The following is my current opinion regarding the Christian fundamentalist, conservative evangelical, and Religious Right agenda for the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 and in the future. It is presented as the following list:
(1) Racial and Ethnic Minorities. I strongly believe Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism are among the last great bastions of lying-low racial and ethnic bigotry in the United States. This is not to say that all fundies are racial and ethnic bigots. However, Fundieland has more than its fair share of them. This is reflected in recent conservative Republican attempts to limit African-American and Hispanic voting privileges through voter identification laws. It is reflected in the widespread evangelical support for the Trump campaign. It is reflected in fundie opposition to the Black Lives Matter Movement. It also shows up in the state-level revision of social studies curricula by some white-dominated state boards of education. These curriculum revisions are targeted at deemphasizing the roles of racial and ethnic minority groups in American history. They also minimize or deny the role of African-American slavery in igniting the American Civil War. Worst of all, you almost never see Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals publicly speaking out against these travesties. Such stone cold silence in the face of evil is complicity with that evil. I believe it is no accident that many of these travesties have originated in the American South and the Dixie border states such as Missouri, which are known for their enormous populations of fundies, their racism against African-Americans, and their long history of minority oppression. In my honest opinion, many Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals long for a U.S. Supreme Court stacked with conservative justices like the late Antonin Scalia. A high court of this nature would be a dream come true for fundie bigots who desperately want to overturn federal laws, regulations, and court rulings designed to protect American racial and ethnic minority groups.
(2) Rights of Women. Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism have been on the leading edge of recent attempts to oppress women and limit their rights. Does anyone still remember the famous, but failed, Women’s Equal Rights Amendment and how bitterly the fundies fought against it? A U.S. Supreme Court stacked with conservative justices would embolden Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical attempts to oppress women—and limit or deny them their civil rights. We must never forget the old fundie mantra that the only Godly place for an American woman is home bound, barefoot, pregnant, and toiling as a submissive maid servant to her husband and as a care giver for his children.
(3) Coerced Prayer and Bible Reading in Public Schools. Beginning in 1962, Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals were rubbed raw by Engel v. Vitale, Abington School District v. Schempp, Murray v. Curlett, and Lemon v. Kurtzman. These are the past U.S. Supreme Court rulings that ended coerced prayer and Bible reading in American public schools. By the word coerced, we mean there was a time in American history (prior to 1962) when a public school administrator or teacher could write prayers for students and force them to repeat the words with their heads bowed. Teachers could force students to read the Bible, and a teacher could quite legally teach her personal religious beliefs to her students.
The fundie agenda for the U.S. Supreme Court has long included a commitment to overturning the four foregoing court rulings. Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals across our nation would love nothing more than to use the backwoods good ol’ boy system to ensure that every school administrator and teacher hired in American small towns and counties is a dyed-in-the-wool fundie. That is likely what would eventually happen if the fundies ever get these four court rulings overturned. If your public school children are Roman Catholic, mainline Protestant, Jewish, or whatever else nonfundie, you and your children are in for real trouble if these four high-court decisions are ever reversed. Your children are going to be indoctrinated with Christian fundamentalist thought, worldview, beliefs, and values in your public schools—and there will be nothing you can do to stop it because the only legal recourse you ever had to protect your own religious faith and that of your children will be gone. If you and your children are Shinto, Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Jewish, atheists, agnostics, or “nones,” you will be hated as enemies of God in your own public schools, and your children will be prime targets for conversion to Christian fundamentalism or conservative evangelicalism. Your life and the lives of your children will be thrown into a state of oppression, chaos, and misery because fundies are relentless, and they do not take “no” for a final answer when it comes to forcing their beliefs on other people.
(4) Science and Social Studies Teaching in Public Schools. Here are the applicable past rulings in the U.S. Supreme Court and lower federal courts: Epperson v. Arkansas, Edwards v. Aguillard, Lemon v. Kurtzman, and Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals despise these past federal court rulings, and they would just love to stack the U.S. Supreme Court with conservative justices who would overturn them. These four federal court rulings support the teaching of biological evolution in public school science courses—and prevent the teaching of creation science and intelligent design (both pseudoscientific nonsense) in American public schools.
