Too Any Catholics?

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Lilith
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Too Any Catholics?

Post by Lilith » Wed Jul 27, 2005 2:47 pm

Roberts Would Be Fourth Catholic on Court By RICHARD N. OSTLING, AP


If John Roberts is confirmed, he will be the fourth Roman Catholic on the Supreme Court, an all-time high that is focusing attention on how faith might influence law on the high court.

From abortion to capital punishment to physician-assisted suicide, the upcoming term offers plenty of issues in which the Catholic church has strong interest.

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At a time when Catholic priests and bishops are very willing to threaten and punish members that do not follow their rules and regulations (except the child molesters of course), is it imprudent to think that 4 out of 9 justices under this type of influence is a bit too much. Can you really have separation of church and state when the bishops and priests are laying down the rules to Supreme Court Justices?
(Yes, I'm aware that some Catholics have voted against positions held by their Church)

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Post by BWV 1080 » Wed Jul 27, 2005 3:11 pm

So are you proposing quotas or just trying to whip up some good old-fashioned know-nothing papist bashing?

Gregory Kleyn

Post by Gregory Kleyn » Wed Jul 27, 2005 4:04 pm

:arrow:
Last edited by Gregory Kleyn on Wed Jul 27, 2005 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Lilith » Wed Jul 27, 2005 4:26 pm

some good old-fashioned know-nothing papist bashing?

Some good old fashioned papist bashing (Rat-zinger) would be just fine. They've earned it, don't you think?

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Post by jbuck919 » Wed Jul 27, 2005 5:10 pm

We can rationalize our way around this as much as we want, but the fact of the matter is that the official position of the Catholic church is that abortion is the moral equivalent of murder and that it is the duty of all Catholics to strive to write that standard into the law. All public figures who deviate from that expectation deviate, as far as the Church hierarchy which still has complete legal control of the Church, are to the extent they deviate dissident and not quite completely Catholic. That is not the opinion of the average lay person, but the average lay person does not literally own every piece of Catholic property and what stands on it in every diocese in the United States.

I have of course mentioned only one issue and ignored others, such as gay [marriage] rights.

I do not think for a minute that we can make assumptions about Roberts based on this unfortunate state of affairs, but I also think it is unduly optimistic completely to dismiss any problems raised by a modern public figure claiming to be devoutly Catholic or devoutly anything else as long as the purely religious teachings involved are only not normative for all of society because that religious body happens not to have sufficient political power to make it so.

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Post by Ralph » Wed Jul 27, 2005 5:38 pm

Those who worry about how a Catholic reconciles his/her faith with the demands of civil office simply lack an element of trust that one who can't separate from dogma probably wouldn't accept office.

Justice Scalia isa devout Caholic but his accommodationist views are shared by very many of different faiths or none and his Constitutional outlook - which I largely don't share - isn't reflective of Church teachings.

Justice Brennan was a very devout Catholic as is former New York governor Mario Cuomo. Both left their religion at home when they went to work. I see no evidence that Judge Roberts would act differently.

Years ago my school hired a Surrogate's Court clerk as a full-time professor. He never made any secret of his desire to be on the Bench but he always said that as a religious Catholic he could never accept a judicial office as long as Roe v. Wade was the law of the land. I respected his integrity in foregoing what he could have easily had from the Westchester Republican Party.

There seems to be a latent seeming pattern of questioning without evidence Catholic office seekers and judicial candidates while someone like Joe Lieberman only had to say he kept his Orthodox Jewish faith out of political decisions for that intimation to basically die a-borning.

Evidence-NOT insinuations reflecting historic prejudices.
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Post by Werner » Wed Jul 27, 2005 5:49 pm

This could be a touchy subject. I'm not aware that the other three Catholics on the Court have felt or shown the influence of the Church in their opinions. Of course, JFK faced the issue head-on when he ran for President, and the issue was never again raised during his Presidency as far as I'm aware.

To discriminate against Roberts on the grounds of his religion would be as wrong as applying that standard against any other denomination. If Roe v Wade is any indication, he has stated that he has no conviction that would prevent him from regarding it as the settled law of the land. Unless the hearings raise any greater doubt on this subject, I believe he is entitled to the benefit of the doubt - and the expectation that service on the Court will deepen his devotion to the principles he is sworn to uphold.
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Post by Lilith » Wed Jul 27, 2005 5:50 pm

"Evidence-NOT insinuations reflecting historic prejudices."

