". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Christians Excluded from Jury Duty? ‘We Can’t Let That Happen’: Missouri AG

February 26, 2024

The nation’s finest legal minds warn that ongoing efforts to exclude Christians from serving on juries due to their biblical beliefs is part of a campaign “relegating Christians to second-class citizen status.”

The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a Missouri case in which potential jurors were kicked off the jury after saying they went to a “conservative Christian church” that taught that having homosexual behavior is sinful — even after assuring they could properly apply the law. Barring Christians from serving civic functions based on their beliefs “exemplifies the danger that I anticipated in Obergefell v. Hodges,” the controversial 2015 Supreme Court decision that invented the “right” to same-sex marriage, wrote Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

“We’re not going to let radical left-wing progressives relegate Christians to second-class citizen status,” Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey (R) told “Washington Watch” guest host and former U.S. Congressman Jody Hice on February 23.

The legal fracas began when a woman named Jean Finney, who identifies as lesbian, said the Missouri Department of Corrections fired her because she “presents masculine,” which she says violates statutes barring discrimination based on sex. The Obama-Biden administration significantly altered the judicial landscape by promoting a novel legal theory that landmark civil rights legislation intended to ban discrimination against women actually applies to people who identify as homosexual or transgender.

Finney’s attorney asked potential jurors if any of them “went to a conservative Christian church” where “it was taught that people [who] are homosexua[l] shouldn’t have the same rights as everyone else,” because “what they did” was “a sin.” One pastor’s wife reportedly told the lawyer that “homosexuality, according to the Bible, is a sin,” and “so is gossiping, so is lying.” Another agreed homosexual relations are sinful, because “it’s in the Bible,” but “every one of us here sins. … It’s just part of our nature.” Furthermore, whether someone sins “has really nothing to do with” the case at hand.

“The jurors specifically said, ‘We are Christians, we have some sincerely held Christian beliefs, but can follow the law,’” Bailey told Hice. “Christians are able to follow the law just like anybody else.”

But Finney’s attorney insisted “there’s no way … somebody [who] looks at a gay person and says … ‘You are a sinner’” could fairly apply the law and denied the Christians their right to fulfill their civic duty.

The Missouri Court of Appeals upheld the Christians’ dismissal, saying the belief that sodomy is “sinful (meaning immoral and wrong)” gave Finney reason to believe “that they could not impartially and fairly decide her claim that she was unlawfully harassed due to her homosexuality — even if [they] claimed that their religious beliefs would not prevent them from serving.” The court said the Christians weren’t thrown off the jury because they’re Christians, but because their Christian church holds to traditional views of same-sex behavior.

The Supreme Court declined to hear the case, Missouri Department of Corrections v. Jean Finney, last Tuesday — a decision Alito reluctantly affirmed due to technical, procedural issues. But in a rare comment on the order, he wrote the case bore out concerns he identified nine years ago at the time of the ruling.

In his dissent to Obergefell, Justice Alito dismissed assurances from the court’s activist bloc that Christians’ “rights of conscience will be protected.”

“We will soon see whether this proves to be true,” wrote Justice Alito. “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.”

Since that time, left-leaning legal organizations and governments have targeted Christian photographers, bakers, florists, and adoption agencies to deny them their right to practice their religion in business, or in the raising of their children.

Justice Alito similarly warned Obergefell, like Roe v. Wade, constituted a raw exercise of judicial power. “If a bare majority of justices can invent a new right and impose that right on the rest of the country, the only real limit on what future majorities will be able to do is their own sense of what those with political power and cultural influence are willing to tolerate,” wrote Alito in the dissent. “All Americans, whatever their thinking on that issue, should worry about what the majority’s claim of power portends.”

Years later, he sees his warning coming to fruition. “I see no basis for dismissing a juror for cause based on religious beliefs,” wrote Justice Alito on Tuesday. “I am concerned that the lower court’s reasoning may spread and may be a foretaste of things to come.”

“When a court, a quintessential state actor, finds that a person is ineligible to serve on a jury because of his or her religious beliefs, that decision implicates fundamental rights,” wrote Alito.

The Founding Fathers agreed. In his first inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson listed “freedom of religion; freedom of the press … and trial by juries impartially selected” as part of “the bright constellation” of “essential functions of our government.”

“The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment,” he said.

Jefferson’s predecessor and political rival, John Adams, agreed. “Representative government and trial by jury are the heart and lungs of liberty. Without them we have no other fortification against being ridden like horses, fleeced like sheep, worked like cattle and fed and clothed like swine and hounds,” said Adams.

Christian jurors grounded in the Constitution say they refuse to sit by as believers to be systematically stripped of their rights and excluded from a civic duty the Founding Fathers described as analogous to voting. “We’re not going to let radical left-wing progressives relegate Christians to second-class citizen status. … We can’t let that happen,” Bailey said. “The right to participate on juries is codified in the United States Constitution. And that’s a right of citizenship.”

“The only people being discriminated against when the states pass these anti-discrimination laws too often are Christians, Christians who believe in biblical truth.”

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.