Amy Coney Barrett references ‘Jewish-Palestinian conflict’ during oral arguments

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett used the term “Jewish-Palestinian conflict” during oral arguments for the high court’s case on religious education on Wednesday, triggering red flags for some on the left who argue her terminology signals a particular world-view.

During the questioning of Christopher Taub, who represented the state of Maine in Carson v. Makin, the justices threw out a number of hypothetical situations where religion might be taught in an educational context.

The case involves a suit against the state over a religious education exclusion in a school choice law, prohibiting state grant funding for “sectarian” schools because they teach a particular religious viewpoint.

Barrett gave this hypothetical during oral arguments: “Is there any kind — I mean, how would you even know if a — if a school taught all religions are bigoted and biased or, you know, Catholics are bigoted or, you know — or we take a position on the Jewish-Palestinian conflict because of our position on, you know, Jews, right?”

Did Barrett slip?

According to some on the left, like Esquire writer Charles P. Pierce, Barrett’s use of “Jewish-Palestinian conflict” instead of the more often-used “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” signaled an uber-conservative Christian viewpoint on Jews and the end times.

“The only people I’ve ever heard refer to the situation as the ‘Jewish-Palestinian’ conflict were conservative American Christians whose interest in Israel’s survival is based on anticipating the time in which, some Scripture says, all the Jews will return to Israel, one of the precipitating events leading to the return of Christ and the Final Judgment at the end of the world,” Pierce wrote.

He acknowledged that her reference could have been a “slip of the tongue,” but even that was significant in showing her out-of-mainstream viewpoint, he said.

Barrett has not been asked, nor has she commented on her use of the unusual term for the conflict between Israel and residents of “occupied” territory in the West Bank and Gaza that is typically referred to as Palestine.

What happens next?

According to The Jerusalem Post, the case will turn on whether the court’s conservative majority sees state funding of religious schools as interfering with the free exercise of or discriminating against religion.

They seem to be leaning toward the latter, based on Barrett’s questioning.

It would be the first time states were made to fund religious education in this particular way.

But as long as all religious schools that existed in the state had the same access to funding, it really isn’t promoting one religion over another, which is what the Founding Fathers feared. They wanted religion to be exercised, they just didn’t want the state telling people which one.

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