I'll give you evidence:
1) His wife is Catholic and an activist antiabortionist
2) Bishops and Priests have penalized public figures for diverting from position of Church teaching...we all know these stories

This is evidence that Roberts cannot be unbiased - his marriage and his faith will pull deeply upon any decision he will make.

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Post by Werner » Wed Jul 27, 2005 6:08 pm

It won't do to drop to the level of the Rev. Ian Paisley's anti-papist harangues to try to combat this nomination. It won't work. And Guilt by Association is not an acceptable standard.
Last edited by Werner on Wed Jul 27, 2005 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ted

Post by Ted » Wed Jul 27, 2005 6:09 pm

official position of the Catholic church is that abortion is the moral equivalent of murder
At least the Catholic Church is consistent given its disapproval of the death penalty

Those on the Right have somehow managed to rationalize a difference between the two

As have those who think like me… only the other way around

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Post by Lilith » Wed Jul 27, 2005 6:28 pm

Werner- As Catholic priests and bishops become more and more aggressive in trying to prevent ME from having an abortion or ME from using birth control (not their flock but ME), I'm afraid the kid gloves will have to come off.
Talk about guilt by association- thanks for the Paisley comparison.

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Post by Ralph » Wed Jul 27, 2005 6:31 pm

Lilith wrote:"Evidence-NOT insinuations reflecting historic prejudices."

I'll give you evidence:
1) His wife is Catholic and an activist antiabortionist
2) Bishops and Priests have penalized public figures for diverting from position of Church teaching...we all know these stories

This is evidence that Roberts cannot be unbiased - his marriage and his faith will pull deeply upon any decision he will make.
*****


Lilith,

I've been a Pro Choice activist since before Roe. What you present isn't evidence, it's insinuations.

I've represented - effectively and with full dedication - many whose values and/or lifestyles are repugnant to me. I don't bring MY beliefs in once I agree to take a case.

So his wife is an active antiabortionist. And if Gore had won and he nominated someone whose spouse was actively Pro Choice would you find it legitimate for conservatives to question that nominee's judicial objectivity? Methinks not.

And to burden any Catholic with issues relating to clerical actions is absurd. Very many Catholics serve in public office and have stated that they do not apply their clerics' teachings or actions to their official roles.

Each Catholic decides in our country whether to follow a church teaching or not.

I deal with judges, state and federal, all the time. I have known and know many personally. Very few care about spouse's or relatives beliefs when deciding cases.

Did it occur to you that Mrs. Roberts might also believe that one who takes the oath of a federal judge owes first allegiance to the Constitution?
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Post by Lilith » Wed Jul 27, 2005 7:23 pm

"Did it occur to you that Mrs. Roberts might also believe that one who takes the oath of a federal judge owes first allegiance to the Constitution?"

It occured to me- I don't believe it for a minute.
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Re: Too Any Catholics?

Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Jul 27, 2005 7:39 pm

Lilith wrote:Roberts Would Be Fourth Catholic on Court By RICHARD N. OSTLING, AP


If John Roberts is confirmed, he will be the fourth Roman Catholic on the Supreme Court, an all-time high that is focusing attention on how faith might influence law on the high court.

From abortion to capital punishment to physician-assisted suicide, the upcoming term offers plenty of issues in which the Catholic church has strong interest.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

At a time when Catholic priests and bishops are very willing to threaten and punish members that do not follow their rules and regulations (except the child molesters of course), is it imprudent to think that 4 out of 9 justices under this type of influence is a bit too much. Can you really have separation of church and state when the bishops and priests are laying down the rules to Supreme Court Justices?
(Yes, I'm aware that some Catholics have voted against positions held by their Church)
And I'm sure you have the voting records of all the Catholics on SCOTUS and can demonstrate how those votes have been influenced by the Church, just as you have the records of all the Catholic members of congress and can show how the Church has influenced their votes.

