The archbishop of Philadelphia has joined the chorus of those condemning the anti-Catholic harassment of U.S. district court nominee Brian C. Buescher by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
A Breitbart News reported, several Democrats assailed Mr. Buescher for his membership in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic charitable organization, declaring that the organization holds “extreme” position on abortion and same-sex marriage.
“The sheer ignorance, not to mention injustice, in the senators’ describing the Knights as ‘extreme’ would be baffling – if it weren’t part of pattern of bigoted thinking already sanctified by other senators like Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in her vulgar 2017 grilling of now-Judge Amy Coney Barrett (‘The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s a concern’),” Archbishop Chaput (pictured) wrote in a column this week.
In their interrogation, the senators suggested that the Knights’ opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage could impair the candidate’s judgment and render him unfit for the post in the District of Nebraska. The questions asked by the senators seemed remarkably close to a religious litmus test, since the positions under examination are held and taught by the Catholic Church itself and are not unique to the Knights of Columbus.
Article VI of the U.S. Constitution forbids the government from considering a person’s faith when appraising fitness to hold federal office. This clause is part of the original Constitution and has been a bedrock principle since the founding of the Republic.
In his column, Archbishop Chaput cited a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed by the Rev. Eugene Rivers, an African-American Pentecostal minister and a leader of the black Christian community, who decried the “anti-Catholic bigotry” shown by the Senators in their examination of Mr. Buescher.
“As a leader of black Christians, I feel particularly strongly about the Knights of Columbus. For more than a century they bravely defended minorities,” Rev. Rivers wrote. “If Catholics like the Knights can be targeted, what should members of my Pentecostal church expect?”
“We share traditional views on abortion and marriage,” Rivers continued. “What about Orthodox Jews, Muslims, Mormons and evangelical Christians? Even the Rev. Martin Luther King’s biblical beliefs would be anathema to Sens. Harris, Feinstein and Hirono. JFK, himself a proud Knight of Columbus, would be unacceptable too.”
According to Archbishop Chaput, such hostile attacks on religious faith among the nation’s leading legislators bodes poorly for believers and for the country in general.
“A lot has changed in 50 years, some of it good, some of it not, and some of it involves a crippling loss of decency and common sense in some members of Congress around matters of religious faith,” he said.
“It’s ugly, it’s vindictive, and it damages all of us,” he said.
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