Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Catholic Court?

With Judge Samuel Alito officially getting approval from the U.S. Senate yesterday, the Supreme Court now boasts five Roman Catholics on the bench: Alito, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Chief Justice John Roberts.

Fifty-six years ago, some people fretted that John F. Kennedy, also a Catholic, would wind up taking his orders from the Pope if he was elected president. A few conservative protestants sometimes said -- even publicly -- that the Catholic church was to be the instrument of the Anti-christ. Times have changed, and religious lines in public discourse are drawn along conservative/liberal axis, rather than denominational ones. In fact, while protestant evangelicals are arguably the muscle of modern conservatism, conservative Catholics often provide its intellectual backbone.

Like other U.S. religious groups, American Catholics are pretty darn diverse. Sure, Thomas and Scalia are conservative, but Kennedy tends to lean more liberal. Furthermore, big-time Alito critics like Ted Kennedy and Patrick Leahy are also Catholic. Most Catholics don't believe their religion requires them to follow the Vatican at every step.

But there's no question that folks like James Dobson's Focus on the Family are hopeful with Alito's move to the bench.


Post a Comment

<< Home