferred the opiate of opiate.
Marx’s antipathy toward religion gained traction in the Soviet Union. Revealing one’s faith was a detriment to advancement in the Communist Party, and the Party controlled everything. The faithful had their property confiscated and they endured open ridicule and ostracism by institutions such as schools, employers and the media. (Does this sound eerily familiar?)
The Soviet Union wound up in the trash bin of history. But not before it corrupted Russian culture, perhaps irrevocably so. Communism slayed 100 million people, plus God to the extent he was Russian.
The ultimate fall of the Soviet Union is one of those game-changing historical events about which the left forgot nothing and from which they learned nothing. Armed with assertedly good intentions, the American left is determined to march down that same well-paved road straight to hell.
Like the Soviets, the American left has good reasons to hate religion. Religion threatens their authority. People of faith tend to be faithful to a miraculous God and the powers they derive from him, rather than faithful to an omnipotent but incompetent and corrupt government of hypocrits and authoritarians. People of faith believe in a nation under God, not the other way around.
(I often ask atheists a question which annoys them: If there’s no creator, then who or what created creation? Their typical answer is that it just happened for no reason – it was an effect without a cause. So… which of us is being unscientific?)
The second reason the left hates religion is that they see religion as a habit of conservatives or moderates, and they have no tolerance for either. That’s about as far as they go with that analysis. If the opposing tribe likes something, then the left reflexively thinks it must be bad. Same goes for motherhood, apple pie, Ronald Reagan, red meat, American flags, Mount Rushmore, country music, and pickup trucks (OK, they have a point about pickup trucks).
As the left dismantled American culture – and, indeed, Western Civilization – public observances of religion were increasingly frowned upon. On the rationale that church and state must be kept separate under our Constitution, our secularized culture has allowed the state to eradicate the church.
This is a misread of the Constitution. The “establishment clause” of the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Those are the words quoted by secularists objecting to religious displays in government places and, by extension, in any other public place.
But the “establishment clause” is not the end of the sentence containing that clause. The sentence goes on to state, “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” These words are sometimes called the “free exercise” clause.
Those two clauses – two parts of a single sentence – are not at war with one another. The Founders were better writers and thinkers than that. To the contrary, those two clauses reinforce one another. The Founders wanted to avoid establishing a state religion like the Church of England. A mechanism to avoid that was to guarantee the free exercise of all religions.
The Founders would be aghast that their anti-establishment clause has been contorted into an anti-religion clause. Putting religion – any religion – into the closet was exactly the opposite of their intent.
The anti-religion left knows this, of course. Their misreading of the Constitution is not accidental.
They deliberately misread the Constitution because they want to abolish religion. If they can’t abolish it, they want to make it shameful. I’d say they want to equate religion with masturbation – it’s something that should be done in private and never discussed – but actually they seem OK with the latter in public.
The football coach sued. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court.
This week, they decided in his favor in a beautiful opinion written by Justice Neil Gorsuch (who comes from a storied Colorado family). The coach won. He can now pray in public. He can now enjoy his personal light without a bushel over it and without fear that it will cost him his job.
Personally, I specialize in snark, not light. And I never proselytize, as I don’t feel competent to do so. But readers who have met me know that I always wear a small, simple cross necklace barely visible under my shirt. That cross and I have been through a lot together.
I admit that sometimes I’m self-conscious about my cross. I admit that sometimes my cross is something I bear. In Aspen, after all, it doesn’t exactly make me one of the Cool Kids. But this Supreme Court case reminds me that it’s legally and morally right to wear a cross if you believe in what it stands for. I feel the same about a Star of David, a Crescent and Star, and other religious symbols.
As religious people, let’s not get in people’s faces – that’s no way to show them the light – but let’s do get out of the closet. Let’s lead not by lecture but by example. Let’s show who we are. Let’s show our faith.
A high school football coach shows how. He. Could. Go. All. The. Way.
Glenn Beaton never played football and is notoriously bad at all team sports. But he practiced law at the Supreme Court and writes a bit. Join his 800,000 readers with a free subscription HERE or just send an email to theAspenbeat@gmail.com