Let me first be honest: there is NO one-word term used to demean specific religions that equally compare to the word “racism” as demeaning the ethnicity of others. Why don’t we develop our own word that we can begin using in conversations like this one today? And when we do, we’ll understand the substance better. After all, most of the current “ism” words are fairly young.
Why don’t we coin this word: “Xism?” And for those who share the thoughts and attitudes we will discuss today, we can term them “Xists.”
What the heck is “Xism?” There are several definitions of the word. But for this conversation, we will use this definition: “the exaggerated embodiment of certain aspects of religious activity.” So what can more fittingly apply than for two (or more) liberal federal politicians to target members of a centuries-old religious organization that has always been accepted by Americans as a viable religion, questioning a person who is a member of that religious organization is unfit to serve? After all, doesn’t the Constitution give Americans the religious freedom to exercise freely their religious beliefs?
What is happening now vividly illustrates the dangerous road on which we find ourselves in American politics today: a road to “Selective Elitist Political RELIGIOUS Correctness!” It’s here…and it’s real. It’s “Xism.”
“Xists” Practice “Xism”
Two Democratic senators are scrutinizing a federal judicial nominee over his membership in the Knights of Columbus (a religious and social arm of the Catholic Church), drawing a stern rebuke from the Catholic organization. Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI), raised concerns about Omaha-based lawyer Brian Buescher’s membership as part of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s review of his nomination by President Trump to sit on the U.S. District Court in Nebraska, as first reported by the Catholic News Agency.
In a series of questions sent to Buescher, Hirono asked whether his membership in the Knights of Columbus would prevent him from hearing cases “fairly and impartially” and, if confirmed, whether he would end his membership in the Roman Catholic charitable organization. “The Knights of Columbus has taken a number of extreme positions,” Hirono said in the questionnaire. “For example, it was reportedly one of the top contributors to California’s Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage.”
In his response, Buescher argued that the Knights of Columbus’ official positions on issues do not represent every one of the group’s members and said he would recuse himself from hearing cases where he saw a conflict of interest. “The Knights of Columbus does not have the authority to take personal political positions on behalf of all of its approximately two million members,” Buescher wrote. “If confirmed, I will apply all provisions of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges regarding recusal and disqualification.”
Harris, in her questions to the nominee, called the Knights of Columbus “an all-male society” and asked the Nebraska lawyer if he was aware that the group was anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage when he joined. The California senator also referenced Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson’s statement that abortion amounted to “the killing of the innocent on a massive scale” and asked Buescher if he agreed with the statement. Buescher responded that his involvement in the group consisted mostly of charitable work and community events at his local Catholic parish. He indicated he would abide by judicial precedent regarding abortion.
Kathleen Blomquist, a spokesperson for the Knights of Columbus, blasted the questions by Hirono and Harris as a throwback to past anti-Catholic rhetoric. “Our country’s sad history of anti-Catholic bigotry contributed to the founding of the Knights of Columbus, and we are proud of the many Catholics who overcame this hurdle to contribute so greatly to our country,” she told the CNA. Blomquist added: “We were extremely disappointed to see that one’s commitment to Catholic principles through membership in the Knights of Columbus—a charitable organization that adheres to and promotes Catholic teachings—would be viewed as a disqualifier from public service in this day and age.”
The Knights of Columbus was founded in the U.S. in 1882 as a society for working-class and immigrant Catholics. It has since expanded to include charitable services, including war and disaster relief, and the promotion of Catholic education. The group, however, has come under controversy for some of its official stances on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, as well as its political activity.
This is not the first time that one of Trump’s judicial nominees has faced questions tied to faith, either. In 2017, federal judicial nominee Amy Barrett — a professor at Notre Dame Law School and a devout Catholic — was questioned by Democratic senators about how her faith would influence her decisions from the bench. Barrett was eventually confirmed as a circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
No, this nomination is not for an empty spot on the U.S. Supreme Court. But the attacks by these two Democrats against Buscher brings that conversation around again regarding the religious affiliation of ALL federal judgeships and how that has been handled historically: especially regarding Supreme Court nominees. It would be safe to say that those involved in the Senate confirmation process of federal judges should expect the exact same process for the nominations and confirmations of any person for any federal judgeship, including SCOTUS nominees.
FOX News contributed to the report above. Also, please find the actual questionnaire sent to Buescher by the Senate along with his answer to each by clicking on this link: Buescher Responses to QFRs
Should Religious Affiliations Determine Federal Judge Nominations?
