Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Barrett’s Religious Views

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

Here is my Tweet thread on the topic:

At a glance I’m not seeing anything in Amy Coney Barrett’s religious views that are especially troublesome. [Obviously Barrett probably would help erode women’s right to get an abortion, and that is deeply concerning. Here I meant that her religious views are not obviously worse than those of any other justice Trump might nominate and not obviously disqualifying.] But let’s not pretend that no religious views should be disqualifying.

Although there is and should be no formal “religious test” for any office, certainly voters and Senators should take someone’s particular religious views into account, where troublesome. Some examples:

Some American Christians have explicitly stated that they think abortion is murder and people who facilitate abortion should be subject to the death penalty. The Senate certainly would not and should not confirm any Supreme Court justice with such views.

People always should vote against candidates who express “Christian Reconstructionist” views as outlined here. And against any Muslim candidate who said, for example, that apostates or homosexuals should be subject to the death penalty.

The view that some people express today, that someone’s religious views should never be criticized and should not be politically relevant because they are religious, is absurd.

At the same time, we need to recognize the extraordinary religious bigotry so deeply entrenched historically. I spoke with John Coffey about religious toleration and with Robert Alan Goldberg about the Klan’s anti-Catholicism.

* * *

At any rate, here is a friendly, and I think fair, take on Barrett’s “Kingdom of God” remark.

Newsweek ran the sensationalist headline, “How Charismatic Catholic Groups Like Amy Coney Barrett’s People of Praise Inspired ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.” But get a load of this correction: “Correction: This article’s headline originally stated that People of Praise inspired ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. The book’s author, Margaret Atwood, has never specifically mentioned the group as being the inspiration for her work. A New Yorker profile of the author from 2017 mentions a newspaper clipping as part of her research for the book of a different charismatic Catholic group, People of Hope. Newsweek regrets the error.”

Constance Grady has a nice article discussing the specious link between Amy Coney Barrett and The Handmaid’s Tale. However, I remain deeply creeped out by American religious groups that refer to any women as “handmaids” (as a group that Barrett belongs to once did).

E. J. Dionne Jr. has some on-point remarks about Republicans’ treatment of religion. Many Republicans snap at criticisms of their own religious views even as they criticize the particular religious views of others. Many Republicans, for example, say that Catholic Democrats “aren’t really Catholic” or (or the like) because they think abortion should be legal. The Catholic church really is officially opposed to abortion, but Republicans also sometimes make comparable claims about Protestant Democrats.

Barrett signed ad in 2006 decrying ‘barbaric legacy’ of Roe v. Wade, advocating overturning the law.”

This post was last updated October 2, 2020.

Religious Liberty in Court

Saturday, July 25th, 2020

I’m going to round up some news and commentary about law and religion.

A church in Nevada complained it was not given the same liberties to open as casinos: “Calvary Chapel only seeks to host about 90 people at a socially-distanced church service, while the governor allows hundreds to thousands of people to gamble and enjoy entertainment at casinos.” The Supreme Court declined to hear the suit in question by a 5–4 vote.

In a 2018 interview, Constitutional law scholar Rob Natelson explains that “sectarian” in the context of legal language forbidding the use of tax dollars for “sectarian” schools meant something like religiously aberrant, not merely religious. In other words, by this historical usage, a mainstream religious school was “non-sectarian.” Today, from what I can tell, most people use the term “sectarian” to mean “religious,” and that’s how I use the term. Etymologically, the term relates to “sect.”

Last updated July 28.

Rubin against Secularism

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

In a recent video, Dave Rubin argued that secularism inherently leads to subjectivism, implying that religion is the only viable option. This is a shame; Yaron Brook has been on Rubin’s show, and Brook has a good understanding of why subjectivism versus religious authority is a false choice.

Stone on American Secularization

Friday, June 5th, 2020

Summary of Lyman Stone’s recent work: “The most likely causes of declining religiosity are the increasingly intense role that more and more secularized educational institutions play in children’s lives and the continuing delay and decline of marriage.”