This one is for my mother…

But it’s a legit question – If you are so concerned that the Supreme Court of the United States of America should be using the ideas, ideology and morals of a foreign nation, as you said you were, why would you feel comfortable with anything that comes from Justice Scalia?

For those of you just joining us, I’ve been reading the news again, and yet again, one of my favorites, Christopher Hitchens, writes about the background maneuvering that goes on in Washington, which in this case involves Judge Roberts, the nominee to replace Sandra Day O’Connor.

You see, Roberts, like Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy are all Catholic, and in case you somehow missed this in World Culture or whatever your Social Sciences course was called in High School, the Catholic Church is also a country – with diplomats and it’s own laws. And sometimes that country does things that our country, the good ol’ U.S. of A., doesn’t approve of – like Cardinal Law. Bernard, not some new rule for those in red.

But the bigger point that I’d like to make is for my mom, who got all fired up that Kennedy used the findings of foreign nations to determine what direction the U.S. should go – not because she disagreed with the direction, which was to not administer capital punishment to juveniles, but the idea of taking a foreign idea and applying it to America is abhorrent to her. Think nature and a vacuum, and you’ve got my mom looking at Justice Kennedy.

And while that may be how she really feels – and I don’t doubt her, I just think it’s foolish – I know she didn’t think it all the way through. You see, the Catholic Church has threatened to excommunicate people who don’t legislate with Catholic ideals. I believe that is close to calling Anathema on a person, but I’m not positive on that.

Should Roberts get the post as Justice on the SCOTUS and a case involving abortion comes before him he’ll have an interesting choice – do what the Pope says and impose THE WILL OF A FOREIGN NATION on the U.S., or read the law as it’s stands. And regardless of his actions, it’s a no-win situation for him, because the moment he says anything, the press will fry him. And Scalia and Thomas will probably fry as well, especially Scalia since he got all huffy and wrote his dissenting opinion on taking the ideas of a foreign land to home were, Kennedy alone can stand and not be counted a hypocrite. What’s more, the Catholic Church has not threatened excommunication on politicians and judges and others for not removing the death penalty. We see, yet again, that the entire church can be hypocritical and hysterical in it’s inability to get it’s story figured out.

So mom, and the rest of you out there reading this, what do you think? If you don’t want the ideals, ideology and morals of another country imposed on this land, do we let Catholics on the bench? I know where I stand on this, and I’ll let my mom comment before I state it.






7 responses to “This one is for my mother…”

  1. Lori Hamm Avatar

    Whew – venting are we?!?

    Let me start by making a couple of points: 1. The Catholic Church is not a nation. Vatican City is. There is a profound difference. You should have paid more attention in Social Studies. 2. My concern regarding the recent SCOTUS ruling by certain justices was that it was based on the “trends and opinions” of foreign societies. I want my Supreme Court to be making decisions based on the Constitution of the United States. Period.

    Your implication that somehow Catholics are de facto beholden to a foreign government speaks more to a personal disagreement with the church than the reality of the obligation that Catholics have to that church. I know you object to the Church’s position on gays. I understand and commiserate. However, that position (the Church’s)is held by many religions – and by default by the practictioners of those religions. The Muslims aren’t real big fans of any alternate lifestyle. (Try selling RED in Saudi Arabia!) Not too sure about Hindus, Buddists, or some of the other Asian sects, but I’m pretty sure the Torah doesn’t condone homosexuality. My point is that your “beef” isn’t with the Catholic Church – except as it tends to be the biggest target upon which to focus your frustration.

    To be continued – I have to get back to work – break is over.

  2. KevinMichael Hamm Avatar

    Ok, now that we’ve started a debate, let’s get into this. I’ll start by going after your third point, which isn’t mentioned as such, but is to the core of the issue. Yes, you are right, the Catholic church is a huge target for me, as most of my family and a good portion of my friends are being told by said organization that I’m inherently evil. Many people never think beyond the bounds of what they are told by their religious leaders, and while my personal beef is with the religions, the ones of Christ tend to hit closest to home. I don’t know many Jews, Muslims or Hindi, however, those I do know have had to work very hard to think outside the strictures that have been placed on them by religion. Bhuddists are very “live and let live” by and large, and they don’t seem to have the issues of the other majors. So yes, the Catholic church is a major target for me, but only in so far as I’m one for them.

    Your second point: A document written over 200 years ago by people who couldn’t imagine life without slaves, by people who regularly punished citizens with use of the stocks in town squares, and by people who didn’t even know the concept of abortion, let alone the right for a woman to do anything, obviously has to be used as a guide, not a map. And in doing so, the people of the world who have used our Constitution as guides for setting up their own democracies deserve, in the least, to be acknowledged when their society advances faster and more just than ours.

    Your first point, and frankly the most knee-jerk reactionary of them, is just splitting hairs. The Catholic Church is the Vatican City, period. It is the only religion that is fully recognized as a country. While you might point out Iran, which is run by the Ayatollah Khomeni as being religious, you must also point out that the Ayatollah is not the head of the Muslim religion, just the head of Iran’s Muslims, and not even all of them. The Pope is the supreme power of Vatican City.

    My bigger point was not that it was religion that was influencing our government, or even that a foreign government was influences our lawmakers. My point is that thinking in isolationist terms is a bad idea. Isolationism is what allowed for the first two World Wars, allowed for Afghanistan and the destruction wrought by the Taliban, allowed for the famines and genocides of so many nations in Africa that it’s almost pointless to list them. You, in your outlook, want to remain “Just the U.S.” and not let the world influence us the way we’ve influenced the world. And we’ve already gone down this path, many times. It shouldn’t take another Pearl Harbor, or hell, World Trade Center, for you to realize that by closing us off, we will eventually lose. We must learn from our history, or relive it. Which do you really want to choose?

