Josh Hawley Blasts Anti-Religious Bigotry of Democrats

Do facts matter? Do the actual words said by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee make a difference in a news narrative, or is it si...

Do facts matter? Do the actual words said by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee make a difference in a news narrative, or is it simply the interpretation or feelings of some that we should care about?

Asked another way, if Senator Josh Hawley claims that the Democrats are bigoted in challenging Judge Amy Coney Barrett over her Catholic beliefs, does it matter the Democrats haven’t once yet mentioned her religious beliefs in the first three hours of opening statements? It should, but it probably won’t, depending on the cable news outlet one watches.

These are suddenly germane questions as the confirmation hearings of JudgeBarrett got underway, just 22 days before a general election that will reveal the “will of the people” that has so vociferously been cited by Republicans just four years ago when Judge Antonin Scalia passed away.

Hawley made clear, throughout his opening statement, that he considered opposition to Judge Barrett’s potential Supreme Court appointment as religious bigotry by the Democrats. His evidence of that specious claim? Comments made by ranking member Senator Diane Feinstein during Judge Barrett’s confirmation to a lower court in 2017.

Hawley correctly quoted Feinstein as referring to the “dogma that lives loudly within” Judge Barrett. He also cited Senator Mazie Hirono for asking if she was an “orthodox Catholic” and if she would serve as a “Catholic judge.” These comments were made in 2017, and Feinstein’s comments came in a broader context. To wit:

Why is it that so many of us on this side have this very uncomfortable feeling that — you know, dogma and law are two different things. And I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma. The law is totally different. And I think in your case, professor, 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 years in this country.

There is no question that “dogma” is a loaded word, particularly at the intersection of politics and religion. But to extract from that the allegation of bigotry or that a “religion test” is being imposed, is theater.

Particularly from a senator so close to a president who demanded his own religious test: a complete ban on all people of Muslim faith from entering the country.

At best, it is hypocritical. More descriptive words include “shameless,” “craven,” and “embarrassing for the people of Missouri whom Hawley serves.

That’s effectively the sum total of evidence upon which Hawley based a broad allegation of “anti-religious bigotry” by Democrats. Sure there have been articles published in the media that express a more piqued concern, but thus far, an objective observer would note that the Democrats have steered way clear of Judge Barrett’s beliefs.

That will likely not keep some in the media from pushing the baseless anti-Catholic narrative. Take, for example, Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum, who, coming out of the first portion of the nomination hearing, dinged Democrats for their “unsurprising” tactic “to focus a little bit on issues of her religion, although it was pretty well veiled.” She cited Senator Chris Coons asking about the “Griswold case,” which protects the liberty of married couples to buy and use contraceptives without government restriction.

Hawley has received a fair amount of online criticism for preemptively blasting Democrats for doing something that they have not yet done, at least in these hearings, by effectively doubling down on citing some of those past comments:

Like so many undertakings inside the beltway these days, this is also a highly partisan ritual. Democratic members of the Senate Judicial Committee are frustrated that President Donald Trump will likely see a third appointment when Obama nominee Merrick Garland was completely ignored by Senator Mitch McConnell in an expression of pure political power.

Meanwhile, Republicans — Hawley was just one of many to do this at the hearing — are accusing Democrats of imposing a bigoted “religious test” on the nominee. The thing is, the only senators to have mentioned Judge Barrett’s religious beliefs at the hearing so far are Republicans.

By all accounts, unless something dramatic changes, it seems very likely that Judge Barrett will eventually be named to the Supreme Court. And given the Garland ordeal, there is reason for Democrats to be upset about the perceived injustice. That can give rise to weak arguments against the nominee currently before them.

But the fact remains that there is little evidence those arguments are in any way anti-Catholic. To accuse them of religious bigotry on such thin evidence is the most recent example of the “best defense is a good offense” ethos so common in the Trump administration — and it shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Watch above via Fox News.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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Newsrust: Josh Hawley Blasts Anti-Religious Bigotry of Democrats
Josh Hawley Blasts Anti-Religious Bigotry of Democrats
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