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When it comes to the Supreme Court, atheists understand what most white evangelicals refuse to admit: the ultra-conservative court has become a powerful ally for the Christian Right—and religion in general.

A new survey released by the Pew Research Center found that 74% of atheists, compared to only 20% of white evangelicals, say the Supreme Court is “friendly” toward religion. 14% of white evangelicals reject that idea, presumably thinking the Court is just making legally sound decisions… that happen to benefit them.

The people who say the Court is friendly toward religion, across the board, mark a huge increase from just a few years ago.

We see similar results when people were asked how often they felt the Supreme Court justices relied on their religious beliefs to make decisions (as opposed to relying solely on the letter of the law, regardless of their personal views). 90% of atheists said “too much,” but only 15% of white evangelicals felt the same way.

The facts, as usual, are on the atheists’ side, and there’s no shortage of examples to make this point.

The Court, with its six conservatives, has overturned reproductive freedom (Dobbs), forced state governments to use taxpayer money to fund religious schools (Carson v. Makin), allowed public school officials to impose their religious views on students through coercion (Kennedy v. Bremerton School District), permitted a giant Christian cross to remain on public land (Bladensburg), and allowed churches to evade public health measures during the pandemic.

While these decisions theoretically apply to people of all faiths, in practice, these are decisions that benefit conservative Christians specifically. Sometimes, the very facts of the case are ignored in order to give conservative Christians a victory; sometimes, common sense is ignored for the sake of faith. The point is that there were plenty of legally sound ways the Christian Right could have lost these cases. They won them because the current Court is mostly made up of religious ideologues, not legal geniuses.

When we talk about the rise of Christian nationalism, the Supreme Court is the group most responsible for delivering victories to white evangelicals. Christian nationalists are relying on the Supreme Court to provide legal justification for their theocratic desires.

On top of all that, new reporting reveals that a former Christian leader who was part of a campaign to influence justices was so cozy with certain judges that he knew the outcome of at least one pivotal “religious liberty” case before it was announced publicly.

The anecdotes and the results all point to one conclusion: The Supreme Court’s majority is a tool of the Christian Right and it has been weaponized for years. The liberal justices have said as much in their dissents.

It’s still shocking, though, to see the giant gap when it comes to people who believe the justices have relied on their faith to make decisions. Only a handful of white evangelicals (15%) believe that’s true, but nearly all atheists (90%) agree. If you seriously believe the Courts would side with conservative Muslims or Hindus the same way they’ve sided with conservative Christians, then we’re living in different realities.

Andrew Seidel, the author of American Crusade: How the Supreme Court Is Weaponizing Religious Freedom, has seen this coming for years. He told me he’s “glad people are finally waking up to the danger posed by this Supreme Court.” That said, he felt the word “friendly” was too mild to describe the relationship between justices and religion. The justices, he said, are all too eager to give “conservative Christianity special legal privilege at the expense of turning everyone else into second class citizens.”

We may not live in a theocracy. But these justices are doing everything in their power to let conservative Christians dictate the rules the rest of us have to live by.

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of FriendlyAtheist.com, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.