Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Roberts Should Come Clean on Religious Views

John Roberts should come clean on his religious views on abortion. This country has seen enough double standards and heard enough of the Orwellian double-speak. Conservatives are the ones who have thrust religion into the the forefront of political issues and debate. They can't have it both ways. E.J. Dionne makes a good case for Roberts coming clean in his WaPo column today...

It's also disingenuous for Republicans who have profited from the rise of issues related to religion and "moral values" to discover a sudden squeamishness about even mentioning them. Recall John Kerry's battle during the 2004 campaign with conservative bishops who proposed to deny him Communion because of his stand on abortion rights. If there was a mass movement of Republican politicians insisting that Kerry's religion should not be part of the public debate, I must have missed it.

Former New York governor Mario Cuomo is, like Kerry, a Catholic Democrat who has tangled with his church's leaders on the politics of abortion. Cuomo wondered during a recent phone conversation how those bishops who tormented Kerry would react if Roberts said that his religious views would not affect his rulings on abortion cases. To defend such a stance by Roberts, Cuomo said, "the bishops who went after Kerry would have to say that it's different for a judge, but that would be very hard to explain." Indeed.

But if religion is to play a serious role in politics, believers have to accept the obligation to explain themselves publicly. That's why it would be helpful if Roberts gave an account of how (and whether) his religious convictions would affect his decisions as a justice. President Bush has spoken about the political implications of his faith. His nominee should not be afraid to do the same.

There is a great concern by women that the right to choice could easily be overturned by a vote from Roberts. On this merit, the American public has a right to know Roberts religious convictions.

Update: During a a round-table interview with reporters from five Texas newspapers, Bush "said he did not ask Supreme Court nominee John Roberts about his views on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion."

The primary topic of the interview was whether "schools should discuss "intelligent design" alongside evolution when teaching students about the creation of life." Here we go... does Bush understand the meaning of separation of church and state?


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