Seldom do Americans see confirmation hearings for federal district or appellate court judges. But we hear much about those nominated by presidents to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Shouldn’t all appointed federal judges be qualified on the same set of standards? Should those standards have any basis on religious affiliation? Or should Xism be invoked as a disqualifier for those judges and justices as Senator Hirono and Harris seem to believe in their attacks on nominee Buescher?
I think that qualifications to serve on all federal courts should be the same. And I’m certain the crafters of the Constitution felt the same way. How do I know that? Xism or its practices was not ever mentioned anywhere in the Consitution. Let’s look briefly at how SCOTUS justices have fared.
The demographics of the Supreme Court of the United States encompass the gender, ethnicity, and religious, geographic, and economic backgrounds of the 114 people who have been appointed and confirmed as justices to the Supreme Court. Some of these characteristics have been raised as an issue since the Court was established in 1789. For its first 180 years, justices were almost always white male Protestants.
Prior to the 20th century, a few Roman Catholics were appointed, but concerns about diversity of the Court were mainly in terms of geographic diversity, to represent all geographic regions of the country, as opposed to ethnic, religious, or gender diversity. The 20th century saw the first appointment of justices who were Jewish (Louis Brandeis, 1916), African-American (Thurgood Marshall, 1967), female (Sandra Day O’Connor, 1981), and Italian-American (Antonin Scalia, 1986). The 21st century saw the first appointment of a Hispanic justice (Sonia Sotomayor, 2009), if justice Benjamin Cardozo, who was a Sephardi Jew of Portuguese descent and appointed in 1932, is excluded.
In spite of the interest in the Court’s demographics and the symbolism accompanying the inevitably political appointment process, and the views of some commentators that no demographic considerations should arise in the selection process, the gender, race, educational background or religious views of the justices have played a little-documented role in their jurisprudence. For example, the opinions of the two African-American justices have reflected radically different judicial philosophies; William Brennan and Antonin Scalia shared Catholic faith and a Harvard Law School education but shared little in the way of jurisprudential philosophies. The court’s first two female justices voted together no more often than with their male colleagues, and historian Thomas R. Marshall writes that no particular “female perspective” can be discerned from their opinions.
Should Xism Determine Judicial Qualification?
Think about the slippery road this practice has put us on. And it’s NOT just in confirmation of federal judges.
- When a candidate makes any statement outside of the “current” mainstream of Leftist political thinking on matters of race, that person is immediately attacked as being racist;
- When a candidate states anything that mentions the acts of terrorism that have been perpetrated by a Muslim, that candidate is immediately attacked as being Islamophobic;
- When a candidate states anything that can even be remotely characterized as a negative toward homosexuality or same-sex marriage, that candidate is immediately attacked as being homophobic;
- When a candidate makes any comment about the need for border security or a wall at the southern border or that Congress needs to take legislative action regarding any immigration matters, that candidate is immediately attacked as being xenophobic.
Americans seem to be growing weary at all of the phobias and isms floating around Washington D.C. I am often asked this questions: “Who has the authority to determine who is a member of any of these denigrated classes we mentioned above?” Honestly, there is only one group in America that has such “Legal” authority: members of the Judiciary who don the black robes and hear cases of those who violate United States laws, including the U.S. Constitution. And now two U.S. Senators have determined it is their right to question the qualifications of Brian Buescher to serve on a federal court in Omaha.
Let’s just go ahead and say it: Hirono and Harris are Xist for denigrating the nominee for being Catholic!
Those comparisons and examples of such political elitist classifications by those on the Left number in the tens of thousands. Once again that practice begs for the answer to this query: Who has the power and authority to make such determinations? And who gives that person or those people the authority to make them? The answer is simple: the power and authority for doing so are self-initiated and politically-determined. And those on the Left claim the universal authority to do so.
Face it: in today’s electric political climate driven by Identity Politics, someone MUST make the determinations of who wears what political identity. No, there are no books or dictionary that contain any absolute determinations or even illustrations that justify the practice of doing so. But today’s political landscape is riddled with the rules, the definitions, the determination of what every 21st-century moray is, who fits the mold and is qualified or unqualified for any job or position, and who and when someone steps outside the boundaries of those things that are deemed acceptable. And the Left “KNOW” their opinions and positions are the right ones — the ONLY right ones. Everything and everyone else is just plain wrong.
