Hot on the heels of Rep. Bosma’s implication (and subsequent apology) that Christian prayer as official business of the House Representatives is acceptable because non-Christians are a minority of the population, U.S. Rep. Mike Sodrel seeks to bar access to the courts for minorities whose rights are violated by the likes of Bosma.
Sodrel has introduced a bill (H.R. 4776 – not yet available) that purports “To amend title 28, United States Code, with respect to the jurisdiction
of Federal courts over certain cases and controversies involving the
content of speech occurring during sessions of State legislative
bodies, and for other purposes.”
Without reading the legislation, it’s impossible to be sure, but presumably Sodrel’s legislation would prohibit judicial review and remedy where state legislatures choose to officially embrace Christianity or particular subsets thereof such as Catholicism or Mormonism because, like Rep. Bosma, they choose to ignore the Constitutional rights of those of minority faiths.
Again, the whole point of the First Amendment is to protect those in the minority from the passions and preferences of those in the majority. For Mike Sodrel to bar the minority’s access to the courts is to render those protections meaningless. Rep. Sodrel is in a tough election fight with Baron Hill. This is a pretty obvious attempt by Mike Sodrel to inflame the passions of the religious majority for political gain. This sort of religious demagoguery is exactly why the protections of the First Amendment are so important.
(And, once again, the Sodrels and the Bosmas of the world are attempt to portray this as a free speech issue. They are being wilfully ignorant on this point. Rep. Bosma’s attorney conceded that this case does not involve individual speech, only government speech. Our Constitution places limitations on the government. Limitation on government speech does not implicate the Free Expression Clause of the U.S. Constitution.)