Christian fundamentalism, conservative evangelicalism, and their political allies in the United States have become outright hostile to the conventional, mainstream academic content of archaeology, anthropology, geology, biology, genetics, astronomy, environmental science, clinical psychology, American history, and related fields of study. This hostility includes intensive and widespread religious and political efforts to obtain government power at all levels and to use that power to undermine the teaching of evolution and other settled science in American public schools. It also includes widespread attempts to rewrite K-12 American history and social studies curricula to reflect right wing extremist prejudices and ideology rather than the true American history and social studies content held in trust for the American people by highly trained experts in the humanities and social sciences at American colleges and universities. To offer just one small example of this social studies abuse, public school textbooks in Texas are now required to teach that the ancient Biblical patriarch Moses was a founding father of the United States. You read that correctly—Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Moses, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, etc. The Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical faction on the Texas State Board of Education is directly responsible for this piece of nonsense.
Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals would give nearly anything to have a U.S. Supreme Court stacked with conservatives who would reverse the four high-court rulings mentioned above. This would allow fundie educational minions to invade your public schools and teach lies about modern science to your school children. You can bet your last dollar that teaching even more lies about American history and other aspects of social studies would not be far behind the lies about modern science.
(5) LGBTQ Rights. Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals hate the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges ruling—and they hate it with a perfect hatred. This is the ruling that made gay marriage legal nationwide. They believe a U.S. Supreme Court stacked with conservative justices would allow them to reverse this landmark ruling. They also believe it would help in their continuing war against transgender people and their desire to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identification. In other words, the fundies view a stacked U.S. Supreme Court as a powerful tool to aid them in their nationwide war of persecution against LGBTQ people.
(6) Abortion Rights. Conservative evangelicals and their Roman Catholic allies hate the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision with a perfect hatred. This is the high-court ruling that gave every American woman the right to an abortion. A U.S. Supreme Court stacked with conservative justices is a fundie dream. They believe it would allow an eventual overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision and put an end to medically safe abortions throughout the United States. Abortions would continue in secret as they did long before Roe v. Wade, but many women would die as a direct result of complications related to these medically unsafe abortions.
(7) Religious Freedom. Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals love the right to religious freedom under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, just so long as it is their right to religious freedom. When it comes to religious freedom for all other Americans—not so much. In the past few decades, numerous fundies have publicly stated in various media venues that the United States was founded as a Christian nation; therefore, the only Americans who deserve religious freedom are Bible-believing Christians (i.e., fundies). Fundie hatred for Islamic Americans is well known, and this hatred is often on full display when nonradical Muslim citizens in a university town want to come together, purchase a parcel of land, and build a mosque on it. Moreover, since the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, the Religious Right has been consciously pursuing an insidious legal tactic that might best be described as “Use My Demands for Religious Freedom to Take Away Your Rights.” How does that work? Here is just a simple example:
Joe is a widely known alcoholic, and Fred is a fundie who runs a family grocery store. Fundies believe alcoholics are disgusting sinners. A quite sober Joe goes into Fred’s store to buy a loaf of bread so he can make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for his kids. Fred refuses to sell the loaf of bread to Joe because he is a disgusting sinner addicted to ethyl alcohol. Joe hires a lawyer and takes Fred to court. Fred says in court that he refused to sell the bread to Joe because Joe is a disgusting sinner who violates the word of God in the Bible. Fred further claims that refusing to sell the bread to Joe was just him exercising his religious freedom rights under the First Amendment. Sinners need to be taught a good religious lesson, and he was just teaching Joe a lesson. The problem here is that Fred’s claim to religious freedom denies Joe his basic human right to participate freely in the American economic system and provide food for his kids. Fred is using his claim on religious freedom to deny Joe his legitimate rights to purchase food for his children in a free enterprise economy.
Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals would love to see the U.S. Supreme Court stacked with conservative justices who can be counted on to support their religious freedom while they simultaneously deny nonfundie citizens their religious freedoms and other basic American freedoms.