Gutting the First Amendment Further… This Atlantic article (Linked below) is a mixed bag, but grossly misinterprets Sotomayor’s dissent.
The good news is that it identifies clearly the question being raised by the Church that filed the lawsuit; a lot of people I’ve spoken with are confused about the claims in play:
“The question was whether not funding the playground violated the church’s right to “the free exercise” of religion.”
The Atlantic article is bad…nay HORRIBLE… in criticizing Sotomayor’s dissent. in the author’s eyes it is ridiculous to claim that a playground surface is integral to the Church’s religious mission.
Whoa, wait. Do you see where I’m going here???
The Church claimed it was integral to their religious mission, in as much as they claimed their religious free exercise was being infringed! You can’t have it both ways.
Thus, Sotomayor is not making shit up. She’s taking the plaintiff at their word, saying that as an integral part of their mission (as a part of their free exercise), funding the playground amounts to a Constitutional violation.
Church’s having been playing both sides of this fence in every case, for decades. They attempt to enlarge their mission to get public benefits, and cry foul if the courts attempt to define what is or is not in their mission. And, sadly, Courts have been willing to appease he religious rather than simply stand behind the principle that government must in every way remain secular.
If the churches want it differently, pay taxes. Period.
== Atlantic Article ==
In Trinity v. Comer, there was no remaining dispute between the actual parties—and both the majority opinion and the leading dissent got the issue wrong.