Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lies in state in Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. (Caroline Brehman/Pool via AP) (Caroline Brehman/AP) Over the past few decades, whenever a Republican president puts up an important judicial nominee — especially a Catholic one — we go through the same routine. Some Democrat accuses the nominee of imposing her religious views on the law.
“The dogma lives loudly within you,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein notoriously told Amy Coney Barrett in a 2017 confirmation hearing. Then Republicans accuse Democrats of being religious bigots. Then the nominee testifies that her personal opinions or religious faith will have absolutely no bearing on her legal judgments.
This unconvincing routine gets us no closer to understanding two important questions: How does faith influence a person’s political views? How should we look at religiously devout people in public life?
To the extent that I have answers to these questions it’s through my own unusual experience. I came to faith in middle age after I’d been in public life for a while. I would say that coming to faith changed everything and yet didn’t alter my political opinions all that much. That’s because assenting to a religion […]
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