Of course you don't any such a thing. And if you can't prove it thru the voting records of the existing Catholics on the court, you must certainly be able explain why his Catholicism is such a compelling factor in Roberts' confirmation.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Jul 27, 2005 7:45 pm

Lilith wrote:This is evidence that Roberts cannot be unbiased - his marriage and his faith will pull deeply upon any decision he will make.
You are scaring yourself with this wildly exaggerated view of a wife's influence over her husband's professional life.
As Catholic priests and bishops become more and more aggressive in trying to prevent ME from having an abortion or ME from using birth control (not their flock but ME), I'm afraid the kid gloves will have to come off.
Well, you don't listen to them, do you? The worst that would happen if Roe v. Wade were struck down, which it won't be no matter how wrongly it was decided, is that abortion would return to the states' legislative arena, where it was before Roe v. Wade and where it rightfully belongs. You would still be able to get your birth control pills and your abortions if you went to a state where it was legal, assuming you don't live there already.
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Post by Lilith » Wed Jul 27, 2005 7:52 pm

Corlyss- do you think it will stop with abortion? You saw what those crazy loons were doing in Florida.

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Post by jbuck919 » Wed Jul 27, 2005 8:00 pm

Ted wrote:
official position of the Catholic church is that abortion is the moral equivalent of murder
At least the Catholic Church is consistent given its disapproval of the death penalty
The opposition to the death penalty is an innovation that dates only about as far back as the vernacular Mass. Prior to that, for its entire history, the Catholic Church recognized and even underwrote the right of the state to take a life for some crimes. The movement that calls itself Traditional Catholic finds abortion one of the few issues on which it is in complete agreement with the current Roman teaching, while the same movement is scandalized (the word is not too strong) that Rome now opposes the death penalty.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Jul 27, 2005 8:05 pm

Lilith wrote:Corlyss- do you think it will stop with abortion? You saw what those crazy loons were doing in Florida.
No, I don't. The state has never effectively controlled abortions, either before Roe v. Wade and certainly not after. At the time Roe v. Wade was decided quite a few states - I don't recall which or how near the magic 30+ there were - had legalized abortion.

The thing you have to remember about the lunatics in Florida is how black an eye the Republicans got for it with 80+% of the public disapproving of what the Republicans did in the Schiavo case. The vast majority in the US support the availability of abortions as a decision to be made between a woman and her doctor. Many of them don't support unrestricted abortion, i.e., anywhere, anytime, for any reason, but basically abortion is rock solid in this country thru the states, regardless of what happens in the Federal system.
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Post by jbuck919 » Wed Jul 27, 2005 8:11 pm

Ralph wrote:And to burden any Catholic with issues relating to clerical actions is absurd. Very many Catholics serve in public office and have stated that they do not apply their clerics' teachings or actions to their official roles.

Each Catholic decides in our country whether to follow a church teaching or not.
This is true, and explains why the Catholicism of Catholics in government has traditionally been a non-issue. Nor is it likely to change because politicians who do not vote (or render a decision) according to Church teaching now sometimes find themselves under threat of excommunication (the consequence that would be all but automatic to adherents of certain other denominations). Nevertheless, at the very least things are moving backwards from the complete irrelevancy of Catholicity that we were very close to. It is a bigger deal for legislators than for jurists.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Jul 27, 2005 8:57 pm

jbuck919 wrote:Nevertheless, at the very least things are moving backwards from the complete irrelevancy of Catholicity that we were very close to. It is a bigger deal for legislators than for jurists.
But the truly delicious part of the "backward" movement, if such a thing is happening, is who is muttering darkly about the dubious Catholic character of the nominee! Why, that "caCHING" you hear is the tally of horrified catholics moving from the Democratic column to the Republican column. The Dems have been the traditional home of the Catholics, esp. first and second generation immigrant Catholics and now to demonstrate how family values and faith oriented they are, they are running up trial balloons about Roberts Catholicism to see if they can stir up some activism on behalf of the fanatical abortion rights wing. I'm dying here for the Dems to keep pressing this issue. Why, this is almost too good to be true! I'm desperately afraid the Democratic adults (like Dick Daley in Chicago) will come back into the room and stop this madness.
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Post by Ralph » Wed Jul 27, 2005 9:15 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:Nevertheless, at the very least things are moving backwards from the complete irrelevancy of Catholicity that we were very close to. It is a bigger deal for legislators than for jurists.
But the truly delicious part of the "backward" movement, if such a thing is happening, is who is muttering darkly about the dubious Catholic character of the nominee! Why, that "caCHING" you hear is the tally of horrified catholics moving from the Democratic column to the Republican column. The Dems have been the traditional home of the Catholics, esp. first and second generation immigrant Catholics and now to demonstrate how family values and faith oriented they are, they are running up trial balloons about Roberts Catholicism to see if they can stir up some activism on behalf of the fanatical abortion rights wing. I'm dying here for the Dems to keep pressing this issue. Why, this is almost too good to be true! I'm desperately afraid the Democratic adults (like Dick Daley in Chicago) will come back into the room and stop this madness.
*****

