By Royal Alexander/Opinion
The cesspool of our American culture is not the result of too much God, faith, or religion, but too little.
With the pending confirmation hearing of nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, it is appropriate to review what our Constitution says about religion.
The first two religious safeguards are contained in the First Amendment: “Congress (i.e. government) shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion … or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
American history makes clear that what the Framers of our Constitution meant by prohibiting an “establishment of religion” was only that there was to be no formal state religion to which all citizens were forced to conform and adhere. That’s it. However, what we see in our country today is a brazen and reflexive hostility to any notion of religion, particularly Christianity. This is a perverse distortion of the Framers’ intent.
The second safeguard prohibits government from limiting or inhibiting our “free exercise” of religion, as well as the freedom not to worship.
The third religious safeguard is less well known but specifically relevant to the confirmation hearing of Judge Barrett. It is contained in Article VI. “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” This also means no religious test may be used as a disqualification of an individual, either!
National media and the cultural elite often mock and ridicule Americans who worship and strive to live out their faith. They view faith, religion, and the worship of God in much the same way the atheist, communist Karl Marx did, as “the opiate of the masses.” The New York Times has admitted, in a rare and striking moment of candor, “we don’t get religion.”
But what about Judge Barrett’s right to free exercise of religion? What about her right not to have shoved in her face a secular, humanistic, and valueless cultural “establishment” that predominates among our national elite? What about her right not to be disqualified from a position on the Supreme Court as the Left applies a religious litmus test to oppose her simply because she is a devout Christian Catholic?
Judge Barrett is now accused of being an “extremist” because she has been a part of People of Praise, a closely-knit religious group that encourages its members to strive together for a greater holiness in their lives. Media has falsely stated that People of Praise was the basis of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” It’s not but we will never see a retraction of this smear.
She’s also begun to be attacked for a comment she made in a speech she gave years ago that “a legal career is but a means to an end… and that end is building the Kingdom of God.” This is a typical, ordinary expression of a sincerely held religious belief that any believer—Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, or Muslim—would identify with as the purpose of their faith.
In short, the Left will try anything to make her appear “kooky” or “weird” in an attempt to justify opposition to her nomination, ignoring the fact she is a highly-qualified jurist and possesses a once-in-a-generation legal mind.
In her previous confirmation hearing to the appeals court Judge Barrett was grilled by one senator who stated about her deep faith “the dogma lives loudly within you”; another senator asked whether she was an “orthodox” Catholic, which means he actually wanted to know “how Catholic are you”; (Imagine the outrage if a senator asked a nominee of Jewish faith “how Jewish are you”? Or someone of Muslim faith “how Muslim are you”? However, it’s still perfectly acceptable to smear and scapegoat Christians).
For context, Sen. Kamala Harris also previously attacked a different nominee for being an “extremist” because he was a member of the Catholic religious group, Knights of Columbus, which closely follows Church teaching—meaning it opposes abortion and gay marriage.
Our religious freedoms and protections are as clear as they are fundamental and we should demand they be followed for Judge Barrett, or next it may be one of us, a neighbor, or a friend who is applying for a loan, seeking a job or applying to college who is discriminated against because of our faith.
The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal. If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to NPJNatLa@gmail.com.