Government can, should, support religion, Supreme Court Justice says

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“Government support for religion is not only justified by the Constitution, it was the norm for hundreds of years and it helped the United States become a free and prosperous nation,” Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Saturday in Metairie.

Speaking before a small crowd at Archbishop Rummel High School, Scalia delivered a short but provocative speech on religious freedom that saw the conservative Catholic take aim at those who confuse freedom of religion for freedom from it.

“The Constitution’s First Amendment protects the free practice of religion and forbids the government from playing favorites among the various sects,” Scalia said, “but that doesn’t mean the government can’t favor religion over nonreligion.”

“That was never the case historically,” he said. “It didn’t become the law of the land until the 60s,” Scalia said, “when he said activist judges attempted to resolve the question of government support of religion by imposing their own abstract rule rather than simply observing common practice.”

“If people want strict prohibition against government endorsement of religion, let them vote on it,” he said. “Don’t cram it down the throats of an American people that has always honored God on the pretext that the Constitution requires it.”

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