Wednesday, July 27, 2005
by Wayne Besen
Relentlessly promoting God in the public square is the centerpiece of the right wing's dangerous political agenda. They fight to have The 10 Commandments placed in courthouses. Public schools are considered a battlefield for restoring sectarian prayer and teaching creationism. Congress is now an institution that often sounds more like a Pentecostal church than the seat of secular government.
When defending their actions in the exploitation of Terri Schiavo, congressional busybodies said they could not separate their private beliefs from their public duties.
"How is it possible, I wonder, to believe in the existence of God yet refuse to express outrage when His moral code is flouted?" Sen. Rick Santorum
, R-Penn., once said defending the interjection of religion into every political action.
With such absolutist positions on intertwining church and state, it strikes me as a little odd that Republicans are suddenly rallying to make sure questions about Supreme Court nominee
John Robert's religious beliefs are off the table.
"I hate to see somebody going down this road because it really smacks of a religious test for public service," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said in the New York Times.
Let me get this straight. Republican demagogic leaders have all but handed out study guides and Number 2 pencils for the past twenty-five years, and they suddenly have an aversion to religious tests?Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney
, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, held a cynical press conference this week on Capitol Hill to intimidate Democrats into not asking tough questions during confirmation hearings.
"It is extremely troubling that Judge Roberts would have to face any religious litmus test concerning his confirmation to the Supreme Court," Mahoney said. "This sadly reminds us that religious bigotry still exists in America and hearkens back to the days of political witch- hunts and racial discrimination. We would [sic] for members of the Senate Judiciary to make a public statement that any questions regarding Judge Roberts faith tradition are out of bounds."
How peculiar for Mahoney to want religion out of politics, considering he was a fervent supporter of Alabama Supreme Court Judge Roy Moore who illegally brought a monument of the 10 Commandments to the state courthouse.
To suddenly cry victim and declare religion "out of bounds" during confirmation hearings is untenable, unacceptable and stinks of rank hypocrisy. Thanks to the right's agenda, almost every controversial issue that will come before Congress or the Supreme Court involves religious extremists who want to force their values on all Americans.
At the heart of the abortion debate, for example, is the belief that life begins at conception. This idea is not based on medicine or science, but religious values. Therefore, Robert's theological views are germane to how he might rule as a judge.
Embryonic stem cell research is another example of how religion has been unnecessarily injected into politics. This research has the potential to alleviate suffering and save millions of lives. However, political moralists like Kansas Republican Sen. Sam Brownback are derailing science.
"The central question in this debate is simple," wrote Sen. Brownback
on his website. "Is the human embryo a person or piece of property? It is alive. Is it a life? If life begins at conception then we must protect this innocent human life from harm and destruction."
Opposition to embryonic stem cell research is based almost exclusively on the objections of right wing fundamentalists, even at the expense of saving the lives of people like, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Penn., who has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's
Indeed, the Supreme Court confirmation battle has itself been cast in religious terms of good vs. evil. The term "strict constructionist" is a slick substitution for "biblical literalist". And, on Aug. 14, Christian conservatives are organizing a telecast called Justice Sunday II and beaming it to churches and religious broadcasters in an effort to rally behind Roberts.
Judge Roberts is a very intelligent man and, in the end, may be a good choice. However, it is painfully troubling that right wing fanatics, like Focus on the Family's James Dobson, seems to think that Roberts is a great pick.
"We believe the issues we care about will be handled carefully by this judge." Dobson said.
It is equally disturbing that The White House said this week that Roberts was not a member of the ultra conservative legal organization, the Federalist Society
. It turns out that he was a member of the steering committee
for the Washington chapter in 1997-98. Is there an official effort to whitewash
Robert's true beliefs and affiliations?
"Yes, religion and politics do mix...Politicians who do not use the Bible to guide their public and private lives do not belong in office," Concerned Women for America Founder Beverly LaHaye once said.
As long as Judge Robert's backers are fringe groups like Concerned Women
, who want religion in every sphere of life, I don't want to hear the right carp that religion does not belong in the confirmation hearings. To a large extent the religious right has already succeeded, and now religion is politics. Congratulations, but the grilling Roberts will receive is the price of victory.
Hi Wayne, Good article. I feel that he will be confirmed without difficlty. If he messes with the abortion issue, just hand him hangers to hand out the the young women requesting one. Fred
posted by , at
How interesting, The Religious Right is now calling for Religion to NOT be the center point of Judge Roberts confirmation hearing. I hope some Radical Religious Right Knucklehead reads this and questions it, just like any logical thinking individual would, and ask....what is going on here? What God are they standing by now? This is typical of the Republicans these days....they seem to be confused...one day God is standing next to them in the fight against the Democrats and those pesky Gays, the other, He is put into the "closet" and not to be mentioned....I know what my sins are....I just hope they have all their bases covered when they go before the Almighty on judgement day...I'm afraid there is going to be a lot of backpeddeling trying to explain this to God. I just hope that I'm not behind them in line...I hate to watch people whine.
Palm Springs, Calif.
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