The Real Anti-Catholic Bias

CRISIS Magazine - e-Letter

August 6, 2003

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Dear Friend,

Whatís the fastest way to make a Democrat angry?  Call him 
anti-Catholic.

Thatís exactly what happened last week when the Committee for 
Justice ran a controversial ad that pictured a closed courtroom door 
with a sign on it that read, "Catholics need not apply." Referring to 
the recent trend in the Senate to stall voting on Catholic nominees 
to federal court positions, the ad implied that Democrats were 
beginning to apply a religion test to those nominees, effectively 
barring Catholics from federal benches.

The issue came to a head after a vote on Bill Pryorís nomination in 
the Senate Judiciary Committee was split exactly along party lines -- 
the Democrats being unanimously against him. But these same Democrats 
-- some among them Catholic, by their own definition -- bristled at 
the ad. They insisted that their hesitation had to do with Pryorís 
"deeply held beliefs" on issues like abortion and homosexuality, 
something they said was entirely removed from his religion.

The fact that Pryor has an impeccable public record of upholding the 
law on these issues doesnít seem to make a difference. Nor does it 
seem to make a difference that ANY faithful Catholic would still be 
automatically excluded by these criteria, their privately held 
beliefs trumping any public record, no matter how flawless.

Well, the argument over the ad rolls on, and Democrats continue to 
cry "foul" about the charge of anti-Catholicism. But a lesser-known 
Catholic nominee, Leon Holmes, might just prove that the charge of 
anti-Catholicism could stick after all.

Now you may not have heard of Holmes before -- his nomination hasnít 
gotten as much press lately -- but heís been nominated to serve as a 
federal judge for eastern Arkansas. Holmes is a faithful Catholic 
with orthodox positions on the family, but more importantly to his 
nomination, he has an impressive legal career that has won him the 
endorsement of the American Bar Association, recognition from his 
hometown newspaper, a teaching position at the University of Arkansas 
School of Law, and the praise of even those who disagree with him, 
calling him a man "shot through with integrity."

Sounds like the perfect candidate. But once again, Democrats have 
seized on Holmesís deep faith as a reason to doubt that he would be 
an impartial and fair judge. More than criticizing his antiabortion 
stance, though, some Democrats have gone so far as to call him a 
"misogynist" for his views on the mutual subjugation of husbands and 
wives as taught in the Bible.

You see, Holmes and his wife wrote a short essay that was printed in 
their diocesan newspaper on the traditional Church teachings about 
the relationship between men and women, teachings that they call 
"grand, elegant, and beautiful." The paper takes up such unpopular 
topics as the male-only priesthood, the understanding of God as 
"father," and the watering-down of the liturgy with gender-neutral 
language.

Mr. and Mrs. Holmes also discussed the role of husbands and wives, 
explaining that their relationship was to mirror the relationship of 
Christ (male) and the Church (female), as we are taught in the Bible. 
Just as the Church places herself under the care and guidance of 
Christ, so too are wives to "submit" to their husbandsí care. In 
addition, just as Christ laid down His life for the Church, husbands 
are called to sacrifice everything for the good of their wives, whom 
they must love and respect above all else.

This is what Catholics believe to be true -- and it isnít just about 
the relationship of men and women. Itís a larger sign for the 
mystical relationship between Christ and His Church.

Now, itís understandable that some people would misunderstand 
Catholic teaching on this subject if it hadnít been properly 
explained to them. Thatís the kind of misunderstanding that Mr. and 
Mrs. Holmes tried to clear up by writing this piece.

But for Senators Schumer, Feinstein, and Durbin, this is misogyny, 
end of story. And not only that: It is enough reason to bar him from 
a seat on a federal bench. 

Do you see whatís happening here? Holmes is being discriminated 
against because of his faith. It doesnít matter if others unfairly 
misinterpret that faith, or even if Holmesís personal beliefs donít 
interfere with his adherence to the law. Simply holding that belief 
is enough to disqualify him. 

Democrats can call it what they want, but this attack on Holmes goes 
to the heart of his personal religious beliefs. Only by abandoning 
them would they consider him fit to serve, and thatís a religious 
test of the most obvious kind.

At least in Holmesís case, this Catholic need not apply.

Talk to you next week,

Deal


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Anti-Catholic Stereotyping at Ashland Shakespeare Festival