Jay Am­brose: Hey, get those Ro­man Catholics

Calhoun Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein re­cently made it clear she is an an­tire­li­gious bigot who does not think some­one who is a de­vout Ro­man Catholic ought to be a fed­eral court judge. Just maybe, left­ist ex­trem­ists should not be sen­a­tors.

Fe­in­stein, to be sure, does not al­ways fit snugly into the left­ist camp, but there are left­ist warps in the Cal­i­for­nian’s think­ing. Such was ob­vi­ous in a con­gres­sional hear­ing eval­u­at­ing the cre­den­tials of Amy Bar­rett, a Notre Dame law pro­fes­sor nom­i­nated for the judge­ship by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. Fe­in­stein is op­posed to her, fear­ing that, as a judge, she would ad­here to tenets of her faith that con­tra­dict laws.

The ev­i­dence? As a Wall Street Jour­nal editorial and other sources point out, it was a doc­u­ment show­ing she would do no such thing.

As a law clerk, Bar­rett and a co- au­thor wrote an ar­ti­cle about judges fac­ing sit­u­a­tions in which their re­li­gious con­science would not per­mit them to do what the law re­quires. The an­swer, the two said, was for the judges to re­cuse them­selves. But Bar­rett has also made it clear she is truly of the faith, and Fe­in­stein can just not abide this. Deeply re­li­gious peo­ple are given to in­sis­tence on dog­mas that are counter to what large num­bers have fought to achieve for years, she said.

One thing that strikes me most im­me­di­ately about this kind of talk, echoed by other Demo­cratic sen­a­tors at the hear­ing, is that that all kinds of sec­u­lar moral con­vic­tions are held just as strongly as re­li­gious moral be­liefs. Do they have a greater claim to ve­rac­ity? No. A greater claim to good­ness? No.

Of­ten do­ing more dam­age than good, not a few on the left see lib­erty- shrink­ing co­er­cion as a suit­able means of get­ting to utopian imag­in­ings. Then there’s util­i­tar­ian quan­tifi­ca­tion to make the most peo­ple happy when it of­ten does no such thing while re­ject­ing fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples.

The truth is that, in this pe­cu­liar age in which we live, it is so­cially im­per­mis­si­ble in the minds of the po­lit­i­cally cor­rect to be even un­de­tectably of­fen­sive to just about any group but white males and Chris­tians. Es­pe­cially when the topic of Catholi­cism comes up, get ready for some­one like co­me­dian Bill Mahr seek­ing laughs by hate­fully treat­ing an ages- old, lifeen­rich­ing faith stand­ing for love as some­thing smaller than he is.

Peo­ple in pub­lic of­fice should be guided by moral un­der­stand­ings along with de­tailed knowl­edge and, one can hope, wis­dom. But we ob­vi­ously do not want those moral con­vic­tions serv­ing as a sub­sti­tute for rule of law. We do not want, for in­stance, what we of­ten get: lib­eral jus­tices on the Supreme Court in­vent­ing new con­sti­tu­tional mean­ings. At the same time, it is con­trary to just about ev­ery­thing this coun­try stands for to have some kind of re­li­gious test for pub­lic of­fice, in­clud­ing when the test is it­self de­vised in ac­cor­dance with sec­u­lar dog­mas.

At a time when reli­gion is un­der as­sault by the so- called New Athe­ists and the num­ber of church­go­ers is dwin­dling, it might also be ap­pro­pri­ate to point out that the Judeo- Chris­tian tra­di­tion is what more than any­thing gave the West jus­tice, lib­erty, the un­der­ly­ing moral­ity of even many athe­ists, a sense of com­mu­nity, the main­te­nance of civ­i­liza­tion and the es­tab­lish­ment of uni­ver­si­ties.

Horrible things have been done in the name of the faith just as they have been done in the name of just about any other in­sti­tu­tion you can name, but that does not mean prej­u­dices should be left stand­ing.

I am not a Catholic, was raised a Protes­tant and can in fact re­call bump­ing into anti- Catholic big­otry when I was a teenager and John F. Kennedy was run­ning for pres­i­dent. I ac­tu­ally heard fam­ily friends rant about Catholics hid­ing guns in the base­ments of churches to help them take over the coun­try, some­thing that even then struck me as ab­surd. Kennedy, a Catholic, got elected de­spite all that. I am hop­ing Amy Bar­rett gets to be a fed­eral judge.

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