In a disappointing ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the liberal bloc of the Supreme Court to block the free exercise of religion in California. At stake was under the Covid-19 emergency orders, whether a church was allowed to be held to a stricter set of rules than other entities such as factories or grocery stores.
In its petition to the court, the church indicated its willingness to comply with the same rules as secular places were being held to, but the court denied its offer, instead comparing them to sporting events and concerts which were under stricter orders.
Not everyone positions faith in a place of value in their lives. However, that does not mean it is not essential for many who believe that feeding the soul is just as important than feeding the body. So essential, that the First Amendment enshrines that right to protect the free exercise of religion and prohibits laws being enacted that infringe on it.
By refusing this petition, the Supreme Court made a monumental statement that the free exercise of religion is on par with watching sports, undeserving of the same protections that free speech, a free press and the right to assemble at least for now hold.
During Robert’s confirmation, he promised to not participate in the game but instead be an umpire who only calls balls and strikes. Little did we expect that he would view religion through the lens of baseball, a game that doesn’t warrant full constitutional protection.