In the South, we call that practice “hypocrisy” and those who practice it “hypocrites.”
Case in point:
The first three that pop in my mind are those involving the two previous presidents and one candidate for President.
Was he for or against same-sex marriage?
- When running for the U.S. Senate, he called same-sex marriage “unstrategic, against his religious beliefs,” and something that “should be in the hands of churches rather than the government.”
- In 2008 running for President, he said: “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage.”
- He later publicly gave his support to same-sex marriage stating “My feelings on the issue have evolved.”
Bill and Hillary Clinton
Were they for or against same-sex marriage?
- Bill Clinton signed DOMA (The Defense of Marriage Act) DOMA was a United States federal law that, prior to being ruled unconstitutional, defined marriage for federal purposes as the union of one man and one woman, and allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages granted under the laws of other states). He claimed that he did so reluctantly in view of the veto-proof majority, both to avoid associating himself politically with the then-unpopular cause of same-sex marriage. He was traveling when Congress acted, signed it into law promptly upon returning to Washington, D.C., on September 21, 1996. Clinton tells LGBT magazine The Advocate, “I remain opposed to same-sex marriage. I believe marriage is an institution for the union of a man and a woman. This has been my long-standing position, and it is not being reviewed or considered.”
- Then Bill Clinton urged for the legalization of gay marriage in his adopted home state of New York. In a statement made in 2011, he said: “For more than a century, our Statue of Liberty has welcomed all kinds of people from all over the world yearning to be free. In the 21st century, I believe New York’s welcome must include marriage equality.”
- Hillary Clinton: “I believe marriage is not just a bond but a sacred bond between a man and a woman. I have had occasion in my life to defend marriage, to stand up for marriage, to believe in the hard work and challenge of marriage. So I take umbrage at anyone who might suggest that those of us who worry about amending the Constitution are less committed to the sanctity of marriage, or to the fundamental bedrock principle that it exists between a man and a woman, going back into the midst of history as one of the founding, foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization, and that its primary, principle role during those millennia has been the raising and socializing of children for the society into which they are to become adults.” Hillary Clinton 2004.
- Hillary Clinton, straight from the pages of her presidential election website addressing her position on LGBTQ rights: “Thanks to the hard work of generations of LGBT advocates and activists who fought to make it possible, our country won a landmark victory last June when the Supreme Court recognized that in America, LGBT couples—like everyone else—have the right to marry the person they love.”
These are just a few examples of the Xism that is alive and well in Washington and is being controlled by Leftists. They are getting bolder and bolder about their overall hypocrisy. And the issue of same-sex marriage (and the federal law passed) have emboldened the Left to reach further into personal rights guaranteed to every American in the Constitution, and yank the right to determine which of those are sacred and which are not.
Xism is alive and well.
Islam and Muslims are seeing freedoms in public schools, colleges, universities, and even government offices to practice Muslim theology while the same institutions are preventing those of other religious faiths from exercising the same or similar practices. There are actually municipalities in which choices regarding public policies of religious activities are making determinations that prohibit Christian practices and even in some cases make them illegal while allowing and often encouraging Muslim religious practices to happen.
Don’t forget: prayer in public school is disallowed. But have you heard of any school in America not allowing Muslim prayers during the day? In fact, many schools provide not only the time for Muslims for their prayers, but they also provide facilities for doing so.
Please do not misinterpret my thoughts in pointing these things out. I am a Constitutional Originalist: I feel that the Constitution guaranteed Americans to believe in any way they so choose, practice their religious faith in any way they so choose, and for the government to not inject itself to any religious practices. But what we have seen for decades now and are watching play out today in national politics is the brazen Xism of federal politicians to justify the practice of ignoring Constitutionally guaranteed rights simply because they feel they have the right to ignore the law.
Folks, Xism is alive and growing rapidly in America. Don’t be fooled: this practice has no favorites. Oh, today Islam is the “flavor of the day.” But as soon as politicians determine the Muslim community does not offer Leftists the power and authority to do what they want to do, Leftists will turn on those Muslims.
I remember when it was common in school for every student to stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance and bow while the Principal said a prayer for the day — a Christian prayer! That happens no longer. The wind can and will surely blow from another direction.
But that happens only when the purveyors of Identity Politics and Political Elitists are allowed the control to make such ambiguous and arbitrary decisions about our lives — like Senators Harris and Hirono saying federal judge nominee Brian Buescher’s affiliation with the Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus disqualify him.