Religious Liberty Contradictions in Supreme Court Case

Brian Kaylor


Sekulow's arguments on behalf of Pleasant Grove City suggest that his legal focus is not really in protecting religious liberty but in promoting Christianity.

Arguing before the Supreme Court was Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice that was founded by televangelist Pat Robertson.

However, this time Sekulow was not arguing for the religious rights of individuals—as he has in nearly a dozen other Supreme Court cases—but for the city that was denying equal religious rights to a religious minority group.

Sekulow's arguments on behalf of Pleasant Grove City suggest that his legal focus is not really in protecting religious liberty but in promoting Christianity.

The ACLJ claims it "is dedicated to protecting your religious and constitutional freedoms." The organization's Web site adds that the ACLJ is "committed to ensuring the ongoing viability of freedom and liberty in the United States and around the world" and desires "to protect our religious and constitutional freedoms."

Yet, in the Summum case, Sekulow argued against the religious rights of a minority faith and argued that the city should be allowed to choose which religious messages it will allow and which it will reject. Sekulow also seemed to suggest that if the government erects a monument—such as the Ten Commandments—it represents the beliefs of the government, thus resulting in the establishment of a specific religious faith.

Sekulow began his arguments before the Supreme Court by claiming that the monuments are "Government speech" and not "private speech" since the monuments are "selected by the Government, are owned by the Government, controlled by the Government, and are displayed on Government property. When the Government is speaking, it is free from the traditional free speech constraints of the First Amendment."