Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher


No Protestants on the Supreme Court? Wow.

posted by Rod Dreher

I hadn’t realized, till I read Diana Butler Bass’s lament, that if Elena Kagan, the president’s nominee for the Supreme Court, is confirmed by the Senate, there will be no Protestants on the High Court. Kagan is Jewish, as is Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The other five justices are Roman Catholics. Can you imagine going back in time and telling the Founders that the day would come when there were no Protestants on the Supreme Court? For that matter, can you imagine telling someone born 50 years ago that within their lifetime, they’d live to see a SCOTUS populated exclusively by Catholics and Jews? From Diana Butler Bass’s remarks:

I’m not lamenting the loss of representation; I don’t think that Supreme Court picks should be ruled by affirmative action. Rather, the primary qualification should be that the person knows the law, understands the law, upholds the law, and possesses a certain sort of empathy for the way that the law impacts the lives of Americans. Accordingly, anyone–a Protestant, Jew, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, or atheist–can be an excellent Supreme Court justice.
However, the faith in which one was raised or which one practices forms the basis of one’s worldview–the way in which a person interprets contexts and circumstances. It involves nuances regarding theology, outlook, moral choice, ethics, devotion, and community. All religious traditions provide these outlooks to their adherents, and they are present in both overt and subtle ways through our lives. I’m not lamenting the numerical absence of Protestants. Instead, I will miss the fact that there will be no one with Protestant sensibilities on the court, no one who understands the nuances of one of America’s oldest and most traditional religions–and the religion that deeply shaped American culture and law.

Butler Bass, who is herself a liberal Protestant, goes on to say that the Protestant sensibility contributed to at least three powerful ideals in US constitutional thought and jurisprudence: the primacy of individual conscience, the power of religious symbols (hence the importance of keeping them out of public neutral spaces), and the separation of church and state. She fears that losing a Protestant voice on the High Court might weaken the witness to these values on the panel.
I find the absence of Protestants on the Court (assuming Kagan’s confirmation) to be interesting from a sociological point of view, but I think Butler Bass has no reason to worry. For one thing, I cannot imagine that a liberal justice like Kagan would rule in a way of which Butler Bass would disapprove on these key issues. On these questions, the liberal Protestant mind is one with the liberal Jewish and liberal Catholic mind. More broadly, is it really meaningful to draw these religious distinctions when it comes to jurisprudence? Antonin Scalia and Sonia Sotomayor are both Catholics, but they are very different in their legal approach. Scalia is a very conservative Catholic; I think it’s safe to presume that Sotomayor is a liberal Catholic, but I could be wrong about that. Would Butler Bass rather have a conservative Protestant like Michael McConnell on the High Court, for the sake of having a Protestant there, or would she prefer a liberal Jew like Kagan? I’m quite sure she would prefer a Kagan, given that McConnell has said he thinks the Court has gone too far in the separation side of church-state jurisprudence. Similarly, I think it’s safe to say that Evangelicals would much rather have conservative Catholics like Scalia, Roberts, Alito and Thomas on the Court than a liberal Protestant, and that conservative Catholics see no allies in Catholics Sotomayor and Kennedy, and would rather see a Protestant like McConnell.
The point is that the philosophical divide in contemporary American life is not between religions, but among people within different religions. Sociologist James Davison Hunter has been trying to explain this to folks for 20 years now. The disappearance of Protestants on the Supreme Court is a fascinating and important sociological and cultural marker, but I can’t see that it has much at all to do with the way the Court will rule. Am I wrong?
(BTW, posting will be light today — I’m home sick with a sinus infection.)



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Franklin Evans

posted May 10, 2010 at 1:01 pm


I can’t see that it has much at all to do with the way the Court will rule. Am I wrong?
It has only and everything to do with the pundits, politicos and perennial complainers pointing to an arbitrary and completely irrelevant attribute and telling the rest of us that it portends doom/revolution/cats and dogs living together.
No, I don’t mean to be humorous. Yes, I do mean to be sarcastic and demeaning towards this whole meme. Case in point:
[quoted from original article] Accordingly, anyone–a Protestant, Jew, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, or atheist–can be an excellent Supreme Court justice.
Okay, how many faith traditions are needed to cover all of those present in the US? Wouldn’t it be easier to just say “anyone — of any faith — can be an excellent Supreme Court justice.”
‘Cause, after all, you know, Pagans and Quakers and Amish and indigenous traditions and sincere agnostics would all make terrible judges…
I hope you find relief for you sinuses.



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Diana Butler Bass

posted May 10, 2010 at 1:07 pm


Actually, Rod, she already did–well, not rule–but she did argue. As Solicitor General in the cross-in-the-desert case, she argued that the Cross was essentially secular and not a religious symbol. I was appalled by the argument that the Cross had no meaning in this case other than as a memorial to war. Not something that most Protestants agree with, I suspect.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted May 10, 2010 at 1:20 pm


“Accordingly, anyone–a Protestant, Jew, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, or atheist–can be an excellent Supreme Court justice.”
Odd, then, that there has never been a “Muslim, Buddhist, or atheist” on the court at all. Nor, for that matter, a Zoroastrian, a Scientologist, a Christian Scientist, a Sikh, a Rastafarian, a aoist, a Jain, or even an openly gay person. Don’t issues of justice concern people of ALL (ad of N) faith(s) anymore?
Odd how the words “justice” and “fairness” and “equality” never even seem to come up in these discussions – only political leanings on (very) specific issues.
“Okay, how many faith traditions are needed to cover all of those present in the US? Wouldn’t it be easier to just say “anyone — of any faith — can be an excellent Supreme Court justice.”
Or, again, of NO faith at all?
Religionists spoil everything, imo.



