Democrat senators attack judicial nominee for her Catholic faith

This is from National Review.


This afternoon, during a confirmation hearing for 7th Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein attacked the nominee for her Roman Catholic faith.

Barrett is a law professor at the University of Notre Dame who has written about the role of religion in public life and delivered academic lectures to Christian legal groups. Drawing on some of these materials, Feinstein launched a thinly veiled attack on Barrett’s Catholic faith, asserting that her religious views will prevent her from judging fairly.

“When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein said. “And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.” Feinstein is clearly hinting here at the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, a ruling that Feinstein supports so vociferously that she has even called it a “super-precedent.”

[…]Other Democratic senators took issue with Barrett over her faith as well. Senate minority whip Dick Durbin criticized Barrett’s use of the term “orthodox Catholic,” insisting that it unfairly maligns Catholics who do not hold certain positions about abortion or the death penalty. (Durbin himself is a Catholic who abandoned his previous pro-life position.) “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?” he later asked Barrett point blank.

And Hawaii senator Mazie Hirono snarked, “I think your article is very plain in your perspective about the role of religion for judges, and particularly with regard to Catholic judges.”

It was reported that Feinstein actually said “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern“. Think about that.

To me, the more important thing about this story is how comfortable secular people are about forcing their secular convictions down the throats of others. What they’re essentially saying is this: “I can use power to push my worldview onto you, and I can use power to stop you from living according to your convictions”. You can be certain that Diane Feinstein has answers to all of the same big questions that theists have answers to: “does God exist?” “did Jesus rise from the dead?” “is there a purpose to suffering and evil?” “is there life after death?”, etc. She has different answers to those same questions, but she wouldn’t accuse herself of having dogma. She feels very comfortable pushing her worldview through political power, but doesn’t think that theists ought to be able to do the same.

And this provides an interesting lesson for Christians: how did it come to be the case that Christian convictions are automatically perceived by secular leftist elites to be irrational and dangerous? Why is it that Christians shouldn’t be allowed to participate in politics, but atheists should, since they answer the same big questions with their respective worldviews? The answer is simple. Atheists perceive Christians as having a worldview that is not based on fact. And they perceive themselves as having a worldview that is based on fact. How did this happen?

Well, simply put, Christian leaders made it happen, by refusing to focus on apologetics and evangelism. For better or worse, Christian churches (from fundamentalist Pentecostal to conservative Presbyterian) have decided that evangelism and apologetics are not important enough to focus on at church. And the result of this is that as non-Christians work their way through school and into the workplace, they never encounter any intelligent Christians who have reasons and evidence for their beliefs. Not just Christian beliefs, but policy beliefs, too. The church has failed to teach their members and adherents the importance of having answers, and this (along with the Sexual Revolution) is one of the main reasons why America has gone secular.

Even if you spend your childhood and teen years in church, you will never hear serious discussion of whether God really exists or whether the Bible is historically reliable. These things will be assumed to be true. You will be shamed if you ask questions, and you will even be shamed if you study apologetics to know how to answer these questions. This is considered pious by most church leaders, no matter what denomination you’re in. Atheists are not blind to the fact that most people who profess Christ are ignorant of competing views, and cannot explain why they hold their views using reason and evidence. And this is where the perception that Christians are too dangerous to be allowed to participate in politics comes from.

This past week, I had a conversation with a senior engineer about his beliefs. He had attended Christian schools K through 12, and Christian churches his entire life. It all ended for him the minute he hit college. I perceived that he had questions that had gone unanswered, and asked him if he had ever seen any formal debates on Christianity. His answer? “I did not know that such a thing even existed”. I sent him a couple of debates to watch, and we are going to have lunch to discuss his background, because he was open to a rational discussion of the evidence. It doesn’t matter what church you are in, you will almost certainly never see a formal debate on Christianity. Because of this lack of emphasis on open debate, we lose a lot of intelligent people the minute they hit the university campus.

Things have gotten so bad, that it is now dangerous to even come out as a Christian in the education system, although there is still space to do it in the workplace, if you are careful who you speak to, and when. Most Christians I know, though, have no interest in jeopardizing their careers by being perceived as stupid at work. And yet there is this tremendous need for every Christian to reset the perceptions on ultimate questions. We must do this, or we are finished.

Anyway, it’s interesting to take a look at two of the nominees that Democrat senators opposed. Are they even qualified? Or are they anti-intellectual dingbats with no experience at all?

The Daily Signal has a helpful article about them. It turns out that they are exquisitely well-educated and have solid resumes, as well. That’s something else that Christians should not neglect if we want to be respected by secular elites.

