Saturday, August 06, 2005

Will Christians Be Allowed to Hold Public Office?

By Alexander Samuels

If anti-religious zealots such as Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer, Ted Kennedy, Dick Durbin and other members of the Christian-hating left have their way, there will, eventually, be no Christians holding appointed positions in our national government. According to Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, these individuals will use anything they can about Judge John Roberts' religious beliefs to smear him and keep him from becoming a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Sheldon's commentary from earlier this week, titled "Anti-Religious Bigots Target Judge John Roberts," goes on to say: . . .

Unfortunately, this anti-religious bigotry is nothing new. Senator Schumer vilified former Attorney General John Ashcroft when he was facing confirmation hearings in 2001. At that time, Schumer stated that Ashcroft's "zealous and impassioned advocacy" made him unfit to serve as Attorney General. Schumer then held a series of hearings titled, "Should Ideology Matter?" to promote the idea that a person's religious beliefs or philosophy should be a key consideration in approving a nomination. During Ashcroft's confirmation hearings, Sen. Harry Reid noted: "I think that we have a right to look at John Ashcroft's religion." Was Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Jewish faith scrutinized when she was facing confirmation hearings? I doubt it.

When William Pryor was being interrogated during his confirmation hearings, he was criticized for his "deeply held personal beliefs" by Liberals and was even questioned about why he rescheduled a family vacation to avoid "gay days" at Walt Disney World.

We seemed to have reached a point where any strongly-held religious belief—if it differs from Liberal dogma—will automatically exclude a highly qualified person from holding public office. This is a dangerous path to pursue. The new Liberal litmus test appears to be that no religious person with strongly-held beliefs need apply for a public post. The Liberal Senators seem to prefer atheists, agnostics, pro-abortion zealots, or those with no firmly-held beliefs about anything to become judges.

Do judicial candidates face rejection because they base their beliefs about human rights and morality on the Bible? Apparently so, if Schumer, Kennedy, and Durbin have their way. It seems to me that these Senators would be perfectly happy to approve judicial nominees who base their ideas on the Humanist Manifesto II, or the editorial page of the New York Times.

These distinguished Senators should re-read the U.S. Constitution, especially Article 6, which states that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification for any Office or public Trust under the United States."

The Founding Fathers put this into the Constitution because, prior to our nation's founding, most of the colonies had state-supported churches and required membership in a particular denomination to hold office or to vote. In 1778 in South Carolina, for example, no person who denied the existence of God could hold public office.

When the Republic was formed, the Founding Fathers wanted to make certain that no religious test would be used to prohibit Americans (regardless of religious affiliation) from participating in the system.

The Senators are wrong to impose a religious test on judicial candidates. When they took their oath of office, they swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. They are violating their oath and should be rebuked for their venal efforts to vilify a man because he's a Catholic and has a judicial philosophy that differs from theirs.

Christians in the United States need to quickly understand that those who have been maintaining the fiction of a "wall of separation between church and state" are not really interested in what they might call the "appropriate" participation of Christians in government. Their ultimate goal is the total exclusion of Christian participation in government.


At Sunday, August 07, 2005 12:18:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't it get tiring always preaching to the same old choir?

At Sunday, August 07, 2005 8:57:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


"Christian-hating left?"

You almost lost me at the top on this one.

Then I got to the bottom, where I saw "the fiction of a "wall of separation between church and state," and "their ultimate goal is the total exclusion of Christian participation in government,"

and I thought, this is a really sad, paranoid, hostile piece of writing.

At Sunday, August 07, 2005 9:25:00 AM, Blogger Roch101 said...

Kennedy anti-Christian. I don't know about the others, but Kennedy is Catholic.

At Sunday, August 07, 2005 10:40:00 AM, Anonymous Alex said...

"The gospel cannot be preached with truth and power if it does not challenge the pretensions and pride, not only of individuals, but of nations, cultures, civilizations, economic and political systems (Reinhold Niebuhr)."

"Do not ever let anyone claim to be a true American patriot if they ever attempt to separate Religion from politics (George Washington)."

Instead of "anti-religious" I suppose I should have just said "anti-Christian." Instead of "Christian-hating left" I should have also pointed out that there are politically extreme left (on the fringe)individuals who hate Christianity whom the rest of the political left just tends to follow.

As for the "fictional wall of separation:" "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" had always meant that Congress was prohibited from establishing a national religious denomination, that could require that all Americans become Catholics, Anglicans, or members of any other denomination.

This understanding of "separation of church and state" was applied not only during the time of the Founders, but for 170 years afterwards. James Madison (1751-1836) clearly articulated this concept of separation when explaining the First Amendment's protection of religious liberty. He said that the First Amendment to the Constitution was prompted because "The people feared one sect might obtain a preeminence, or two combine together, and establish a religion to which they would compel others to conform."

The complete and radical disassociation between Christianity and the State that is advocated by the "extreme political left" is not what they had in mind. It's clear that they had seen entirely too many religious wars and religious tyrannies in Europe, and they wanted to make sure that no specific Christian denomination (Baptist, Methodist, etc.)had authority over the State. It was never meant to exclude Christian influence from our government by excluding Christians (such as John Roberts) from holding public office.