It's your imagination that any real number of leading Democrats are pursuing this obvious non-issue.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Jul 27, 2005 10:22 pm

Ralph wrote:It's your imagination that any real number of leading Democrats are pursuing this obvious non-issue.
Oh really? I guess you don't think Durbin is a leading Democrat. He's the Senate minority whip, but I guess he's not important enought to rate, right? We all remember what the resounding Democratic response was the last time he shot off his arrogant desperate mouth. You really honestly think that his behavior is not part of a congressional Democratic strategy (not saying it is intelligent or effective or worthy or even a strategy, but it seems to be what passes for strategy in the drafty dark corners of the Democratic party these days)?
The faith of John Roberts
By Jonathan Turley
Jonathan Turley is a law professor at George Washington University.

July 25, 2005

Judge John G. Roberts Jr. has been called the stealth nominee for the Supreme Court — a nominee specifically selected because he has few public positions on controversial issues such as abortion. However, in a meeting last week, Roberts briefly lifted the carefully maintained curtain over his personal views. In so doing, he raised a question that could not only undermine the White House strategy for confirmation but could raise a question of his fitness to serve as the 109th Supreme Court justice.

The exchange occurred during one of Roberts' informal discussions with senators last week. According to two people who attended the meeting, Roberts was asked by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) what he would do if the law required a ruling that his church considers immoral. Roberts is a devout Catholic and is married to an ardent pro-life activist. The Catholic Church considers abortion to be a sin, and various church leaders have stated that government officials supporting abortion should be denied religious rites such as communion. (Pope Benedict XVI is often cited as holding this strict view of the merging of a person's faith and public duties).

Renowned for his unflappable style in oral argument, Roberts appeared nonplused and, according to sources in the meeting, answered after a long pause that he would probably have to recuse himself.

It was the first unscripted answer in the most carefully scripted nomination in history. It was also the wrong answer.
In taking office, a justice takes an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States. A judge's personal religious views should have no role in the interpretation of the laws. (To his credit, Roberts did not say that his faith would control in such a case).

Roberts may insist that he was merely discussing the subject theoretically in an informal setting, and that he doesn't anticipate recusing himself on a regular basis. But it's not a subject that can be ignored; if he were to recuse himself on such issues as abortion and the death penalty, it would raise the specter of an evenly split Supreme Court on some of the nation's most important cases.

Roberts could now face difficult questions of fitness raised not only by the Senate but by his possible colleague, Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the most conservative members of the court (and a devout Catholic). Last year, Scalia chastised Catholic judges who balk at imposing the death penalty — another immoral act according to the church: "The choice for a judge who believes the death penalty to be immoral is resignation, rather than simply ignoring duly enacted constitutional laws and sabotaging the death penalty."

Roberts is known to be an honest and straightforward person. His answer seems to be a frank effort to deal with a deep-seated conflict of faith and public duties. As a government attorney, he was a coauthor of a brief that argued that Roe vs. Wade should be overturned. Yet later, in his appellate court confirmation hearings, Roberts was asked specifically whether he could apply Roe vs. Wade and he stated that he could. Now, as he moves toward a job in which he could ultimately be the deciding vote to narrow, preserve or overturn the doctrine, it could be a materially different moral choice for a devout jurist.

Unless Roberts denies the statement or somehow neutralizes it, it could seriously undermine the strategy of the White House for the confirmation hearings. For years, Roberts has been carefully groomed for greater things, one of a new generation of post-Bork nominees, young conservatives who have been virtually raised on a hydroponic farm for flawless conservative fruit. They learned to confine their advocacy to legal briefs so that their true views are only known to the White House and to God.

Now, however, Roberts may have opened the door to the very questions that the White House sought to avoid with his nomination. If he would have to recuse himself before ruling contrary to his faith, the Senate is entitled to ask specifically how he would handle obvious conflicts on issues such as abortion and the death penalty.

With the Roberts statement, the masterful "un-hearings" that the Bush administration hoped to have, in which nominees are not required to answer specific questions about their judicial views, would become particularly awkward.

This is not a question driven by ideology. I favor some of the conservative changes that Roberts is expected to bring in doctrine, and I believe that he has excellent qualifications for the position. I also believe that the president is entitled to such a conservative nominee.

