Kiss your religious liberties goodbye. A liberal replacement for Scalia would probably be the fifth vote to overrule the 2014 Hobby Lobby decision and require religious employers and other groups to provide health insurance including free contraceptives and take other actions that they say violates their freedom of religion.
The separation of church and state doesn’t mean “the government cannot favor religion over non-religion,” Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argued during a speech at Colorado Christian University on Wednesday, according to The Washington Times.
Defending his strict adherence to the plain text of the Constitution, Scalia knocked secular qualms over the role of religion in the public sphere as “utterly absurd,” arguing that the Constitution is only obligated to protect freedom of religion — not freedom from it.
“I think the main fight is to dissuade Americans from what the secularists are trying to persuade them to be true: that the separation of church and state means that the government cannot favor religion over non-religion,” the Reagan-appointed jurist told the crowd of about 400 people.
Historically, freedom of religion has been used to refer to the tolerance of different theological systems of belief, while freedom of worship has been defined as freedom of individual action. Each of these have existed to varying degrees. While many countries have accepted some form of religious freedom, this has also often been limited in practice through punitive taxation, repressive social legislation, and political disenfranchisement. Compare examples of individual freedom in Italy or the Muslim tradition of dhimmis, literally “protected individuals” professing an officially tolerated non-Muslim religion.
Freedom of religion or freedom of belief is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. It also includes the freedom to change one’s religion or belief.
Freedom of religion is considered by many people and nations to be a fundamental human right. In a country with a state religion, freedom of religion is generally considered to mean that the government permits religious practices of other sects besides the state religion, and does not persecute believers in other faiths.