Creation and the U.S. Supreme Court
The anti-creationist lobby delights in reminding the public of the US Supreme Court’s 1987 seven-to-two decision against creationism. They further delight in stressing the central role played by Nobel laureates in influencing the court’s decision.
Underlying such statements is the spurious inference that the US Supreme Court somehow represents an impartial bastion of fair and open-minded justices, operating in the spirit of ‘neutrality’, free of socio-political bias and religious prejudice. However, this is fantasy.
The US Supreme Court has long been the hot-bed of intense ideological conflict. The world media have widely reported the court and its decisions as the focus of heated public debate and intense political and judicial infighting.
As was accentuated in recent US Presidential elections, the court’s activism in support of the seemingly godless socio-political agenda of the American Civil Liberties Union (the ACLU), was a determining factor in George Bush’s election, especially the court’s unpopular ruling on the Pledge of Allegiance, because it mentions God.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported in 1988 that Bush and the Republican Party have ‘long and loudly railed against this Supreme Court billing, regarding it as a capitulation to the godless civil libertarian left-wingers.’ Not only had they openly criticized the court, but they had also attacked Bush’s Democrat opponent, Mike Dukakis, for being a ‘screaming liberal’ who was ‘a card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union.’ Bush said, ‘I am not a member of the ACLU, l am for the people.’ 1
Among the factors that caused Americans to resent the ACLU were:
- the ACLU’s attack on the American Pledge of Allegiance;
- its endorsement of the burning of the American flag;
- and its seemingly godless anti-conservative and anti-religious phobia.
ACLU’s Double Standards
Paradoxically, on the one hand the ACLU has obtained needed civil rights for non-white people, while on the other it has destroyed the civil and religious rights of Americans who did not accede to its apparent leftist-liberal agenda.
The ACLU was seen as defending the irreligious and immoral, while oppressing the rights of Americans who held to traditional moral values and religious ideals.
It opposed ordinances and laws restricting pornography—it supported the rights of rock groups to stage obscene and satanic rock concerts in defiance of community opposition; and it was extremely active in supporting the ‘rights’ of homosexuals.
Representative of such indulgence was a December 23. 1985, lawsuit filed against the Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles organization for excluding homosexuals and bisexuals from its ‘Big Brothers’ child-care program. Ironically, just four days later a ‘Big Brother’ to an emotionally disturbed 11-year-old boy was convicted on nine counts of sexual abuse.
The Supreme Court’s repeated endorsement of the ACLU’s agenda in support of the irreligious and the immoral, and its endorsement of the ACLU’s overt repression of the civil and religious rights of conservative Americans did not go unnoticed.
Hostility Towards Religion
George Bush and other Americans railed against the Court’s judicial activism, accusing the court of not only overriding Congress and the States by legislating from the bench, but also of flagrant anti-religious prejudice.
Indeed, no less than a United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger (Wallace v Jaifree) has stated that the Supreme Court justices’ attitude ‘manifests not neutrality but hostility towards religion’.
A Brief History
The judicial activism of the US Supreme Court began to emerge in 1947, just after the Second World War. The anti-religious thrust became particularly evident in the 1970s, as the liberals humanist factions began to gain the balance of power in the court. Frustrated by the legislative process, they had turned to the US Supreme Court to accomplish their goals.
The appointment of Justice William Brennan to the US Supreme Court in 1956 would, contrary to Eisenhower’s intentions, be a major factor in the court’s decisive turn to the left.
TIME magazine reported in 1990 that Brennan was to become the intellectual leader on the left of the court and representative of the Warren court’s radical ‘judicial activism’.2
From 1956 the court was increasingly used to impose the liberal-humanist socio-political agenda on all States through what one judge called ‘raw judicial power’. A series of landmark decisions followed which flagrantly enforced this agenda upon the education system and the American culture.
The court’s judicial activism was fomented by Chief Justice Earl Warren who, like Brennan, had been appointed by Eisenhower three years earlier. As reported by TIME, Eisenhower later pointed to Warren and Brennan as two of the ‘biggest mistakes’ he had made.
Another liberal court justice, Justice William 0. Douglas regarded as one of the most influential judges in American history was a thorough ‘secular humanist’, who played a key role in a number of benchmark cases.3
Equally influential with Douglas was Justice Hugo Black, who openly revealed his hostility towards religion by stating that only ‘hypocrites’ attend church.4
Leo Pfeller of the American Jewish Congress, known as one of the most successful lawyers on Church-State matters since World War II, argued that the anti-religious Supreme Court decisions in recent years have brought about the ‘triumph of secular humanism.’5
Indeed, so blatant and bizarre did the court’s anti-religious and anti-Christian prejudice become that testimony in one case (McRae v Califano, later McRae v Harris)involved prying into the private lives of congressmen to determine their religious practices.
