Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Defends Public Expression of Faith

January 13, 2003

Source: The Washington Post

On January 13, 2003 The Washington Post reported that "a historic Virginia law and the constitutional amendment guaranteeing freedom of religion did not intend to 'exclude God from the public forums and from political life,' Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said yesterday... In a short speech to about 150 people gathered in a small park in Fredericksburg to commemorate a landmark Virginia statute that ultimately served as the blueprint for the First Amendment to the Constitution, Scalia criticized court decisions in recent years that have outlawed expressions of religious faith in public events... He cited as an example a California federal court ruling last summer that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance were a violation of the separation of church and state... In his 10-minute speech, Scalia launched a spirited defense of such public expressions of religious faith as coins stamped 'In God We Trust,' chaplains in the military services and in Congress and nondenominational prayers before high school graduations."