    Further, I would like to state that I don’t mind if foreign nations influence us – even Vatican City. Personally, I’m not all that hip on killing, be it fetus or felon, and I think the Vatican has it right on this. I know they are wrong on other things, but I have faith that those things will eventually get ironed out. Eventually even Christ’s last disciple on earth will have to, one day, recognize the equality of women, and that’s got to come from outside influences. So Kennedy is not a hypocrite, and can continue down this path. And Scalia and Thomas and possibly Roberts are all going to have to recognize that their own legal xenophobia is much more dangerous, in the long run, than recognizing what is right, regardless of the source.

  3. Lori Hamm Avatar

    Part Deux

    I know this is one of your key soapbox issues, but to me it seems like you are patchworking a bunch of different things together to make the case a major one so that it’s hard to see the real pattern.

    May we boil this whole thing down to “you” – which is, after all, what it’s probably about.

    As far as the Catholic Church goes – don’t look to me to defend the canonical position on gays, birth control, clergy celibacy. I don’t, I can’t, I won’t even try. Screw ’em – that’s why I don’t belong. That being said, it doesn’t mean I don’t agree with most of the basic tenents of the religion and accept many of the moral beliefs that they do. But some of them I don’t accept – capital punishment being another one. There are some people who deserve to be killed.

    Be that as it may. You are not a Catholic and therefore are not expected to live according to the beliefs espoused by that sect. I am concerned by one comment you made, “most of my family and a good portion of my friends are being told by said organization that I’m inherently evil”. That represents, at least, an overstatement and exaggeration as it pertains to your “family”. Of those of us who are still living, who’s Catholic? As for the others, they either know the “real truth according to Christ” or not, and are no longer relevant. I don’t know how many of your friends are actually Catholic – and – further – accept what the Church is teaching re: homosexuality. My only comment is: The Church has been wrong before (many times)on various issues; this is another.

    Now on to your hysteria about the Church and SCOTUS. Catholic-bashing as it relates to the government of the United States pretty much went out with the election of JFK in 1960. Because the US government was founded by “Christians”, most of the moral values of that society were incorporated into the Constitution. And by virtue of the fact that the Catholic Church was the first Christian Church, many of the moral values of the Catholic Church are intertwined into the values contained in the Constitution. From a purely historical point, let me remind you that most of the Founding Fathers held the pope and the Vatican in approximately the same esteem as you do. Here’s where we part company big-time though. I truly feel the Constitution is suffiently dynamic enough to address modern issues; it is not the role of the court to look to “trends and opinions” from foreign nations to establish our laws. That is the sole province of our elected branches of government at the local, state, and federal levels. The courts are there only to APPLY the Constitution to the laws. If a law is found to be unconstitutional, then the electorate can amend the constitution (it’s been done!)to better reflect the trends and opinions of the GOVERNED. This does not seem to me to make me an isolationist. By virtue of technology we exist in a global society to a certain extent. But until and unless I have the right to determine the laws, mores, and values of the governments of other countries, they don’t have the right to such input for my government. That does not in any way, shape, or form isolate the United States from the world. If the values espoused in the rest of the world are so great – they will be accepted and espoused over here and then will become inculcated into our society and subsequently into our laws and government.

    Now as to your aspersions against Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts – what specific decisions are you referring to in your collective diatribe?

    Stay Tuned.

  4. KevinMichael Hamm Avatar

    I’ll go with the easy one: Should Roe v. Wade be challenged by another suit that brings the abortion debate before the court, the four justices who are Catholic have been told by the Pope, in no uncertain terms, that should they not rule in favor of what the Pope has decreed, they shall be refused the sacrament. Therefore, we know that a woman’s right to choose is up against the immortal soul of the true believers. Tell me that’s NOT the court doing exactly what you see as wrong – letting a foreign state determine the course of our legal landscape. That’s all.

  5. Lori Hamm Avatar

    Aha – the abortion mess. For many Americans – Catholic and non – Roe v Wade should be overturned on Constitutional issues not moral or religious issues. A woman’s right to choose – as defined in that decision – does not exist in the Constitution. It took a great deal of creativity to come up with that concept from a “right to privacy” that’s pretty hard to find also. However – and this is CRITICAL to the pro-abortion faction: Roe v Wade is established law. A subsequent court cannot “just overturn it”. The whole panic thing is just to keep the issue hot so the activists can keep the money rolling in. Fine.

    As to the pope and the justices. I think I’ll wait until the situation really arises before I get my knickers in a big knot. As I opined previously, a person’s own moral beliefs will most likely be drawn from his religious beliefs – can’t help it. And it will impact his view of moral situations. I’m not ready to accept that the pope’s “mandate” will determine those justices’ positions more than their own already developed moral code. BTW could you please find the link to where the pope issued that edict? Call me silly, but I seen/heard various references to it – by those with your position on the issue – but I’ve never seen the original document. Hmm. Any possibillity that something has been misquoted/taken out of context/exaggerated for political purposes? No – never happens. So before we go any further — where’s the beef?

  6. Lori Hamm Avatar

    Just a quickie – have you seen the news this a.m.? Can you believe
    > it?!? John Roberts – that nasty right-wing, ultra-conservative,
    > maniacal threat to the freedom and rights of all Americans –
    > apparantly was a very active, pro-bono advocate FOR the gay rights
    > position on the 1992 SC Romer case. The pope must be going
    > crazy!!!!!!!!!

  7. KevinMichael Hamm Avatar

    Yea, I think you’re probably right. However, I want to point out, I don’t have a problem with Roberts, I was wondering if you would, that’s where this started. After reading some of what he’s written, I’m impressed by his thoughtfulness and poise as he refrains from overreaching but still writes out a just ruling. And really, that’s what counts…

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