The question of recusal raised with Durbin reflects a serious and important debate occurring within the Catholic community, in which I also was raised. It is the classic Sir Thomas More conflict of trying to serve both God and king. However, these are questions not just for a nominee to ponder but for senators.

None of this means that Roberts is unfit due to his faith. But in the end, the Senate is left a question that seems to grow each day: Who is John Roberts? The burden may now have shifted to the White House to fully answer this question.



Of course, what's passing strange about this report is that this paragon of jounalistic and legalistic virtue writing this article shows not the slightest outrage at the senator's question, only the answer.
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Post by Ralph » Wed Jul 27, 2005 10:36 pm

Sure there's Durbin. And the Republicans have DeLay whose comments about the judiciary were downright dangerous. So, no, the fact that someone who shoots off his/her mouth and looks like an ass is in a leadership position doesn't prove that the most of the party is behind extravagant or stupid utterances.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Jul 27, 2005 10:46 pm

Ralph wrote: doesn't prove that the most of the party is behind extravagant or stupid utterances.
You're kidding yourself, Ralph. And there is no refuge in the "I was misquoted" canard. Durbin admitted he said it and in front of several people, not just the nominee. The vanguard of this operation is the Senate Dems. I'm not talking about the entire party from Maine to Hawaii. They aren't playing in the game. How many Dems have gone to the mikes to repudiate what Durbin said or implied in the question, i.e., there is a Catholic litmus test for nominees? Wait, don't trouble yourself. I'll tell you. None. If you honestly think that this group of 45 is not coordinating what they do and say on this very important nomination, you're smoking a controlled substance.
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Post by Ralph » Thu Jul 28, 2005 4:16 am

I haven't smoked a controlled substance in decades (and, yes, I did inhale).
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Post by Lilith » Thu Jul 28, 2005 4:58 am

"No, I don't. The state has never effectively controlled abortions, either before Roe v. Wade and certainly not after. At the time Roe v. Wade was decided quite a few states - I don't recall which or how near the magic 30+ there were - had legalized abortion.

The thing you have to remember about the lunatics in Florida is how black an eye the Republicans got for it with 80+% of the public disapproving of what the Republicans did in the Schiavo case. The vast majority in the US support the availability of abortions as a decision to be made between a woman and her doctor. Many of them don't support unrestricted abortion, i.e., anywhere, anytime, for any reason, but basically abortion is rock solid in this country thru the states, regardless of what happens in the Federal system." - Corlyss

I hope you are correct. I'm not so sure. I see retreat all around me as the lunatics march forward.

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Post by Ralph » Thu Jul 28, 2005 5:15 am

Lilith wrote:"No, I don't. The state has never effectively controlled abortions, either before Roe v. Wade and certainly not after. At the time Roe v. Wade was decided quite a few states - I don't recall which or how near the magic 30+ there were - had legalized abortion.

The thing you have to remember about the lunatics in Florida is how black an eye the Republicans got for it with 80+% of the public disapproving of what the Republicans did in the Schiavo case. The vast majority in the US support the availability of abortions as a decision to be made between a woman and her doctor. Many of them don't support unrestricted abortion, i.e., anywhere, anytime, for any reason, but basically abortion is rock solid in this country thru the states, regardless of what happens in the Federal system." - Corlyss

I hope you are correct. I'm not so sure. I see retreat all around me as the lunatics march forward.
*****

It doesn't advance rational discourse to dismiss those who disagree as "lunatics." I have colleagues, students and close friends who are anti-abortion, some for religious reasons, and not one is a lunatic.
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Post by Lilith » Thu Jul 28, 2005 5:23 am

Ralph: How could you have watched that charade in Florida and not call those people lunatics? Those priests and brothers that came forth as 'family spokespersons' and used every passionate outcry they could muster up.

When I use the word lunatics, I am referring to catholic bishops and their fanatical followers (Randall Terry - those types- you know, lunatics) and priests who work against birth control & abortion rights & stem cell research. Equally as bad are many of the rigid evangelicals, who have all the freedom in the world in this country but who want to limit MY decision making.

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Post by Ralph » Thu Jul 28, 2005 6:45 am

Lilith wrote:Ralph: How could you have watched that charade in Florida and not call those people lunatics? Those priests and brothers that came forth as 'family spokespersons' and used every passionate outcry they could muster up.

*****You've taken the cast of characters from one part of one incident and used it to describe everyone, or so it seems, who doesn't share your Pro-Choice belief. It's neither rational nor effective to do so.

When I use the word lunatics, I am referring to catholic bishops and their fanatical followers (Randall Terry - those types- you know, lunatics) and priests who work against birth control & abortion rights & stem cell research. Equally as bad are many of the rigid evangelicals, who have all the freedom in the world in this country but who want to limit MY decision making.

*****It's interesting how some folks, you included, lump contraception in with anti-abortion issues. While the Catholic Church is against artificial contraception, and so is Orthodox Jewry, the overwhelming majority of Americans have no problem with birth control. Even Justice Scalia during his confirmation hearing stated that while he would not have voted with the majority in Griswold v. Connecticut, he recognized that common consensus accepted that ruling.

It's beyond unfair, indeed absurd, to link Catholic bishops (or Hasidic rebbes who share the same root theological values regarding sex and abortion) with Randall Terry and others whose actions come close to encouraging open defiance of the law.

Our First Amendment protects all religious expressions of belief and to define those whose only sin is to hold values different from yours as "lunatics" is to fail to appreciate the richness of the Marketplace of Ideas.

As a lifelong atheist I've never had any trouble talking with and debating against those whose religious values oppose my civil liberties beliefs. Name-calling degrades dialogue and polarizes unnecessarily. The ball should be on political action to safeguard our rights, not stirring up enmity by characterizing opponents in ad hominem terms. That's my view.


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Post by karlhenning » Thu Jul 28, 2005 6:53 am

Graciously and consideredly put, Ralph, and entirely like you — apart from that irrationally exuberant dim sum comment :-)
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Post by Ralph » Thu Jul 28, 2005 7:21 am

karlhenning wrote:Graciously and consideredly put, Ralph, and entirely like you — apart from that irrationally exuberant dim sum comment :-)
*****

Karl,

When next you visit New York, please be my guest for conversation and terrific dim sum and you'll be an exuberant convert to that most wonderful cuisine.
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"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Lilith
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Post by Lilith » Thu Jul 28, 2005 7:50 am

"The ball should be on political action to safeguard our rights, not stirring up enmity by characterizing opponents in ad hominem terms. "

"hominem, hominem, hominem" -as Ralph Cramden used to say.

I don't mind stirring up a little enmity as you know. Sometimes Ralph people's feelings are strong enough to provoke strong comments. We can't all be lawyers- thank God.

karlhenning
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Post by karlhenning » Thu Jul 28, 2005 7:52 am

We can't all be hardly any profession you can name — thank God.
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
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http://www.luxnova.com/

Corlyss_D
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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Jul 28, 2005 8:13 am

Ralph wrote:It doesn't advance rational discourse to dismiss those who disagree as "lunatics."
The term doesn't apply to most people who merely oppose abortion. I believe Lilith used the term in connection with the lunatic activists who made such an issue over the Schiavo case, most of whom were not EOL activists, if there is such a thing, but anti-abortion activists of the most extreme kind.
I have colleagues, students and close friends who are anti-abortion, some for religious reasons, and not one is a lunatic.
I'll bet not a one of them went down to Florida to link arms with the crazies out in front of Schiavo's hospice screaming "murderer!", either. Don't falsely expand the group referred to just so you can strike a "rational" pose. That don't do much for discourse either.

The 1)willingness of the church fathers to get involved in the Schiavo brawl and 2) unwillingness to restrain their footsoldiers (priest(s)) who inserted themselves into the publicity wars is sufficient proof for me that they are more than ready to take this issue to the mat regardless of JPIIs injunctions to priests to stay out of politics. New day? We'll see. I can understand their desire to get on the moral highground after getting the sh*it kicked out of them for their deal with the pedophile devil, but that was hardly the place to do it. I think it horrified more people than it impressed favorably.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Thu Jul 28, 2005 8:57 am

Lilith wrote:"The ball should be on political action to safeguard our rights, not stirring up enmity by characterizing opponents in ad hominem terms. "

"hominem, hominem, hominem" -as Ralph Cramden used to say.

I don't mind stirring up a little enmity as you know. Sometimes Ralph people's feelings are strong enough to provoke strong comments. We can't all be lawyers- thank God.
*****

You're so right. Not that many are given the many gifts that make a successful, ethical and rewarding legal career possible.
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"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Corlyss_D
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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:53 pm

THE NEXT JUSTICE

Judging While Catholic
Do journalists understand that the Constitution prohibits religious tests for officeholders?

