As we know, a president gets to nominate judges and so naturally Trump, elected as a Republican, has nominated two people with severe cases of religion-on-the-brain. Obviously Trump isn’t religious, you can tell that right away, he couldn’t care less about gods or religion, he’s only concerned about himself. However, Trump is being guided by people like Mike Pence and far-right, conservative Christian groups. Trump has to do them favors so that they’ll continue to support him. The first nominee I’ve come across in my readings is Amy Coney Barrett. She’s gunning for the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She’s a conservative Catholic and the Alliance for Justice has done some background work on her. The Alliance for Justice has a fact sheet and a detailed report on Barrett. Barrett believes judges should put their religious beliefs above the law. Hmmm, that’s a problem. In an article,“Catholic Judges in Capital Cases,” Barrett criticized Justice William Brennan’s statement about faith, when he took an oath to uphold the law, and that “there isn’t any obligation of our faith superior” to that oath. Barrett responded to Brennan’s statement: “We do not defend this position as the proper response for a Catholic judge to take with respect to abortion or the death penalty.”
Barrett believes that life begins at conception. Of course, there is no scientific evidence that life begins at conception, this was made up by Christians and the Catholic Church. But Barrett has the right to believe that Jesus in a lab coat stands over couples while they have sex and then when finished, Jesus lifts up the covers injects a soul into the zygote in the woman’s womb. Or is it a blastocyst? Jesus in a lab coat returns on the fifth day and injects the soul into the blastocyst? Barrett has also criticized the Miranda decision.
The other nominee is Jeff Mateer and he rejects the separation of church and state. Jeff Mateer has been nominated for U.S. District Judge in the Eastern District of Texas. Mateer stated at the University of St. Thomas at Houston in 2013, “I’ll hold up my hundred-dollar bill and say, ‘for the first student who can cite me the provision in the Constitution that guarantees the separation of church and state verbatim, I’ll give this hundred dollar bill.. It’s not there.… The protections of the First Amendment protect us from government, not to cause government to persecute us because of our religious beliefs.” Mateer used to work for First Liberty Institute. There’s really no doubt that Mateer plans to rule favorably for conservative Christians.
Both of these nominees are protected by the Constitution’s religious test guarantee for office or judgeship. They haven’t done anything criminal or wrong to not be granted their judgeships and I think they will be confirmed eventually. What bothers me is their statements and writings. They appear based on their statements, video, and written documents, to be on a collision course in possibly violating their oaths and putting their religious beliefs over law. Judges should be neutral and objective in their views on religion, we are country of many faiths and no faith. In order to have freedom of religion, there must be freedom from religion first. I would hope that a practicing judge would think this way or have a better grasp of the Establishment Clause but that doesn’t appear to be the case here. I’ll give Mateer and Barrett a $100 bill if they can explain to me how the government can promote their one conservative religion without establishing that religion.
I’m against any religious intrusion into our government and religion has been creeping into our government well before I was born and continues to now more than ever. Both political parties are guilty of religious intrusion into our government but it’s the Republican far-right religious intrusions that scare me the most. And nominees like Barrett and Mateer are what we get when the Republicans win elections. I’ll end this post with one of favorite videos of Frank Zappa from 1986: