DAVE ROSS

Ross: SCOTUS ‘rules’ that the ‘war’ on religion is over. What’s next for the faith community?

Jun 28, 2022, 7:21 AM
Former Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy answers questions after his legal...
Former Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy answers questions after his legal case, Kennedy vs. Bremerton School District

Coach Joe Kennedy won his case.

And now, to quote the opinion, if high school football coaches want to say a “short, private, personal prayer” on the football field after a game, they can do it, and keep their job.

I realize that Coach Kennedy’s “short, private, personal prayer” actually ended up attracting quite a crowd, but the wording of the opinion says “short, private, personal prayer.” So regardless of the facts of the case, that is officially what’s allowed.

This court also ruled that parents in Maine can use their school vouchers to send their children to religious schools if they choose. Even if those schools oppose homosexuality.

So whatever your opinion about these rulings, the trend is clear.

This court is giving the religious community a chance to prove it has the answers.

For years Christians have seen America as being in the thrall of Satan. They talk of pure Evil – capital “E” – the Evil of drug addiction, of crime, of gun massacres. Implying that the only antidote to this Evil is faith in God.

Well, my philosophy is that to solve a problem, you try as many solutions as you can, and you do what works.

If faith works, so be it.

I think some Christians are truly committed, not just to displays of faith, but to solving problems. At Sunday’s mass at St. James Cathedral, I knew Pastor Ryan would have a comment about the abortion ruling… and he did – but he went way beyond the abortion issue:

“Respecting the dignity of every human life, from conception to natural death, drives us to care for the poor, to welcome immigrants, to seek racial and social justice, and to oppose abortion. And to those issues, I would add issues like common-sense gun safety measures, care for creation, and the elimination of nuclear weapons. In other words, there is not just one life issue, there are many. And only when we embrace all of them, will we be truly pro-life,” Pastor Ryan said.

It’s true that religions have abused their power in the past – religious leaders have exploited poor people, engaged in sexual abuse, and tried to snuff out indigenous cultures. I understand why atheism is growing. But if anything, those failings put even more pressure on churches to redeem themselves now that the Supreme Court is pulling them back into the public square.

There will soon be millions more poor children to take care of. School violence, drug abuse, crime, suicide, abortion – these problems are all begging for better solutions.

Religious institutions can no longer use the excuse that their beliefs have been suppressed. Because this Supreme Court has declared that the federal war on religion is over.

The faith community has its chance. Don’t blow it.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: SCOTUS ‘rules’ that the ‘war’ on religion is over. What’s next for the faith community?