Atheists React to Alito’s Religious Liberty Claims
Alito has come under fire from atheists, who accuse him of portraying unbelievers as enemies of religious freedom.
From Faithwire. Atheist activists are frustrated over a recent speech by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, during which he discussed religious liberty and warned about the essentiality of helping nonbelievers see its value.
What Alito Said About Religious Liberty
Speaking at a recent conference in Rome for the Notre Dame Law School’s Religious Liberty Initiative, Alito described the dire state of religious liberty in many places. He also discussed atheism, nonbelief, and the dismissive nature some take to faith.
“Religious liberty is under attack in many places because it is dangerous to those who want to hold complete power,” he said during the keynote….
“Polls show a significant increase in the percentage of the population that rejects religion or thinks it’s just not all that important,” he said. “And this has a very important impact on religious liberty because it is hard to convince people that religious liberty is worth defending if they don’t think that religion is a good thing that deserves protection.”
Watch Alito’s remarks:
The conservative justice … said the problem isn’t just indifference or ignorance but “growing hostility to religion” or “traditional beliefs that are contrary to the new moral code that is ascendant in some sectors….”
“The challenge for those who want to protect religious liberty in the United States, Europe, and other similar places is to convince people who are not religious that religious liberty is worth special protection,” he said….
Why Atheists Are Reacting
These comments frustrated the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an atheist activist group, with nontheists calling the comments “disturbing” and accusing Alito of framing “nonbelievers as obstructors of religious liberty….”
The FFRF invoked additional critiques of Alito’s keynote, with Dan Barker, the organization’s other co-president, dubbing a portion of his speech borrowing language from Matthew 10:16 (ESV) a “highly disturbing message.”
During this particular portion of the speech, Alito discussed the importance of “resting in God” and proclaimed, “The champions of religious liberty who go out as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves can expect to find hearts that are open to their message….”
Regardless of atheists’ critiques of Alito, a very real religious freedom struggle is unfolding in the U.S., and his comments about the rise of nonreligious — and the impact this is having — continue to be played out in political and cultural circles.
From a football coach who lost his job over praying at the 50-yard line (before recently securing a Supreme Court victory) to bakers who have been fined massive amounts of money for declining to make same-sex wedding cakes, these concerns are very real, regardless of activists’ dismissals.
How are you praying for religious freedom? Share your thoughts and prayers below.
(Excerpt from Faithwire. Photo Credit: Getty Images)
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