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Tags: durbin | franken | feinstein

Congressional Dems Set Dangerous Precedent With Attacks on Religion

Congressional Dems Set Dangerous Precedent With Attacks on Religion
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., on Capitol Hill. Catholic leaders and university presidents recently objected to Feinstein's questions for one of President Trump’s judicial nominees, arguing focusing on her faith runs counter to the Constitution’s prohibition on religious tests for political office. The outcry stems from the questioning of Amy Coney Barrett. (Cliff Owen/AP)

Michael Dorstewitz By Thursday, 14 September 2017 12:21 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

America is in danger of losing one of its core founding principles — freedom of religion.

The Pilgrims settled in the New World to escape religious persecution — 400 years later we’re encountering it again. If the confirmation hearings for a recent judicial nominee are any indication, U.S. Senate Democrats are leading the charge.

Notre Dame Law School professor Amy Coney Barrett was appointed by President Donald Trump to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Judicial Circuit.

Her Catholic faith is a problem to some members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

Committee members bombarded Barrett with arguments, calling into question her qualifications to sit on the bench because of her faith, beginning with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

This is nothing new for the California Democrat. She’s expressed anti-Catholic bigotry when questioning judicial candidates in the past. But now she’s ramped up the effort, criticizing Barrett because her Catholic "dogma lives loudly within" her.

Feinstein, the committee's ranking Democrat, said, "When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you," adding, "And that's of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for, for years in this country."

Seriously? Being a devout adherent to one’s faith used to be a matter of personal pride and something to admire in others — now it’s "a matter of concern."

It also concerned committee member and Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, who found Barrett’s use of the term "orthodox Catholics" in one of her writings troubling.

The Illinois Democrat asked, "Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?"

She admitted that she did, but added that she wouldn’t allow her religious beliefs to interfere with her judicial duties. That wasn’t enough for Durbin, however.

Sen. Durbin said, "I prefaced my remarks by saying that going into a person’s religion is not the right thing to do in every circumstance,"  adding, "But she’s been outspoken. As a law school professor at Notre Dame she has taken on the tough challenge of how a person with strong religious beliefs becomes a judge and looks at American law."

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., a former comic, went so far as to call Barrett a liar about a faith-based legal advocacy group with which she’s associatedthe Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

Sen. Franken also said that she was "irresponsible" and used "bad judgment" in accepting a fellowship with the organization’s respected Blackstone project.

Franken cited the oft discredited Southern Poverty Law Center’s cavalier use of the term "hate" when categorizing the ADF as a hate group. Barrett wasn’t having it, however, and observed that the ADF enjoys a strong reputation with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Barrett said, "I gather that the SPLC’s designation of ADF as a hate group is controversial. I didn’t learn about that until more recently. But, again, that was not my experience with the Blackstone program."

Other groups earning the SPLC’s definition of hate group includes the Jewish Defense League, the Family Research Council and Liberty Counsel.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson has been placed on SPLC’s extremist watch list, as has anti-Islamic extremist activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali. And Franken uses the SPLC as the defining authority?

Questioning Barrett’s Catholicism comes dangerously close to a violation of Article VI, Section 3 of the Constitution, which provides that " . . . no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

But this is merely the latest of the government’s attempt to deteriorate religious liberty.

Others include the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s lawsuits to force employers to pay for abortion-inducing drugs to their employees in violation of their strong religious beliefs. Defendants on these actions include Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor.

State government agencies have also subjected bakers, photographers, and caterers to heavy fines for declining to serve same-sex wedding ceremonies — when doing so would violate their strogly-held religious beliefs.

The ascension of former U.S. Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court may have been a first step to halt government’s anti-religious sentiment. Appointments such as Barrett’s would strengthen the push-back from the right.

Adding importance to the battle is that if religious freedom is lost here, there will be no "New World" where new "pilgrims" can go to escape religious persecution.

Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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America is in danger of losing its freedom of religion. The ascension of former U.S. Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court may have been a first step to halt government’s anti-religious sentiment. Appointments like that of Amy Coney Barrett’s would strengthen the right's pushback.
durbin, franken, feinstein
Thursday, 14 September 2017 12:21 PM
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