Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito gave the commencement address at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, PA. The event was not open to the press, but Dana Difilippo with Newsworks/WHYY (Philadelphia’s public radio station) provided an account.
He gave a somber warning to the 75 graduates of the institution that primarily prepares men for ministry in the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
“For most of my life, American people have been united in their strong respect for religious liberty. But recently, things have started to change,” Alito said.
He added: “The idea that speech can be banned if it expresses an idea that is offensive is spreading around the country.”
Lawsuits over issues of sexual morality — including contraceptives, same-sex marriage and abortion — have spawned a “hostility” toward Christians who hold traditional moral values, Alito said.
Quoting his dissent in Obergefell vs. Hodges, the landmark case legalizing same-sex marriage, he said: “I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.”
Alito spoke of Christian persecution and prejudice through the centuries, saying: “History never repeats itself exactly, but it provides insight.”
But history is not finished with religious persecution, he added, citing an Italian study that found 90,000 Christians were killed for their faith around the world in 2016.
“There are more martyrs today than ever,” Alito said. “We in the United States need to pay more attention to what is happening to our sisters and brothers in other parts of the world.”
Alito is right and it is just a matter of time. President Donald Trump’s victory last November may have extended the timeline, but persecution, like we’ve never experienced, is coming. I’m not talking martyrdom, but an extensive effort to silence Christians with threats to our livelihood and liberty that will impact every believer. It is not a matter of if this happens, but when.
HT: Maggie Gallagher