Request that the Democratic Party renounce all manifestations of anti-Catholic Bigotry.

Request that the Democratic Party renounce all manifestations of anti-Catholic Bigotry.

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Gleceiy Devine started this petition to The Senate Minority Leadership

 If Americans thought the worst forms of nativism and anti-Catholic bigotry were a thing of the past, they are sadly mistaken. Unfortunately, renewed manifestations of anti-Catholic bigotry have reappeared not only in society at large but at the highest levels of the Legislative Branch including among the minority membership of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 During Senate judicial nomination hearings, Catholic nominee Amy Coney Barrett had her faith put to test by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) who said “the Dogma lives loudly within you,” and by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) who asked “Do you consider yourself an Orthodox Catholic?” Article VI of the Constitution of the United States clearly rejects imposing a religious test for public office.

 In a similar vein, during the hearing of judicial nominee Brian C. Buescher, Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) explicitly or tacitly questioned his membership in the Knights of Columbus, a reputable Catholic fraternal organization, referring to the venerable organization in a defamatory way as “extremist.”

 These Senators are all highly educated and aware of the requirements of the U.S. Constitution which they have sworn to defend. Furthermore, they come from backgrounds where they should be acutely aware of and sensitive to the dangers of bigotry and defamation. So what is their motivation in questioning the nominees’ faith?

 Recently, a small group in the Tarrant County Republican Party attempted to oust party vice-chairman Dr. Shahid Shafi because he is a Muslim. The members claimed it is not about religion but whether the respected surgeon is loyal to Islam and Islamic law. Leading Texas Republicans have, to their credit, been quick to condemn the move as reflecting an unconstitutional and repugnant religious test.

 Sadly there has been virtually no response forthcoming from the Democratic Leadership. Not surprisingly, the reasoning of the minority members of the Senate Judiciary Committee is uncannily similar to that used against Dr. Shafi. It too argues that they are not against the nominees because they are Catholic, but that they fear that the nominees might be loyal to Catholicism and Catholic teaching (law). In essence, their argument is that Muslims and Catholics are good and acceptable only so long as they do not believe in or practice the tenets of their faith. The hypocrisy and double standards here are blatant.

 The Senate Judiciary Committee minority furthermore wants to be assured that the nominees will respect legal precedent in their decisions. Yet, ironically, it has been state and local Democrats in Maryland who have been instrumental in removing statues of the first Catholic Chief Supreme Court Justice Roger Brooke Taney who supported legal precedent during his time.

 Taney, who had been born into a slave-holding Maryland family, was an honorable man and formidable legal expert who emancipated his own slaves and gave pensions to those who were too old to work. In 1819, he defended an abolitionist Methodist minister who had been indicted for inciting slave insurrections by denouncing slavery in a camp meeting. In his opening argument in that case, Taney condemned slavery as "a blot on our national character.” In support of legal precedent, however,  he was ultimately to write the majority opinion of the Dred Scott v. Sandford case. Taney did at the time precisely what Democrats now demand on the part of judicial nominee Buescher (in regard to an equally repugnant law), so why were Taney's monuments torn down and removed at the insistence of Democratic Party politicians in Maryland?

Whereas Dr. Shafi's opponents might be considered misguided, the minority committee senators in question can make no such honest claim. Their silence remains deafening and sadly places them among the ranks of the “Know Nothing” bigotry of historic American Nativism.

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