We should all be very serious about our educations, careers and finances. Finances are important because it is an immediate signal to others that you have a wisdom about how to live. If we marry, then our marriage and children also sends a signal about competence. My view is that Christians should be learning much more than just the Bible in church. A little basic economics, basic apologetics, basic New Testament, and basic philosophy of religion would definitely help to correct the perceptions that others have of Christianity. And the study of those areas would make the average rank-and-file Christian much more confident about discussing those things in school and at work.

Positive arguments for Christian theism

14 thoughts on “Democrat senators attack judicial nominee for her Catholic faith”

  1. You are completely accurate on the state of “Christians'” knowledge of the rational basis of Christianity and how it is the best design for life, via government or other institutions. Most pastors are ignorant, despite their being fervent. May God have mercy on us (US), and the world.


  2. The other, not unrelated, problem in the churches is that they preach the false gospel of nice – even in solid Biblical churches. The greatest “sin” is now considered to be calling out sin. (Which would make Jesus the greatest “sinner,” on their view.) The highest virtue is “being nice” to everyone, instead of the MANY higher virtues of authentic Christianity. Avoiding confrontation and never truly picking up one’s cross is how so much evil has spread in our nation.

    Very few churches preach regular full apologetic-laden sermons on Hell, abortion, gay “marriage,” or divorce. Why? Because it’s not “nice.” Real reason? They love the sound of money in the collection plate more than they love the Lord Jesus. They would rather be loved by evildoers than hated for Christ.

    Many pastors, probably most, are paving the road to Hell from their pulpits – and they are dragging their congregations along with them.

    I pray some pastor will read this and repent of preaching this false gospel today.


    1. The problem I’ve seen in the Presbyterian church is that they have such a strong view of predestination that they feel that apologetics and evangelism are irrelevant or perhaps even dangerous. So, although the Presbyterian elders are very effective in their careers, their ability to discuss their faith rationally with non-Christians sits at a schoolboy level. I suspect that they just hide their faith in school and at work, since salvation is 100% God’s job.


      1. Yes, I have seen this also among various types of Calvinists. Even the ones who do think we need to evangelize think it’s more for our benefit in order to obey God because it doesn’t really have any effect. If people are going to be saved because God decided they would, then it doesn’t matter whether we evangelize or provide reasonable answers except to obey God. And if we evangelize we don’t have to do it very effectively or try to figure out what works. If Calvinism is true, nothing we do is effective and only God is effective, so it doesn’t matter what methods we use or what answers we provide. It’s very disempowering.


        1. Although I liked to annoy my Calvinist friends by declaring the implications of their views to them, but I never really encountered this hostility to apologetics from Calvinists personally until I started attending a PCA church. In my PCA church, there are some elders who are into science and want to have conversations with non-Christians about evidence. But there are other elders who see an interest in apologetics as something bad!!!! I was so surprised. What’s interesting is tht the anti-intellectual elders use their minds in things they really care about, like making money and advancing in their careers. But, when it comes to being a Christian, they don’t put any intellectual effort into that, because that’s all God’s job.

          I have to say that I have friends who are Calvinist evidentialists and they just say that God uses people as part of his plan of salvation. But I’ve also heard the obedience one, too. So this is a poisonous aspect to Calvinism that is clearly not Biblical.


          1. I don’t think this is just limited to PCA’s or Presbyterians.
            I’ve and a friend have been either regular attenders at Southern Baptist Churches or Conservative Baptist Association churches or Congregational churches or other non-denominational or other Evangelical churches. I have often remarked to him that I swear, many people think that justification is the telos of Christian belief (forgetting about sanctification [and glorification]). Come to think of it, I used to have a Catholic coworker who hated to talk about sin (he thought it was too depressing) or apologetics (too confrontational and pedantic) and only wanted uplifting inspiring homilies. (Granted this ‘Catholic’ coworker also lived with his girlfriend…)

            It’s almost like these Christians have the attitude that whatever they do, it’s all good, because they are Christian (i.e., using the word Christian as an adjective/adjectival modifier).

            Some of these people don’t quite understand that sanctification is the unequal partnership between God and us, where we can actively participate in the life of God and can become more Christ-like … whereby we become conformed into the image of Jesus Christ.

            I think sometimes the problems run far deeper than from the pulpit — however. Both my friend mentioned above and I became Christians as adults. We didn’t grow up in the church. He became a Christian around the time he was 30 (has been a Christian about 15 years). I became a Christian at a non-Christian/secular college as a sophomore.

