So help us God
On Tuesday, I discussed Christopher Hitchens' assertion that a Supreme Court nominee's religious convictions are fair game for questioning during the confirmation process. I agreed, but disputed Hitchens' notion that Catholics in particular should be singled out. Today, Cathy Young at Reason weighs in on the issue, raising some very salient points and countering religious conservatives' claims that such a line of questioning is tantamount to discrimination:
Philosophically, we are now light years away from the era in which John F. Kennedy made his plea for separation of politics and faith. We live in a time when there is a growing movement, backed by most conservatives, for the Catholic Church to excommunicate public officials who support abortion rights. If religion is going to have that kind of political influence, it's a bit hypocritical to complain when a politician's or judge's religion becomes an issue. A candidate's or nominee's ideology should be fair game whether it's religious or secular in nature, whether it's rooted in conservative Catholicism or liberal feminism. ...
As for complaints of "religious intolerance," let's not forget that, in today's America, an outspoken atheist would have a snowball's chance in hell of being confirmed for a federal judgeship. For that matter, he would never be nominated.