Concerning the court’s five-to-four decision, Dr James Hitchcock, professor of history at St Louis University, pointed out:
‘had one justice voted differently religious believers would in effect have been prohibited from politics.’6
The purpose of this atheistically inspired program was to establish a ‘religion of secularism’ which would effectively make the government and the State hostile to both God and religious belief. In the words of Justice Clark, ‘preferring those who had no religion over those who do believe’ (Pa. v Schempp, 374, US. 203. 1963).
Liberals’ Coup D’etat
The masterful stroke in the liberal justices’ attack on conservative politics and Judeo-Christian influences was the decisive move to ‘reinterpret’ the US Constitution to mean freedom from religion rather than freedom of religion. By this single constitutional ‘twist’ the liberal-humanist agenda would be assured near-total dominion over American public institutions. As a consequence, the moral relativism and godless materialism of liberalism and evolutionary humanism was granted carte blanche status in American schools and public institutions.
The ‘religion’ of secular humanism (whose foundation is evolution) achieved sole, exclusive and protected status in education, to the exclusion of all competing systems of thought. This atheistic monopoly of education and culture was the very thing from which the founding fathers sought to protect Americans.
The promotion of moral ‘neutrality’ and relativism in school curricula which followed soon blurred all distinctions between morality and immorality, resulting in moral confusion. This in turn fostered a lowering of moral resistance to the drug culture and other negative influences which would sap America’s moral strength and cultural resources.
As they saw all this, including attacks on the Oath of Allegiance and the trampling under and burning of the American flag, mainstream Americans began to understand what his ‘progressive liberalism really was. They saw its intolerance of all things religious; its endorsement of the profane, immoral and irreligious; and noted its prejudice and repression of opposing viewpoints.
As a result, as in Australia, parents abandoned State schools in growing numbers, turning increasingly to religious private schools, which not only continued to teach traditional God-centered ideals, but also moral responsibility and accountability, to parents, the community, the nation, and to God.
In pursuit, left-wing liberals sought to extend control over these private schools and colleges through manipulative legislation and ordinances. Also through curricula that effectively negated the religious views being taught.
Hostile education administrators moved to coerce private schools and colleges into implementing a liberal-humanist inspired curriculum, threatening deregistration of any school or college which refused to conform.
Such Orwellian-style activities were, however, recognized to be a blatant violation of basic democratic rights and religious freedoms. They were also seen as a violation of the US Constitution itself, which stated that no law could be made to prohibit the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, or of assembly.
Two conservative Presidents, Ronald Reagan and George Bush, were elected. They openly attacked these excesses, and actively sought to reform the US Supreme court itself.
They and many others regarded the US Supreme Court’s anti-God interpretation of the Constitution as a blatant violation of the very word and spirit of every document drafted by the American founding fathers.
The US Constitution, like the Australian Constitution, stood for freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.
The ‘establishment of religion’ portion of the Constitution was there not to allow a godless left-wing agenda to be imposed on all others, but simply to ensure that the rights of atheists, agnostics and minor religions were also protected.
The Declaration of Independence itself specifically affirmed ‘reliance on the protection of divine providence.’
American public currency likewise emphasized ‘In God we trust’, and the Pledge of Allegiance made specific reference to God. The clear intent of the drafters was not to exclude God or religion from education and public life, but simply to define the guidelines as to how religion would interact with culture.
The purpose was to preserve religious liberty for all Americans, by ensuring that no ‘single’ religious—order Catholic, Protestant or otherwise—gained absolute power and control, including an atheistic religious monopoly such as secular humanism, which has now achieved near-absolute and exclusive status in education and American culture.
Secular humanism is not only acknowledged to be a religion and faith by the humanists’ own manifestoes, but was actually decreed to be a religion by the US Supreme Court itself. (Torcaso vs. Watkins.)
Court’s Dogmatic Materialism
Central to the court’s dogmatic materialism is the unsustainable premise that there is no relationship between religion and science, and that religion is somehow separate from reality.
As a consequence, Supreme Court decisions have been directed at suppressing and excluding all viewpoints which are not purely materialistic and naturalistic, with theistic views of origins, life and the cosmos seen as having no relevance.
As such, in spite of cosmetic judicial semantics, any serious consideration or evaluation of creation science would be dismissed by most US Supreme Court justices on ideological and religious grounds from the outset.
Ironically, even were the court to be fully persuaded that the scientific data did in fact conclusively support the theistic view, the court would still be forced on the basis of its current constitutional philosophy to rule against the creationists on religious grounds, as actually occurred in 1987.
As such, for creationists to expect justice or support from any court still functioning on this godless liberal legacy, would, in the words of one political leader, be likened to Roman citizens asking Nero for help and advice on fire-fighting.
