Churches lose as Supreme Court deals winning hand to Casinos

casino luck game deck
Photo by Markus Spiske on

In yet another blow to religious liberty, all under the guise of “safety” amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Supreme Court just dealt casinos a winning hand in Nevada. On the losing end are houses of worship, which are limited to an in-person capacity of 50 people total while Casinos and other businesses enjoy a 50% capacity. Apparently in Nevada — and at the Supreme Court — the house always wins. It’s just not the house that should in this case or under our Constitution.

What reasons did the liberal majority, including moderate liberal Chief Justice John Roberts, give to defend their decision? What precedents did the five Justices share that would have justified this ruling? None. Zip. Nada:

The application for injunctive relief presented to JUSTICE
KAGAN and by her referred to the Court is denied.

Wow! At least have the integrity to back up your decision with reasons –any reasons — for why you chose casinos over churches. As the two dissents clearly reveal, there were no good reasons — only bad reasons — to do what the majority did yesterday. Maybe Roberts and his more liberal cohorts were just following the sage advice attributed to Abraham Lincoln:

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

In a scathing dissent joined by Associate Justices Thomas and Kavanaugh, Associate Justice Samuel Alito summed up the unconstitutional folly of the majority’s decision:

The Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion.
It says nothing about the freedom to play craps or blackjack, to feed tokens into a slot machine, or to engage in any
other game of chance.

This decision, even for the most liberal Justices, should have been a no-brainer. That it wasn’t, and that Chief Justice Roberts yet again ruled against the religious liberty interests of churches, does not bode well for churches going forward, whether in Nevada or anywhere in the country.

The antipathy and hostility shown by Democrat Governors cannot be overstated. In every state with draconian Coronavirus public health guidelines, why does it appear, as in Nevada and California, that churches are disfavored while businesses are given preferential treatment? This the Constitution should not allow. Justice Gorsuch’s pithy dissenting opinion gets to the heart of the matter in one paragraph. Who says lawyers and judges can’t be succinct?

This is a simple case. Under the Governor’s edict, a 10-
screen “multiplex” may host 500 moviegoers at any time. A
casino, too, may cater to hundreds at once, with perhaps six
people huddled at each craps table here and a similar number gathered around every roulette wheel there. Large
numbers and close quarters are fine in such places. But
churches, synagogues, and mosques are banned from admitting more than 50 worshippers—no matter how large
the building, how distant the individuals, how many wear
face masks, no matter the precautions at all. In Nevada, it
seems, it is better to be in entertainment than religion.
Maybe that is nothing new. But the First Amendment prohibits such obvious discrimination against the exercise of
religion. The world we inhabit today, with a pandemic upon
us, poses unusual challenges. But there is no world in
which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars
Palace over Calvary Chapel.
(emphasis added)

Well, in the world of a majority of the Supreme Court, the Constitution does permit Nevada to favor casinos over churches. What kind of Justices would come to such a conclusion? Justices mainly appointed by Democrat Presidents (Chief Justice Roberts excepted as he was appointed by President George W. Bush).

That Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh dissented from this decision should give a measure of comfort that President Trump was correct in his appointments of these two jurists. But, the opposite is also true. A Joe Biden Presidency will appoint not just a moderate like John Roberts. A Biden Presidency will appoint Justices as liberal, if not more so, than the four other Democrat appointees.

Why is this a problem for religious liberty? Because of the animus against churches and traditional Christianity already displayed by this Court and by the Candidate himself. Biden, a self-professed Roman Catholic, has modified his position on “reproductive rights” (i.e., abortion) by now supporting taxpayer funding of abortion and forcing religious organizations like The Little Sisters of the Poor to provide contraceptive coverage for employees.

In one of the Democrat Primary Debates, Biden also made it clear that he would use a pro-abortion litmus test to make appointments to the Supreme Court. I suppose the only open question is whether or not the former Vice President and “practicing Catholic” is part of the Ralph Northam wing of the Democrat Party, open to killing babies after they are born. That both share a racist past might be a tipoff as to what position Biden would take on infanticide and post-birth abortion.

When it comes to other religious freedom issues, Joe Biden can be counted on to oppose them at every turn, at least where traditional Judeo-Christian values are concerned. However, when it comes to Islam, Democrats’ insistence on a clear “separation of church and state” seems muted. In a recent conference, the Democrat Nominee stated that public schools should teach more about the Muslim faith:

“I wish we taught more in our schools about the Islamic faith,” Biden, a Catholic, said during his video remarks played at the “Million Muslim Votes” summit organized by the Muslim American political action committee Emgage Action. “I wish we talked about all the great confessional faiths. [Islam is] one of the great confessional faiths. What people don’t realize is … we all come from the same root here, in terms of our fundamental basic beliefs. I just want to thank you for giving me the opportunity for being engaged, for committing to action this November.”

How to make sense of the Supreme Court decision and the Democrat Party’s increasingly apparent — I would argue, real — opposition to Biblical Christianity and the Church? To paraphrase the Apostle Paul in his letter to a young pastor by the name of Timothy:

For the love of money (or power) is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

1 Timothy 6:10 (CSB)

Not only has a majority of the Supreme Court wandered away from faithfulness to the Constitution and Rule of Law in siding with casinos over churches, but far too many politicians, who know better, have wandered away from their faith in search of money and power. Say it ain’t so, Joe.

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