Religion Is Irrelevant Unless <em>We</em> Say It’s Relevant

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Religion Is Irrelevant Unless We Say It’s Relevant

Remember in 2003 when Republican senators had a hissy fit during confirmation hearings for appeals court nominee Bill Pryor? They accused Democrats of focusing too much on Bill Pryor’s religion?

Back then, the Committee for Justice paid for an ad that chastised Democrats for inquiring about Pryor’s religious beliefs and how they influenced his judicial philosophy. The CJ ad asked:
"Don’t they know the Constitution expressly prohibits religious tests for public office?"
How times change.

Now many conservative groups have no problem at all with holding nominees to religious tests. Indeed, as explained last week, conservatives are working to rally support for Harriet Miers based largely on her “born again” status and the kind of church she attended.

According to
The (New York) Times reported that Monday morning that "the White House and the Republican Party began organizing a series of nearly a half-dozen conference calls with conservative organizers. .... In one call, friends of Ms. Miers, including Justice Nathan Hecht of the Texas Supreme Court, testified to her evangelical Christian faith and devoted participation in the theologically conservative Valley View Christian Church in Dallas” …. Hecht told the Los Angeles Times, “Harriet goes to a church that is pro-life … She gives them a lot of money ...”

… according to the Detroit Free Press, Sean Rushton, executive director of the Committee for Justice, said supporters are spreading "the story of Harriet Miers becoming a Christian" — a story "linked to her growing political conservatism."
Clearly, conservatives are willing to promote a judicial nominee on the basis of his or her religion. It's only when Democrats refer to a nominee's religion that conservatives get pissed off.

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