“The dogma lives loudly within you” said U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, as she looked down upon Amy Barrett, who was seated in the center of the Senate Judiciary Committee room in 2017. Barrett, at the time a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, was in the midst of an intense Senate confirmation hearing to be seated on the United States 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Throughout the hearing, Barrett was subjected to completely unwarranted questions regarding her character, temperance and personal beliefs; as is any individual nominated by President Trump. While this type of political grandstanding has become routine in the last two years, Senator Feinstein’s accusation escalated the hearing from a petty partisan squabble into a clear assault on Christian faith.
By “dogma,” Senator Feinstein simply meant Barrett’s Catholic faith. The Senator goes on to say, “You have a long history of believing that your religious beliefs should prevail. … You’re controversial,” implying that Barrett would be unable to rule fairly on cases due to her Christian beliefs — specifically her personal position on abortion. Despite the fact that Barrett forcefully responded that she believes a judge should “never” put his or her own religious views above the law, Feinstein was unmoved and, predictably, suffered no rebuke from her democratic colleagues. It is no secret that many office holders have a particular disdain for religion and traditional values; evident by Feinstein’s shameless attack on Barrett’s faith and her own party’s refusal to condemn her for it. Unfortunately, this is only one of many cases of blatant anti-Christian religious discrimination in America within recent months.
Second Lady Karen Pence was widely criticized last week for a accepting a part-time teaching position at Immanuel Christian School. Why were some in the mainstream media so angered by this? Because the privately owned school requires job applicants to describe their Christian faith and adhere to biblical principles. Last September, Senator Kamala Harris grilled Brian Buescher, a judicial nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, because of his membership in the Knights of Columbus, a pro-life Catholic organization.
This recent emergence of anti-Christian bias and discrimination in America is scary, wrong and un-American. The fact that this sentiment is most prevalent within government institutions and the mainstream media is even more frightening. It seems that Feinstein, Harris, and many in the media have forgotten Article Six, Section Three of the Constitution: “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Religious freedom is a foundational principle in our country. It is an essential right of all Americans that allows us to live peacefully among each other. Americans of all religions should unapologetically condemn any type of religious test or bias among government officials. We should also not tolerate any type of religious discrimination amongst ourselves.
America is a historical anomaly — in our country, you can worship who you please, live how you like and pursue your own ambitions. Many people in the past have not had these privileges, and many in the present still do not. Today in China, North Korea and all throughout the Middle East, people are persecuted, incarcerated and killed for their religious beliefs. These egregious examples demonstrate the importance of religious freedom and the severe consequences of abandoning such an essential principle. “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” Despite our problems, we are currently living in the most free nation in the history of mankind; let’s keep it that way.
Wright Ricketts is a senior banking and finance and managerial finance double major from Memphis.