Sermon Illustrations > Culture > Religious Hostility

Religious Hostility

Quoted in Religious Cleansing in the American Republic, Keith A. Fournier, American Center for Law and Justice.

February 24, 1993, in the U.S. Supreme Court. The case: Lamb's Chapel and John Steigerwald v. Center Moriches Union Free School District. A group of Christians wanted to show a film after hours in a public facility. Apparently, religious hostility has reached the point in this nation where, because the content of that film was deemed "religious" by the State of N.Y., it posed a perceived danger sufficient to warrant spending tax dollars to litigate a case of this nature all the way to the highest court of the land.

Mr. Justice Scalia questioned the attorney for the school board:

Question: you are here representing both respondents [the school board and the state of N.Y.]... in this argument, and the Attorney General of N.Y., in his brief defending the N.Y. rule says that...'Religious advocacy serves the community only in the eyes of its adherent and yields a benefit only to those who already believe.'

Does New York State&md;I grew up in New York State and in those days they used to have a tax exemption for religious property. Is that still there?

Counsel: Yes, your Honor it still is.

Question: But they've changed their view, apparently, that&md;

Counsel: Well, your Honor&md;

Question: You see&md;it used to be thought that religion&md;it didn't matter what religion, but it&md;some code of morality always went with it and was thought that...what was called a God-fearing person might be less likely to mug me and rape my sister. That apparently is not the view of New York anymore.

Counsel: Well I'm not sure that that's &md;

Question: Has this new regime worked very well?