September 10, 2017

When Anti-Catholic Bigotry Masquerades as Political Correctness. The Defamation of a Catholic Nominee

Prof. Amy Coney Barrett & Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Imagine if a Jewish or Islamic nominee with impeccable credentials, beloved by her students and colleges, were questioned by a Republican senator about her "dogma". The left would be apoplectic. Yet this is precisely what happened earlier this week when Democratic senators questioned federal appeals court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. At the very least, they were alarmed by her Catholicism.

Senator Dick Durbin, (D-IL), a Catholic who readily demeans the teachings of the Magisterium, asked Barrett: "Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?", as if being so were a cause for concern. Senator Al Franken (D-MN. questioned her appearances before law students at an event sponsored by Alliance Defending Freedom (a group that provides legal counsel to protect First Amendment rights). Franken called the ADF a "hate group" and likened the appearance to speaking at an event organized by despot Pol Pot. A few minutes later, as the stupidity of the analogy began to dawn on him, he admitted his Pol Pot reference was "extreme."

But the pièce de résistance of anti-Catholic sentiment was delivered by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) who complained to Prof. Barrett, "You’re controversial because many of us that have lived our lives as women really recognize the value of finally being able to control our reproductive systems. And Roe entered into that, obviously. ...When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that's of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for, for years in this country."

Catholic leaders decried the questioning of Barrett’s faith.

"Such bigotry has no place in our politics and reeks of an unconstitutional religious test for qualification to participate in the judiciary. What these Senators did today was truly reprehensible," said Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote.org.

"Imagine the universal outrage had a nominee of a different faith been asked the same questions; there is clearly a double standard at work," commented Maureen Ferguson, senior policy advisor with The Catholic Association.

John Garvey, the president of The Catholic University of America in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, wrote that "I suspect what really troubled them was that, as a Catholic, her pro-life views might extend beyond criminal defendants to the unborn. If true, the focus on our law review article is all the more puzzling. After all, our point was that judges should respect the law, even laws they disagree with. And if they can't enforce them, they should recuse themselves."

Prayer to St. Thomas More for Public Servants

O Glorious St. Thomas More, Holy Patron of Statesmen, Politicians, Judges and Lawyers, your life of prayer and penance and your zeal for justice, integrity and firm principle in public and family life led you to the path of martyrdom and sainthood. Intercede for our Statesmen, Politicians, Judges and Lawyers, that they may be courageous in their defense and promotion of the sanctity of human life, the foundation of all other rights. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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