What with Justice Stevens' retirement and all the talk about the religious make-up of the Court, which, I might add, I don't believe was started by non-believers, many started suggesting that we could wind up without a Protestant for the first time in history. This led to speculation that President Obama should appoint another Protestant. This led to non-believers saying "Hey, what about us?"
It's an interesting proposition. Impossible, given our polling numbers. But it is interesting nonetheless. I would like to see a qualified liberal with a rational mind and sharp knowledge of Constitutional Law who knows how to keep his or her spiritual-or-other beliefs out of his or her job. He or she does not have to be an agnostic or atheist. Frankly, we shouldn't even know the religious persuasion (or other) of our judges and political officials, but Americans make that impossible. Which is why we have only one out major elected official who is a nonbeliever. There could be more, but they are in the closet. We know to keep our heads down most of the time.
One of my news searches this week brought up a link to a "moderate blog" which says it's "an Internet hub for moderates, centrists, and independents, with domestic and international news, analysis, original reporting, and popular features from the left, center, and right."
The title is "Anti-religion on the court?" and it got me thinking. It starts out with the Constitution's clause regarding no religious test being required for public office. Many states still have them, though they are not often enforced. That is, I think, where the word "required" comes in. It may not be required, but that doesn't necessarily mean it isn't allowed. The blog is saying that atheists' "demands" that a nonbeliever be appointed amount to the imposition of a religious test and are therefore a violation of the Constitution.
First of all, I don't think this is a demand, and, as I said and as the links above bear out, I don't believe this was started by non-believers. It was all the questioning over whether or not Justice Stevens should be replaced by another Protestant that started many nonbelievers thinking. I guess it was fine to suggest a Protestant.
The blog then goes on to say "the insistence that a Supreme Court Justice adopt an attitude of open hatred and contempt towards religious believers is a dangerous indulgence."
Huh? Where did the open hatred and contempt come from? Advocating for a nonbeliever is not the same thing as advocating for an "attitude of open hatred and contempt towards religious believers." That's a nice load of prejudice and contempt toward nonbelievers, methinks. It goes on to intimate that advocating for the appointment of a nonbeliever on the Supreme Court bench would be tantamount to "the Supreme Court... openly act[ing] to force religious belief into a secretive and shameful underground practice."
For many Americans, merely talking about being a nonbeliever is enough to cause persecution of--and is an act of hatred and contempt for--religion. The author thinks that asking for religion to be kept private and away from public policy is forcing religion into a dark and secretive place "much in the same way as homosexuality was during the darkest times of the gay rights movement."
Atheists are no longer remaining in our closet, so we must be forcing religion into its own. This author says he has no problem with atheists and agnostics, but "to demand 'representation' for an aggressively atheist and anti-religion Supreme Court Justice seems no different than demanding a Supreme Court Justice be openly racist." Again, oh please. Nowhere in the op-ed piece to which this author is responding does the author for someone who is "aggressively atheist" or "anti-religion." But, as we all know, any open atheist is an aggressive atheist.
The author has some advice: "...the sooner that more atheists get the distinction between non-religion and anti-religion, the sooner their movement will stop shooting itself in its political foot."
Pot, meet kettle.