Religious liberty and free speech are among Americans’ personal freedoms potentially imperiled along with government overreach during the coronavirus pandemic, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito warned Thursday.
“Tolerance for opposing views is now in short supply,” Alito added in a virtual keynote speech to a conference of the conservative Federalist Society, in which he referenced the current state of discourse in the nation’s law schools and the “broader academic community.”
Many recent law school graduates claim they face “harassment” and “retaliation” for any views that depart “from law school orthodoxy,” Alito said.
“In certain quarters religious liberty has fast become a disfavored right,” he said. “For many today, religious liberty is not a cherished freedom. It’s often just an excuse for bigotry and it can’t be tolerated even when there’s no evidence that anybody has been harmed.”
He cited the Supreme Court cases of the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Roman Catholic nuns who were exempted from a requirement to provide birth control coverage to employees and Colorado baker who was allowed to refuse service to a gay couple for their wedding, Fox reported.
No employees with the Little Sisters of the Poor asked for birth control coverage and the gay couple was given a free cake by another shop and had celebrity chefs jump to their defense, he said.
“The question we face is whether our society will be inclusive enough to tolerate people with unpopular religious beliefs,” he added, saying Christians deserve the same protections as the any of the religious minority groups in cases over which has presided throughout the years.