Monday, October 10, 2005

Tell Us What You Really Think

Over at Slate, Christopher Hitchens just blasts the nomination of Harriet Miers and, gasp, argues there should be a religious test (meaning the Constitution trumps your faith everytime) for Supreme Court nominees. As Hitchens argues, for anyone to disagree is rather hypocritical, especially on the Right, considering Miers may have been chosen precisely due to her reactionary religious credentials. Indeed, there is much disagreement on her "credentials" on the Right, thus proving the President's base is clamoring for a religious test to these nominees, nay, fundamentalists -- I won't even attach the euphemism "evangelical" to them. Much too pleasant.

But I'm getting away from what I wanted to post, this selection from Hitchens' piece. He gives no quarter to our fundamentalist foes.
Either Miers takes her faith seriously, in which case it must be her life's mission to redeem those who have not accepted Jesus as their savior, or she does not, in which case she is a vapid and posturing hypocrite. And either she is nominated in order to gratify a political constituency, whose leaders such as James Dobson of Focus on the Family seem to have had advance notice, or she is not, in which case the president could see no further than his own kitchen Cabinet in searching for merit. So, the whole exercise is a disgusting insult.

And here is what you could not say and hope to receive the sacrament of nomination:

Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. You will naturally examine, first, the religion of your own country. Read the Bible, then, as you would Livy or Tacitus. … Those facts in the Bible which contradict the laws of nature, must be examined with more care, and under a variety of faces. … I forgot to observe, when speaking of the New Testament, that you should read all the histories of Christ, as well as of those whom a council of ecclesiastics have decided for us, to be Pseudo-Evangelists, as those they named Evangelists.

That was Thomas Jefferson writing to his nephew Peter Carr on Aug. 10, 1787. But what is honest skepticism—and a regard for evidence and logic—when set against the profession of a mere "faith" that neither demands nor offers any evidence of any kind? And this latter "qualification" is now urged upon us with special fervor in the selection of—a judge.
It's good someone out there in the media has the nuts to argue verociously against superstition and for reason while maintaining morality doesn't stem from a questionable book where its questionable morality is second only to its depravity.

I have no problem with those who believe in God, but when a band of fundamentalists tries to alter the basic conception of our society -- secular, yet tolerant of all beliefs -- I must dissent and merely hold up the First Amendment of our fair Constitution separating church from state. To allow the likes of Miers and Roberts onto the Supreme Court is, pardon the expression, a bit like letting the foxes into the chicken coop.

I hope I only exaggerate the threat to our country, a republic based on law, not the private, unprovable beliefs of its highest court.