Secular Bigotry

Manual Miranda in OpinionJournal has a strong criticism of the questioning of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. While we all expected chest-puffing and posturing from the Senators, we didn’t expect illegal religious bigotry to be so acceptable. Excerpts:

Article VI of the Constitution prohibits a religious test from being imposed on nominees to public office. The clause was motivated by the experience of Catholics in the Maryland colony and Baptists in Virginia who had been the targets of Great Britain’s two Test Acts. These infamous laws of intolerance sought to prevent anyone who did not belong to the Church of England from holding public office. The Test Acts did not say that Catholics could not hold office; the bigotry was more subtle. Officials questioned would-be public servants to determine whether they believed in particular tenets of the Catholic faith.

Hours later, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California made it worse: “In 1960, there was much debate about President John F. Kennedy’s faith and what role Catholicism would play in his administration. At that time, he pledged to address the issues of conscience out of a focus on the national interests, not out of adherence to the dictates of one’s religion. . . . My question is: Do you?”

How insulting. How offensive. How invidiously ignorant to question someone like Judge Roberts with such apparent presumption and disdain for the religion he practices. The JFK question is not just the camel’s nose of religious intolerance; it is the whole smelly camel.

Additional quotes from Judge and Jewry:

I mean how grotesque is it that the Left feels free to indulge openly in half-century-old religious prejudice? This is not some crazy person standing outside with a rusty hanger–it is a United States Senator in her official capacity on national television. And this is no off-the-cuff blurt–these questions are excruciatingly researched and drafted and worded and reviewed and approved and choreographed by teams of liberal lawyers and advisors both on her staff and off. She–the senator who keeps harping at this hearing that her concern is the protection of people of faith–thinks an obnoxious question born of religious bigotry is legitimate because it was posed in 1960?

There’s more from Concerned Women of America, the Catholic Culture of Life Foundation, the Catholic League, Fidelis, so go read it.

A Faith Vacuum

A faith vacuum haunts Europe

There was a time when Europe would justly refer to itself as “Christendom.” Europeans built the Continent’s loveliest edifices to accommodate their acts of worship. They quarreled bitterly over the distinction between transubstantiation and consubstantiation. As pilgrims, missionaries and conquistadors, they sailed to the four corners of the Earth, intent on converting the heathen to the true faith.

Now it is Europeans who are the heathens. According to the Gallup Millennium Survey of religious attitudes, barely 20% of West Europeans attend church services at least once a week, compared with 47% of North Americans and 82% of West Africans. Fewer than half of West Europeans say God is a “very important” part of their lives, as against 83% of Americans and virtually all West Africans. And fully 15% of West Europeans deny that there is any kind of “spirit, God or life force” — seven times the American figure and 15 times the West African.

The exceptionally low level of British religiosity was perhaps the most striking revelation of a recent ICM poll. One in five Britons claim to “attend an organized religious service regularly,” less than half the American figure. Little more than a quarter say that they pray regularly, compared with two thirds of Americans and 95% of Nigerians. And barely one in 10 Britons would be willing to die for our God or our beliefs, compared with 71% of Americans.

The de-christianization of Britain is in fact a relatively recent phenomenon. Prior to 1960, most marriages in England and Wales were solemnized in a church; then the slide began, down to around 40% in the late 1990s. Especially striking is the decline in confirmations as a percentage of children baptized. Fewer than a fifth of those baptized are now confirmed, about half the figure for the period from 1900 to 1960. For the Church of Scotland, the decline has been even more precipitous.

* via JesusPolitics.

Death Row Syndrome

I don’t get it. A man on death row wants to die… and “experts” consider that to be a reason to overturn his death penalty? Because he wants to die?

It would only be ok to execute him if he wants to live? Or do you have to prescribe a treatment to make him mentally healthy enough to execute him?

HARTFORD, Conn. – Shortly after his third suicide attempt, serial killer Michael Ross wrote that life on death row was increasingly unbearable.

[…]

Ross, who has been seeking his own death and hired a lawyer to forgo his appeals, was supposed to die by injection Monday in New England’s first execution in 45 years.

But Ross’ fate is now in question after his lawyer filed papers requesting a hearing to examine whether Ross suffers from what some experts call “death row syndrome” — that is, he has become unhinged from being on death row and is no longer mentally competent to decide his fate.