Monday, August 08, 2005

Religion: What Goes Around Comes Around

The Republican Party's talking points these days very conveniently suggest that there should be no religious testing of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts Jr., whose Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings, slated to commence September 6, promises to be a partisan battleground. The GOP has consistently tried to minimize the role of religion in this process and warns Democrats not to press Roberts with questions about his personal faith or of that of his feverishly anti-abortion wife. The problem with all that is that the GOP expects to have it both ways. The role of religion has been firmly planted in today's political landscape by Republicans, not Democrats. The GOP has used religion, faith and "values" against us in unprecedented fashion since the 1990's. They've used it as a political weapon to draw distinctions about candidates, and they've placed it front and center in the battles over abortion, gay marriage, life support and judicial appointments themselves (see "Justice Sunday I and II). It's been weapon #1 in the movement to divide not unite. The GOP, urged on by the radical evangelical wing of its party, has tirelessly and shamelessly used God and faith in an effort to control our bodies, our bedrooms and matters of life and death. They've used it as wedge to further the political schism in our country today. The not-so-subtle inferences have been that only "people of faith" are true Americans and patriots, and that only Republicans can be people of faith. That if you don't support Bush's war in Iraq then you are anti-American, and therefore not a person of faith. They've used and abused religion and faith at every turn, and now they want to play secular games when it comes to Roberts' confirmation hearings. The hypocrisy is mind-numbing.
Well, Democrats have another plan. Roberts will have to climb out of the vacuum and shed light on his views. Knowing his opinions on Roe v. Wade and other key rulings is a must. He needs to be asked if his personal religious beliefs will hinder his ability to serve the court and to carry out his oath to have the Constitution as his only frame of reference. If the Republicans don't like it, tough. They changed the rules, not us . Andy

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