Thursday, April 8, 2010

Moment of fame missed
Tom Smith

Returning from an all too brief vacation here, there were five messages on my machine, a lot for me, three of them from a house painting company trying to schedule an estimate (I guess business is slow), one from my accountant (how much I hate taxes only heaven knows, but it is very, very much) and one from none other than Nina Totenberg, storied reporter of the NPR.  But she said, if you get this message today, please call me back, so it was one of those on deadline things.  I infer it was for this story about how there may soon be no Protestants on the Supreme Court.  I suppose someone had given her my name as a law professor who might say something really out there of the crazy Catholic variety. Or maybe more benignly.  I must try not to be so negative.

But not to despair!  It is not too late to take an unusual position.  And thus and only half in jest, I will express the view that it would be a good thing if our ambitious young prince were NOT to appoint another Catholic to the Supremes.  Here's why.  The only sort of Catholic who would get considered by this administration would be a pro-abortion Catholic, and who needs one of those.  If you are a pro-abortion Catholic you are also probably willing to take liberties with the Constitution.  It could not be clearer that Catholic doctrine views abortion as a grave sin.  Agree or disagree, but that's Catholicism for you.  Similarly, the Constitution says certain things, such as, oh, you have the right to keep and bear arms.  If you can get your mind around being a pro-abortion Catholic, then allowing as the Constitution permits only members of the national guard and on duty peace officers, or whatever, to bear arms, not to mention many other contortions, should be easy work. Or as we Catholics say, doctrine schmoctrine.  My suggestion would be, nominate a Jew.  But, where is the President going to find a left-leaning Jew?  Just kidding.  More seriously, I'm not aware that there is any inconsistency between most varieties of Judaism and the panoply of progressive positions that an Obama nominee would be expected to espouse, and that would be a good thing.  And I should add, I would avoid lapsed Catholics too.

As to Protestants, that is a good question.  I have met liberal Protestant lawyers who take their religion seriously enough to identify themselves as such, but only a few times in my entire life.  True, I avoid meeting new people, but even so.

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Tom Smith


You sure do need to get out more. Unitarians, just one example of "protestant," take their religion seriously. For about half of them, their religion doesn't involve a God or a Jesus. Quakers also take their religion very seriously.

You would do yourself some good by checking out how many founders were Unitarians and how much what you would consider social progress in this country derives directly from blood, tears and sweat of Quakers.

When I found it too stupid to even consider submitting to a physical to prepare me for the Vietnam draft, it was the Unitarians who sponsored me, a lifelong non-church member of any kind, to a seminary scholarship. The Quakers would have sponsored a bomb-sniffing dog. Compare their record to that of "Hitler's Pope" ['s_Pope] or even of Ratzinger, a Hitler youth who tolerates child abuse.

Catholics, and the Roman variety in particular, just don't get the idea that "protestant" is mostly a person that protests the "authority" conceit of the Roman Catholic Church--persons who burned for their protests way before Martin Luther made it popular and acceptable. Those "protestants" now include lots of "lapsed Catholics" like my father, who was excommunicated for marrying my mother.

Posted by: jimbino | Apr 9, 2010 6:24:14 AM

Its getting so obvious the horses can tell that everybody appoints hacks. I say we let every president pack the court from now on. Ok, fine, starting after 2012.

Posted by: wotan | Apr 9, 2010 11:29:30 AM

I know there are protestants who take their religion seriously. I just haven't met many seriously religious, liberal protestant lawyers. I think they must go into other professions, such as perhaps beekeeping.

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