By Fr. Mario Alexis Portella
Fr. Mario Alexis Portella is a priest of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Florence, Italy. He was born in New York and holds a doctorate in canon law and civil law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. He is the author of Islam: Religion of Peace?—The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up (Westbow Press, 2018).
The U.S. Supreme Court, on the last day of the 2020-2021 session, in a 7-3 vote—the dissenters were Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas—declined to hear the case in which floral artist Barronelle Stutzman was sued by Washington State Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the American Civil Liberties Union after she refused services to a gay man for his civil wedding.
Stutzman, who is a Protestant, refused to provide flower arrangements to the same-sex “couple” for their civil “union” on the principle that it was against her religious beliefs and therefore infringed upon her right to exercise her religious freedom as stipulated by the First Amendment.
Just days prior to the Stutzman case, SCOTUS, in a 7-2 vote—the two dissenters were Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas—rejected a Virginia school board’s appeal to reinstate its transgender bathroom ban.
The Court opted not to hear the Gloucester County School Board’s appeal of a 2020 ruling that the transgender student, Gavin Grimm, is protected under Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in education.
Grimm, a biological girl who identifies as a transgender male, sued the school board in 2015 when officials at her high school banned her from using the boys’ bathroom and urged her to use a unisex bathroom or one that corresponded to her gender assigned at birth: female.
The decisions not to even hear the aforementioned cases—it takes a total of four justices to vote to hear a petition—are a complete paradox of when, in 2018, SCOTUS ruled 7-2 in favor of a baker who refused to sell wedding cakes for a same-sex wedding on the grounds that it violated his religious beliefs.
Kristen Waggoner of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), one of the members of Stutzman’s legal defense team, stressed how the U.S. government has become a threat to those who profess to be Christian, saying:
Today’s judgement affirms the court’s earlier decision that Barronelle must pay a penalty for her faith and surrender her freedom and conscience…. Surrender your religious liberty and free speech rights, or face personal and professional ruin.
Many readers may ask how come the so-called conservative justices appointed by former President Donald Trump sat on the sidelines on such important moral decisions when just weeks prior SCOTUS unanimously sided with a Philadelphia Catholic adoption agency that says its religious beliefs prevent it from working with same-sex foster parents?ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
In a previous article (“So Much for Our ‘Conservative Court’”), I stated, “Americans who identify as conservatives thought that when Trump was able to get three conservative justices appointed to the Supreme Court—Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Barrett—the tide favoring the institution of the family, which is based on marriage exclusively between one man and one woman, had finally turned…. Well, think again.”
They have, in fact, been a near-complete disappointment, as can be seen:
- In Bostock v. Clayton County (June 2020), when the Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that the firing of Gerald Bostock, who had expressed interest in establishing a gay softball league at work, discriminated against LGBTQ+ employees and was a direct violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The Trump-appointed justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion.
- In 2018, when Kavanaugh joined a majority of the high court in a 6-3 decision that turned away an appeal from two states, Kansas and Louisiana after they withheld tax funds from Planned Parenthood, the country’s biggest abortion provider and the protagonist of far-left feminists. Justice Clarence Thomas, in his dissenting opinion, directly accused fellow justices of refusing to take up the case because Planned Parenthood was involved, implying political motives to protect the group.
- In 2018, when the Court denied a petition—Gorsuch and Kavanaugh sided with the majority—presented by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) to hear Wood v. Arnold, a case brought by Caleigh Wood, a Christian student in the 11th grade at La Plata High School in Maryland. Wood refused to take part in a school exercise she felt would deny her faith “by making a written profession of the Muslim conversion prayer known as the shahada—‘There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah’.” The TMLC argued the school violated the First Amendment’s Establishment and Free Speech clauses when it ordered Wood to do an assignment that she could not complete without violating her Christian beliefs; the teacher then gave her a failing grade.
- In 2020, Justice Barret sided with Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker—giving him supreme authority to lock down the state for as long as he pleases. Barrett capitulated, citing a 1095 ruling in Jacobsen v. Massachusetts that gave local Massachusetts authorities free rein to vaccinate and re-vaccinate every adult in their jurisdiction and fine those who did not comply.
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As may be seen, the cultural war with our governments—all Western ones—is on!
Italian philosopher Augusto Del Noce (1910-1989), as highlighted by Carl Trueman, had forewarned how the political left sought to dismantle the “traditional sexual codes” as the means by which Christianity could be destroyed all under the guise of human freedom, which “consisted, in large part, of sexual freedom.… What Del Noce saw was that the left had brought these two ideas together in a potent way that meant the sexual revolution of the sixties and beyond was both deeply political and deeply anti-Christian not only in its effects but also in its intentions.”
This war is something that has been bred into society as a result of the justification of going against the natural order of things as written in the heart of every human person created in the image and likeness of God.
In the first chapter of his Epistle to the Romans, St. Paul wrote:
While they claimed to be wise, in fact they were growing so stupid that they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an imitation, for the image of a mortal human being…. That is why God abandoned them in their inmost cravings to filthy practices of dishonoring their own bodies because they exchanged God’s truth for a lie and have worshipped and served the creature instead of the Creator…. That is why God abandoned them to degrading passions: why their women have exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural practices; and the men, in a similar fashion, too, giving up normal relations with women, are consumed with passion for each other, men doing shameful things with men and receiving in themselves due reward for their perversion.
We Americans have recently celebrated the anniversary of our nation’s independence. Hence, it may perhaps serve us if we call to mind the words of one of the American Revolution’s main protagonists, Patrick Henry.
Henry, who was an ardent defender of and paved the way for the First Amendment (religious liberty) opposed measures such as citizens in the Colony of Virginia, regardless of religious affiliation, having to pay taxes to the Church of England. In 1775, foreseeing that Americans could no longer live under the despotism of the British Crown and Parliament, Henry saw the hopelessness of political correctness and appealed to his fellow countrymen to fight for our God-given freedoms:
[W]e have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope…. I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!