However, neither all the Supreme Court Justices, nor all the Nobel laureates combined, could even remotely establish the court’s underlying, unspoken, and unsustainable atheistic premise namely that matter is all that exists, and all that can exist.
Yet, this is exactly what the court is asserting by its continued insistence that ‘all’ explanations of origins and life must be purely atheistic and naturalistic, to the exclusion of God.
In fact, as emphasized by American theoretical physicist Robert Oppenheimer, ‘modern science was born out of the Christian world view.’7
Astronomer George Reed further stresses this fact, pointing out that it was the linear and mechanistic view of reality provided by both Christianity and Western philosophy that provided the essential principles and framework for modern astronomy and space travel.8
So to operate on the assertion that there is no relationship between religion and science, or religion and reality, is philosophically and scientifically unsustainable. So is the dogmatic assertion that all explanations for origins and life ‘must’ be purely naturalistic.
Court Reform Attempted
Presidents Reagan and Bush moved to replace liberal justices with conservative justices more in tune with main-stream American values and ideals, and more supportive of the democratic and religious ideals on which America was founded.
Once appointed, staunch conservative justices could tilt the balance of power in the court, and bring about a reversal of previous court decisions which favoured the leftist liberal-humanist agenda, destroying the advantage they had enjoyed for 25 years.
As a result, so vicious was the attack on Reagan nominations—in particular conservative Judge Robert Bork—that Reagan and others seemed dismayed at the partisanship and political savagery.
Enormous amounts of money were raised to mount an anti-Bork ‘blitz’ of full-page advertisements, television spots, and direct lobbying of uncommitted senators.
When the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings actually started, liberals set up a ‘war room’ in the very building in which the committee was holding its hearings. ‘Troops’ actively lobbied senators and attacked Bork, not on the basis of his legal credentials, which were impeccable, but on his staunch conservative views.
Democrat Carl Levin was reported in TIME magazine in 1987 as saying, ‘It’s going to come down to philosophy’.9
This outcry revealed two crucial truths, said international columnist Norman Podhoretz, Editor of US Commentary.
‘The first is that a war is going on in this country. The second is that until a few days ago only one side—the side opposing Bork—seemed to know it.’10
‘Indeed, for all the endless complaints by conservatives about liberal domination of the media and the universities (including the law schools) they did not fully understand just how far this process of politicization has gone.... They could not take it in that liberal opinion still regards their ideas not as a respectable point of view to be debated but an evil to be wiped out.’ (Emphasis added.)
With this campaign effectively blocking Bork and other similar nominations, Reagan nominated an alternative less offensive to liberals, Anthony Kennedy. This nomination was labelled by some as at least a partial surrender.
With the resignation of left-wing Justice William J. Brennan, the way opened for the appointment of another conservative to the Supreme Court Hoping to avoid the savage confirmation fight surrounding President Reagan’s earlier conservative nominations, Bush picked a man almost no one knew. This was Rhodes scholar, Federal Appeals Court Judge David Souter.
However, liberal columnist George Thompson argued that Bush had ‘given us liberals an unexpected gift.’"
He saw Souter as a closet liberal who had praised liberal left-wing Justice William Brennan.
As reported by USA Today, Souter publicly aligned himself with the conservatives in several areas,
‘But on other questions including Church-State relations, criminal law and constitutional philosophy — he seemed to part company with the conservative wing, especially the views of Justice Antonin Scalia’.
If this is so then little may have changed. Reagan, Bush and the Republicans will have failed in their attempted reforms. For it is Antonin Scalia who, more than any other justice, fully realizes the socio-political implications of the court’s current anti-religious constitutional philosophy. Only time will show to what extent these newly appointed justices will halt the catastrophic undermining of godly values and religious liberty, or whether Reagan and Bush will in retrospect, like Eisenhower, regard such appointments as one of their ‘biggest mistakes’.
For the anti-creation lobby to still promote the US Supreme Court as being impartial and open-minded is either naive or very misleading, as is their appeal to the testimony of the Nobel laureates with no expert knowledge of evolution.
- Sydney Morning Herald, September 14,
- TIME magazine, Italy 30, 1990, pp. 42–44.
- W.O. Douglas, The Bible and the Public Schools, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1966.
- Hugo Black Jnr, My Father Hugo Black, Random House, 1975.
- Leo Pfeller, ‘Issues that Divide: The Triumph of Secular Humanism’, Journal of Church and State, 1977, pp. 203–205.
- What is Secular Humanism?, Servant Book, Michigan, p. 104.
- ‘Science and Culture’, Encounter, October, 1962.
- Astronomy magazine, January, 1986, pp. 90–95.
- TIME magazine, July 13, 1987, p. 4.
- Weekend Australian, October 10–11, 1987, p. 20.
- USA Today, International Edition, September 20, 1990, p 64.