BY MANUEL MIRANDA
Friday, August 5, 2005 12:01 a.m.

John Roberts will be the fourth Roman Catholic on the current Supreme Court, but only the 10th Catholic among the 109 justices who've served in the high court's 215-year history. A few senators and a good many journalists have made much of it.

Earlier this week, in a span of minutes, three journalists asked me to respond to liberals, like Sen. Richard Durbin (D., Ill.), raising Judge Roberts's religion as a confirmation issue. As if there were a Republican talking point in my hand, they each asked in similar words: "What's the line on that?" Minutes before penning this column, a fourth prominent political reporter startled me further by asking: "What religion test clause? Where does that appear?"

Well, here, everyone jot this down. "The line" appears in Article VI of the U.S. Constitution: "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

Much bigger than the obvious problem of overreaching Democratic senators (because it is obvious) is that Americans are depending on journalists to catalyze the most important public debate outside an election: the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice. The American people already start at a disadvantage. The Pew Research Center conducts regular polls on the thinking of the media. The preface to one 2004 report notes:

Journalists at national and local news organizations are notably different from the general public in their ideology and attitudes toward political and social issues. Most national and local journalists, as well as a plurality of Americans (41%), describe themselves as political moderates. But news people, especially national journalists are more liberal, and far less conservative, than the general public.

Most Americans know this by now. Some may know the result of another Pew survey that found most journalists were overwhelmingly irreligious. What we do not know is how many journalists read, much less understand the Constitution. In the next few weeks, we are going to have a glimpse. Here are two sightings from this week alone.

In Monday's Boston Globe, columnist Cathy Young, also a contributing editor of the libertarian Reason magazine, concludes: "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."

More interesting is how Ms. Young gets to this conclusion. While applauding John F. Kennedy's milestone election as the first Catholic president, Ms. Young recites Article VI, but she conflates the religious test clause with the provision that officeholders "shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution." She interprets this to mean that "an officeholder could not be required to take an oath or perform a religious ritual affirming his allegiance to a particular religion or denomination, or even a general belief in God."

Ms. Young thinks it's about cookie-cutter discrimination, and not about protecting actual religious beliefs. In fact, the two clauses are quite separate in their intent. Their distinct origin is itself telling. At the Constitutional Convention most proponents of the Oath Clause sought to ensure the public servants were "sincere friends to religion," but greater forces than that had been lobbying to ensure that there would be no "religious test" for public office. Not least of the lobbyists was America's first Roman Catholic bishop, John Carroll of Maryland, whose brother Daniel was just one of two Catholics in the Philadelphia Convention.

Requiring an oath or affirmation in taking public office was the Framers' nod to God, the requirement that no particular set of religious beliefs be required of office holders was their nod to their painful experience with the religious intolerance of England.

In Wednesday's Washington Post ("Why It's Right to Ask About Roberts's Faith"), columnist E.J. Dionne asks: "Is it wrong to question Judge John Roberts on how his Catholic faith might affect his decisions as a Supreme Court justice? Or is it wrong not to? . . . Why is it wrong to ask him to share his reflections with the public?" It would be helpful, Mr. Dionne concludes, "if Roberts gave an account of how (and whether) his religious convictions would affect his decisions as a justice."

Mr. Dionne's error is found is his own words: "Yes, any inquiry related to a nominee's religion risks being seen as a form of bigotry, and of course there should be no 'religious tests.' " Indeed. And that is the problem, again.

Journalists believe that the religious test clause guards against simple discrimination against Catholics or Jews or any other particular denominations. It does not. It prohibits a probe of what the potential officeholder believes derived of his religious convictions. It is not about what he lists on a questionnaire under religion, as if it were like race or sex. That is why the liberal press has mocked the concern raised by conservatives that the abortion litmus test and other lines of inquiry are a constitutionally prohibited religious test.

When England passed its two Test Acts, they did not prohibit Catholics from holding public office. Rather, the "test" sought to exclude anyone from holding public office who believed that the bread and wine in the ritual of the Eucharist turned into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, a fundamental tenet of Catholic belief.

Fortunately, Mr. Durbin and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) have shied away from that line of inquiry, since their clients haven't figured out how to profit from it. Lucky for me, because it would be hard to explain transubstantiation using just Republican talking points.

Mr. Miranda, former counsel to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, is founder and chairman of the Third Branch Conference, a coalition of grassroots organizations following judicial issues. His column appears on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Copyright © 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Corlyss
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