I shall, of course, be proved wrong if no questions are raised about Judge Robert's religious beliefs during the conformation process. Thank you for your criticism of my writing. I shall, as always, endeavor to improve.

At Sunday, August 07, 2005 11:31:00 AM, Blogger Roch101 said...

Ted Kennedy, anti-Christian?

At Sunday, August 07, 2005 11:49:00 AM, Blogger George said...

As I said in a previous post. I am a Carolina Progressive Christian. Is that an oxymoron to those of you who think that to be a Christian you need to be a conservative? This whole post works on the theory that the hook of politics and religion is necessary.

Clearly our Lord left it to us to navigate the political waters of the day and gave us guidance on how to behave(You shall love the Lord... and you shall love your neighbors as yourselves...). I don't see Republican or Democrat written on that.

At Sunday, August 07, 2005 11:59:00 AM, Blogger George said...

Further, the 'litmus test' issue of abortion rights and gay rights was clearly present for the religious right prior to the selection of Roberts. It is disingenious to criticize the left for looking to block this nomination when the right would have gone bonkers at the nomination of Gonzales for clearly religious reasons.

At Sunday, August 07, 2005 2:27:00 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

This whole post works on the fact that we talk about religion and politics. If this makes some Christians uncomfortable with their politics and others, involved in politics, uncomfortable with their religion - I'm glad people are thinking.

At Sunday, August 07, 2005 2:32:00 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

Roch101 -

We assume that Ted is Catholic. As far as I know, however, he has voted against every piece of legislation that represents a clear moral position of the Catholic Church. So the assumption is not based on much.

At Sunday, August 07, 2005 6:18:00 PM, Blogger Roch101 said...

I don't know if Ted has voted in favor of death penalty legislation, but the Catholic Chrch is against the death penalty. Is a politician pro or anti-Christian if they support the death penalty?

Also, is failure to support legislation in line with the moral tenants of the Catholic Church the reason why you also labled Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin as anti-religious or is there some justification for applying that lable to them?

At Sunday, August 07, 2005 6:56:00 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

Without going into a whole lot of detail - Christians have legitimate disagreements about the death penality. I personally believe that the Bible teaches the use of the death penality for murder to be carried out by the government. Belief about this will not make a difference concerning your salvation. In my opinion, politicians are not pro or anti-Christian concerning this matter. Other Christians may disagree with me.

See original article on Schumer and Durbin.

At Sunday, August 07, 2005 8:03:00 PM, Blogger Roch101 said...

Yeah, okay. That's what I thought.

At Monday, August 08, 2005 12:00:00 AM, Blogger Mickey McLean said...

Michael wrote:
"I am a Carolina Progressive Christian. Is that an oxymoron to those of you who think that to be a Christian you need to be a conservative? This whole post works on the theory that the hook of politics and religion is necessary.

"Clearly our Lord left it to us to navigate the political waters of the day and gave us guidance on how to behave(You shall love the Lord... and you shall love your neighbors as yourselves...). I don't see Republican or Democrat written on that."

I believe that God is neither a Republican nor a Democrat (nor even an Independent). I believe He wants all his people to come into a saving relationship through His son Jesus Christ no matter how they vote.

As to whether you can be a "progressive" and a Christian or a "liberal" and a Christian, Michael, I don't know; that's between you and God. I can only tell you how I got to where I am. From the time I was 18 until I was 40, I was a registered Democrat, and you could safely say I was a liberal, especially from college on through my early 30s. However, as I began to examine the Bible more closely, and as the Democratic Party began to swing to the extreme left on various social issues, I had to look elsewhere. There was no way I could believe in and live according to what God says in the Bible and then turn around and support and vote for people who took so many stances inconsistent with His Word. But are Republicans completely in synch with the Good Book? No. But these days, in my opinion, they are more in line with it than the party of Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry.

Right now, I feel like my beliefs are respected by the Republicans while the Democrats tend to stomp all over them. It's no wonder I feel more at home these days with one party over the other. But who knows? Twenty years from now I could still be a Christian conservative and also be a Democrat once again.

At Friday, August 12, 2005 3:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's okay for Tom Coburn to question Roberts about his religious beliefs, but Durbin and Shumer should keep quiet? It's all relative, I suppose.

However, it's odd that Alex, who has previously championed the Bible's lack of ambiguity on moral issues, is sympathetic to "legitimate differences" of opinion between Christians when it comes to the death penalty. "Thou shalt not kill" is pretty vague, come to think of it. I guess it depends on whether you set your moral compass by your faith or your politics.

At Friday, August 12, 2005 4:48:00 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

To clarify my personal view for anonymous: I personally believe that every human deserves the right to life—from conception to death—and that we do not have the right to kill unborn children nor to murder the elderly through euthanasia. I do, however, tend to support the death penalty. The Bible is clear that the government has the responsibility to provide for peace and security for its people. I believe the government has the power to take the lives of those who murder others and to wage war against our enemies.


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