            I mentioned that, anecdotally, kids go to children’s church (and are mostly entertained or just play) and maybe Vacation Bible School for a week. They do fun craftsy things and sing some nice songs and have some good stories. It’s a good old campy time.

            They continue this practice through high school where they are mostly entertained and do fun stuff and sing some more campy songs that evoke positive feelings and memories.

            They go off to college and many Christian fellowships do not engage the life of the mind. Although they may be called “Bible study” or small groups, some Christian fellowships are the Christian sub-culture social groups or places where people talk about their feelings and “ask for prayer” for their life more than they take the Bible seriously. Some people stop being Christian when they go off to college. They’re no longer under mom’s and dad’s rules … or they want to engage in whatever activities that aren’t conducive to the spiritual life. Many adults don’t realize that, as an 18-22 year old, these people are setting up patterns of behavior that will continue for the rest of their adult lives. If one is too busy for God in college, one will often be too busy for God in the rest of one’s post-college life.

            And then after college, whoever is left — well, some of these people feel most comfortable in a Christian setting, and occasionally singing campy songs that evoke those nostalgic feelings…

            For me, sometimes I ask the question: how can I make a difference in this bad cycle of behavior? Where can I make a difference?

            I know J. Warner Wallace realized that many high schoolers are taking AP (Advanced Placement) classes: i.e., they are taking college-level classes in mathematics/Calculus, physics, chemistry, English, history, philosophy, and so on. If they are intellectually and academically able to handle college level materials — shouldn’t we stop treating them like naive children and more like young adults who are fully capable to taking on the Christian worldview?

            Despite living in a heavily secular to anti-Christian part of the country, we have some good Christian churches, including some that have incorporated apologetics … or I can find some good apologetics on the one Christian radio station here.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Oh wow – great comment, WK!

            I addressed this “razor’s edge” from another application in my reply to Lindsay.


        2. The only Bible-carrying “christians” that have ever stood AGAINST me on the sidewalks in front of the abortuary were Reformed. Interestingly, I have never had a person claiming to be Catholic stand against me.

          On the other hand, several of our BEST sidewalk witnesses are Reformed.

          There is something strange there theologically that puts Reformed on a razor’s edge, when you can have those two extremes, and my guess is that it is goes to the question of how much God’s sovereignty eclipses man’s free will – on their view.

          That may be why I think Molinism is a preferred solution to this tension.


          1. You are PLENTY serious on abortion, WK.

            I have bookmarked and linked many of your blogs on abortion – and they grew me out to the sidewalk too.

            We just need to never forget that each and EVERY week in our nation, some 20,000 innocents are slaughtered in the womb. That is the numerical equivalent of 800 Kindergarten classrooms, and as much as many churches do to help in this holocaust, the overwhelming majority are silent – especially from the pulpits. Even most of the ones who DO preach about it from the pulpit do so only once a year – around the anniversary of Roe. That is unconscionable!

            If 800 Kindergarten classrooms got blown away last week, you think we just MIGHT hear about it from the pulpit?!? How about if it happened TWO weeks in a roll?!? Three?!? Well, it happens in the womb for 52 straight weeks.

            Not trying to set up a works-righteousness case here at all, but I just wonder where the Holy Spirit is in most American churches:

            “I am not the least embarrassed to say that I believe one day each of us will be called upon to render an account for what we have done, and maybe more importantly, what we fail to do in our lifetime, and while I believe in a merciful God, I believe in a just God, and I would be terrified at the thought of having to explain at the final judgment why I stood unmoved while Herod’s slaughter of the innocents was being reenacted here in my own country.” — Henry Hyde


  3. It would also be beneficial for Christians to be willing to attend more than one service a week. Back when there were bible studies or people attending Sunday evening services you could present more of the non fluff material in detail.

    But most Christians attend sun morning service exclusively. Leaving little time do delve into anything deeper when you have a service for all ages and depths of knowledge only


  4. An extreme of any doctrine can go to far, and I think sometimes it is because in our human limitation we can focus too much one part of the problem and neglect the other area.

    I am full eternal security of the believer and I detest fall away doctrine and legalism as I find those too binding setting many up to feel defeated and fail.

    I consider that going so far as to say don’t witness because if it is the lords will they will be saved it is presumptuous. I don’t believe it is God’s will for me to die, but I eat food because I don’t expect him to miraculously sustain me.

    Neither should salvation or anything be merely a mystical event up to God. He is involved in his will. But often as we do mundane things in life that feel purely natural with no spiritual undertone it can be used by God to fulfill his work


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