Religious Testing, 1, 2, 3...

Friday, October 07, 2005

Religious Testing, 1, 2, 3...

Harriet Miers' religion is being used as shorthand for several things.

1) That it automatically makes her good, noble and trustworthy. (Because no bad or stupid people have ever been devout churchgoers.)

2) That her views on controversial social issues such as abortion or same-sex marriage are inferred by her deeply-held religious beliefs, therefore she must be against them because otherwise she'd be a bad Christian. (Because no devout Christian has ever disagreed with anything their church preaches. I guess these people don't know any Catholics.)

However, something tells me if she were an observant Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Wiccan or (eek!) a non-religious person she never would have made it to the bench. The fact that she is a fundamentalist, born-again Christian, just like her buddy Dubya, is emerging as one of the main reasons she has been nominated-- Bush knows her heart.
"In selecting a nominee, I've sought to find an American of [Christian] grace, judgment and unwavering devotion to [Christ] and laws of our [ Bible]. Harriet Miers is just such a person," Bush said. "I've known Harriet for more than a decade. I know her [Christian] heart. I know her [Christian] character."
Yes, Bush didn't say those things exactly, and I replaced "Christ" for the constitution, but essentially that is the message that is being conveyed to the conservative Christians who are concerned about Miers' convictions, whether it be someone from the White House or James Dobson's don't-worry-I-know-she's-a-good-Christian. Oh, yeah, and Bush is asking his usual followers to take his nomination of Miers on faith, it's as if he's saying "she believes in Jesus and she's a good friend of mine, isn't that enough for you people?"

Namely what conservative Christians want to know is that she is strongly anti-abortion and anti-gay and will allow her religious beliefs to sway her judicial decisions. That is what most of them mean when they say they want an "independent judiciary." Those conservatives who have already declared their support even when so little is known about her have done so solely because she is the member of a fundamentalist evangelical church. In the wake of Roberts' hearings where Dems were blasted for wanting to know how Roberts' faith might influence his thinking, this is nothing short of hypocritical.

Hmmm, don't we have a law against this somewhere? Oh, yeah, there is bit in the Constitution, Article VI, clause 3, "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." Although this isn't so much a religious test as much as repeated reassurances that she already passed the test. She's an evangelical Christian, giver her an A+!

Heh. And Joe Lieberman thought he had a shot at being president or vice president. Doesn't he know you have to love Jesus to be trusted in this country? Any evidence to the contrary that being a devout Christian does not automatically make you a good, moral person is ignored by most of the people in this country. Sadly, if we continue to do so we do so at our own peril.

Let's hope that someday we get to a point where we measure people in public office by their deeds and do not use their religious beliefs as a substitute.

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