At issue | June 21 column by Joyce Appleby: "Catholic majority would reflect equality's triumph; bias on Supreme Court now a concern."
Joyce Appleby argues that since Catholics are now a strong majority of the Supreme Court they should for the sake of liberty and so as to avoid an unconstitutional blending of church and state recuse themselves from all cases in which the church has taken a position, especially those binding on a communicant. In reality, her argument is a very bold attack on the First Amendment right of freedom of religion in the United States. Her purpose is to remove religion from the public square and have public discourse limited to only "right thinking" people, presumably people who think like she does. She turns to one side to call for liberty while on the other side she works for its destruction.
To begin with, even if justices were believing communicants, they must rule on public law and the logic of the Constitution and precedent. They are under no church or faith compulsion to do otherwise. Significantly, Appleby cites no instances in which a justice at any time acted as a religious emissary to foist dogma on the citizenry. Ironically, the only instances that come to mind are Roe vs. Wade and recent state court interpretations of state constitutions to require gay marriages, decisions in which justices created rights out of whole cloth according to the dogma of secular ideologues (that is the set of ultimate values they profess, their religion).
Hoping to camouflage this, Appleby says the problem is that "the Catholic Church, with some other denominations, (have) taken stands on issues of great political significance today." This makes "today" no different than all the other days in American history during which American citizens have continuously exercised their constitutional right to vote their consciences as formed by their religion and the teachings of their pastors.
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To Appleby, public moral and ethical issues are not religion's business, not if the religion wishes its members to have full political rights and to be full participants in the political arena. Clearly, Appleby's argument and logic would not only filter out all religious justices but religious legislators, too. Being religious would be defined by whom? Appleby and her cohorts?
Obviously, according to Appleby's reasoning, only those people not encumbered or burdened with formal or identifiable belief systems would be unbiased enough to serve in public office. Or to vote. Appleby makes note that the church has taken a position on abortion, same-sex marriage and capital punishment. How about all those not-religious people who have taken positions on those same subjects? Are we to think they are not biased or, more to the point, that they have no value system of their own? Are there such people? Appleby's writing her essay says she has a view point, values that she cares about.
Should we seek or desire a world of no values as the only way to have fairness and justice? How then could there even be something called fairness or justice?
Appleby is no intellectual lightweight, being a UCLA emeritus professor and co-director of the History News Service. She is yet one more example of a segment of the political left that long ago lost its collective mind and that now lives in a state of extreme self-contradiction, insisting on moral relativism while also insisting on values that it defines and finds comfortable. It insists on freedom (most certainly a moral value) but only for those who have no value systems and think like it. This is living in the great abyss of nihilism. There is no good that comes out of that great dark hole.
Appleby unashamedly writes as an American insisting on the cessation of religious freedom in her own country as the way to be free. Frighteningly, her sleight of hand and thought, and that of other like minds, is all-too-seldom called to confront that which they hide from themselves, their own deep self-centeredness, arrogance, and patronizing illiberalism.