Monday, April 20, 2009

Catholics, the Court, and Religious Freedom (updated)

Maggie Gallagher, founder of the rightly mocked NOM group that opposes gay marriage with hysterical videos, is a major promoter of this nonsense meme that gay marriage challenges the religious freedom of those who oppose it. She protests that Such people will, if we lose the marriage debate, be treated the way we treat bigots who oppose interracial marriage. She goes on to implyy it will be the end of Catholic involvement in public life!

What nonsense, and rightly taken down by the Anonymous Liberal blog.
Oh please. First, it's probably worth pointing out that a hugely disproportionate number of Supreme Court justices are Catholic. A majority in fact (five of the nine). That's pretty good considering only 22% of the U.S. population is Catholic....

Second, it's not as if American Catholics uniformly oppose marriage equality.
No kidding! A recent poll reports that Catholics are more liberal than most Americans on gay issues, sex, and divorce, and about the same on abortion. The one place they are really different than everyone else in the other direction? Catholics are more likely to oppose the death penalty. Way to go, Catholics, on a consistent life ethic.

But I digress re. Gallagher. Anonymous LIberal goes on,
More importantly, though, the notion that differences of opinion between the Catholic church and U.S. law will somehow render Catholic judicial nominees unconfirmable is demonstrably ludicrous. In addition to opposing gay marriage, the Catholic church also opposes divorce, birth control, abortion..... And yet, somehow, even after those decisions, we've gone from having one Catholic Supreme Court justice in the 1980s to having five Catholic justices on the current Court.

What Gallagher is really worried about is that she will soon find herself in a world where her particular brand of close-mindedness is viewed by most as bigotry and people who believe what she believes won't be politically mainstream enough to be nominated and confirmed as judges.

Read the whole thing. (H/T Andrew Sullivan)

Just as there is no religious test FOR public office, so there is no religious test AGAINST it. One must defend one's beliefs and values in the civil sphere, for better or for worse. And based on the Catholics I know, those in the pew are unlikely to be in lockstep with the conservative views of the hierarchy and should be judged for the quality of THEIR characters, not their church. Something that the conservatives don't quite understand.

(Crossposted at DailyKos and Streetprophets)


dr.primrose said...

Thanks for this. Unfortunately, your "Anonymous Liberal" link links back to this page. Can this be fixed? Thanks!

Paul M said...

I wanted to pass along a couple of links. First, Frank Rich's column in the New York times, where he reports some retrenchment among long time opponents of same sex marriage, and a poll of New Yorkers expressing majority support for Governor Patterson's bill supporting same sex marriage. Note the striking importance of age.

Two Auntees said...

There are a lot of people who view Gallagher as a bigot now. The number of people will only grow.

IT said...

Link fixed.

Anonymous said...

I would think that Gallagher is MORE concerned that her current pundit gig will fade away as people start to find gay marriage boring. She may be worrying about what issue could be her next meal ticket.

NancyP said...

That was me, too sleepy to post correctly.

MarkBrunson said...

Wildly OT - Is anyone here familiar with Grace Church in New York, and, in particular, Jay Weldon?

IT said...

Aravosis has a new post that's depressing:

I've been following the radical right for about 15 years now, and they still never cease to amaze me. Perhaps it's because, at my core, I'm still a good Christian boy who wants to believe that even bad people contain a kernel of good.

Yeah, not so much.

To wit: The religious right's newest argument for opposing granting equal civil rights to gay Americans. If we grant gays equal rights, Baptists and Mormons may no longer be able to incite violence against gay Americans.

Seriously, that's their pitch.

Here's an email being sent around by one of the large religious right groups about the Hate Crimes amendment:It is imperative that we contact all members of the House and demand that they vote against this bill as it will not protect a pastor, Bible teacher, Sunday School teacher, youth leader or anyone else from prosecution if he or she teaches against homosexuality if an individual who hears their message then goes out and commits a crime against a homosexual. The pastor or teacher could face prosecution for using "hate speech" and "conspiracy to commit a hate crime.".... If a preacher succeeds in trying to incite someone to violence, I seriously doubt their stature as a person of faith is going to protect them for current American laws pertaining to murder. But, rather than get all lawyerly, let's talk about the bigger problem here.

The lead religious right groups are concerned that if the Hate Crimes amendment passes, they may no longer be able to incite the murder of gay Americans.
While Aravosis is a bit OTT, as usual, think about it: The religious right's concern is not that their words might incite violence (which would seem to be a big issue to a Christian) but that they might be PROSECUTED for it.

Fred Preuss said...

Two of the Justices are Jewish; terrific considering that only 1.8% of the US population is Jewish. What's your point, exactly?
I couldn't care less if you married a boiled turnip.
Next up-"polyamory": a strange coalition of Muslim 'activists' and 'alternative lifers' and fundamentalist Mormons.

JCF said...

[I couldn't care less: we get that: so why the f@ck do you post then?! FredP, your Life is calling! Go!]

[NB to MarkB: Grace Church, Manhattan? IIRC, it's somewhat conservative, and low (kinda like St. Thomas). But OCICBW---is Counterlight around?]

On-topic: actually, I'm too angrily incoherent to speak on-topic right now. If you don't want to be seen as a bigot, then don't be a BIGOT! If you don't want to be charged with inciting violence, don't incite violence (with your ignorant HATRED)!


Fred Preuss said...

Ridiculous and pathetic-most 'progressives' want to give amnesty to Latin American illegal aliens, most of whom are catholic and all of whom come from countries where gay marriage is even less likely than in the american bible belt.
Two constituencies, gays and latins on a collision course?
I notice you didn't comment on the observation I made about your claim that catholics are 'overrepresented' on the Supreme Court. Why are you nervous about catholics and not jews?

IT said...

I think you missed the point, Fred (quelle surprise!). we are not complaining that there are Catholics on the court, merely pointing out, contra Gallagher, that the presence of Catholics on the court despite there being numerous civil laws that conflict with Catholic doctrine, proves that a conflict with Catholic doctrine does not render Catholics unable to participate in the public square.