Towards A Good Samaritan World

Friday, October 07, 2005

E.J. Dionne thinks the right is being hypocritical for blasting Democrats who opposed John Roberts because of his (Catholic) religious faith, then offering Harriet Miers' (evangelical Christian) religious faith as a reason to support her. Good point, but.

First, the right is a diverse group. It's possible that some don't think religious faith should be a criterion, whereas others don't necessarily mind if it is. Dionne is not able to quote the same people objecting to a religious criterion in the case of Roberts and affirming it in the case of Harriet Miers.

Second, it's not clear to me that supporting someone based on their religious faith is relevantly the same as as opposing someone based on their religious faith. If you oppose putting a Catholic on the Supreme Court, you are implicitly semi-disenfranchising Catholics generally. If you support someone for the Supreme Court because she's an evangelical, you're not disenfranchising anyone. Of course, if Buddhist faith, Christian faith, Muslim faith, and Jewish faith, are all counted as criteria in one's favor, those without religious faith will feel they're at a bit of a disadvantage. But that's different from being disenfranchised. At worst, atheists would be in the position of white males in an affirmative-action-ridden culture: they would have to try a little harder, and they might have to watch less-talented non-white-males surpass them, but there would still be room for them to succeed. Maybe it's a bad idea to put atheists in that position (though I don't think there's any danger of it; on the contrary, academia leans very heavily against religious faith at present). But in any case, the right is not necessarily being hypocritical here. They could consistently hold that religion may be a factor in a nominee's favor, but should not be a basis for exclusion.

1 Comments:

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    By Blogger Bill888, at 12:34 PM  

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