In U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker's reasoning, religion amounts to a "private moral view," which should not infringe upon the constitutional rights of others. While some legal scholars say Walker's decision to overturn California's Proposition 8 lands on firm legal ground, some religious leaders accuse the judge of trying to scrub faith from the public square.
The First Amendment protection of religious freedom is designed not just to protect the religious traditions that the majority of us like or feel comfortable with. It is meant to protect religious traditions that the majority may find strange or objectionable.
A disturbing factor in the rash of police shootings of unarmed black people and of deaths in police custody is that many of the victims were apprehended for petty offenses. Sandra Bland was stopped for not signaling a lane change, Samuel DuBose for a missing license plate, and Walter Scott for a busted taillight. A trend among municipalities is to issue fines as a means of generating revenue, and this onerous strategy falls disproportionately on people of color, many of whom are poor themselves. Not having the means to pay the fines can land them in jail, resulting in job loss and perpetuation of poverty—and increased distrust of law enforcement (Mother Jones, September/October).