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jacobus

posted May 10, 2010 at 1:33 pm


I just wish we could get someone who’s spent more than 5 minutes of his academic/professional life more than 5 miles away from I-95.



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jestrfyl

posted May 10, 2010 at 1:43 pm


jacobus
What a fascinating new way to draw our tribal lines. Are our natures also determined by which interstate we travel? I grew up and lived within an hour of I-95 for most of my life, though in Maine, CT and VA. Now I am hours away, but living very close to I-75 in FL. I see a whole new political arena – those who live within 60 minutes of an interstate and those who do not. Those who live along I-10 and those who live along I-70 or even I-90. A bicoastal confederation of I-95/I-5 in opposition to the mid American I-25/I-35. I am indeed intrigued!



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The Man From K Street

posted May 10, 2010 at 1:50 pm


I just wish we could get someone who’s spent more than 5 minutes of his academic/professional life more than 5 miles away from I-95.
Kennedy spent his entire personal and professional life in California prior to being named to the High Court at the age of 50…want more like him?



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Yirmi

posted May 10, 2010 at 1:51 pm


The religious composition of the court happened by accident, and it will not have any big impact. It’s just a curiosity. One reason it’s happened is because Protestant elite lawyers tend to be in private practice, while Catholics and Jews have gravitated toward public service positions in government and the judiciary. Also, Republicans probably liked to nominate Catholics because they assumed a good Catholic conservative would be dependable on abortion. The other thing is that there isn’t a generalized Protestant constituency out there worried about being represented. Anyway, the next African-American nominated to the court will almost certainly be Protestant, since the vast majority of blacks are Protestant.



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Franklin Evans

posted May 10, 2010 at 1:58 pm


Truth: A Supreme Court justice should be chosen for his or her expertise in the law.
Marketing message: “Look! Your religion/ethnicity/shoe size is not represented on SCOTUS!”
I’m with Grumpy Old Person, but I’d replace “religionists” with “politicians”… :-( Oh, and Grumpy, if I’d written “of any faith or none” my complaint would have looked more complete. Sorry about that.
Captcha: client layering



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jacobus

posted May 10, 2010 at 2:37 pm


“Kennedy spent his entire personal and professional life in California prior to being named to the High Court at the age of 50…want more like him?”
Maybe, actually…
Is it so surprising that the right-moderate swing vote is someone who’s spent significant time outside of the North Eastern echo-chamber?
Our last swing vote (O’Connor) spent much of her professional life in Arizona.
The US is a big country and not that we need geographic quotas… but as well as being our last Protestant justice, Stephens is the last justice who didn’t go to law school at Harvard, Yale, or Columbia.



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pagansister

posted May 10, 2010 at 2:47 pm


What difference does it make what religion the judges are on the Supreme Court? IMO, nothing. Hope she gets on the court. More women are needed …and from what I’ve heard so far, very qualified! Good for President Obama, making her his choice.



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Andrea

posted May 10, 2010 at 2:59 pm


I have my doubts about how religious some of the members on the Supreme Court are or how much religion influences how they rule. I don’t think it makes much of a difference one way or another.



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Jasper

posted May 10, 2010 at 3:11 pm


Rod: “Kagan is Jewish, as is Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The other five justices are Roman Catholics.”
Make that the other six justices, viz., Alito, Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia, Sotomayor, and Thomas. Beyond that, is there any way of knowing whether any of these justices are observant Catholics or Christmas/Easter Catholics or fallen-away Catholics? Furthermore, is there any way of knowing how a Justice’s religious sensibilities affect his/her approach to constitutional and legal reasoning?



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Steven

posted May 10, 2010 at 3:13 pm


Unfortunately it isn’t about denominations anymore when it comes to social issues…its about what end of the spectrum you are. A Roman Catholic and a Lutheran can both be liberal (often Christian in name only) or conservative and faithful to 2,000 years of Christian social teaching. When it comes to social issues such as abortion, gay-marriage, overt religion in the public square etc etc, a conservative Catholic and a conservative Lutheran and a conservative Jew will all usually make the same decisions (perhaps some disagreement on the death penalty). Likewise the liberal Judeo-Christian-in-name-only, whether Catholic, protestant or jew will always make the same liberal decisions.
The situation at present is due to a loss of GENUINE faith and regard for God’s will among so-called-Christians of all denominations. FOr example, the American Catholic Bishops shuddered at the thought of Catholic John F Kennedy becoming president because he was Catholic-in-name-only. Likewise with many liberal democrats who claim to be Catholic. As a Catholic it makes me sick to my stomach.
Catholic Church in America needs to clean house, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) needs to wake up and reverse its recent doctrinal decisions that put it at odds with Jesus Christ, etc etc. Lots of house cleaning needed in this country.
Pray, pray, pray…(but not at school, you’ll get in trouble)



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stari_momak

posted May 10, 2010 at 3:23 pm


Odd, then, that there has never been a “Muslim, Buddhist, or atheist” on the court at all. Nor, for that matter, a Zoroastrian, a Scientologist, a Christian Scientist, a Sikh, a Rastafarian, a aoist, a Jain, or even an openly gay person.
None of those groups founded the country. And non of those groups make up more than 5% of the population. Let’s stop pretending that all groups are equal.
And yes, Mr. Dreher, it does matter. Do you think organized Jewry (and powerful Machers) would allow the administration of Brandeis to have a majority of gentiles, let almost zero Jews? Moreover, ethnicity (and Judeism is an ethno-religion) matters beyond conventional left-right/liberal-conservative. Finally, while Catholics have converged to white/protestant norms of voting, Jews have not. A court with three Jews on it is profoundly unrepresentative of the US. It is time for protestants, white protestants especially, to recognize the state founded by their ancestors has been usurped, and start asking whether their interests might be best served by some other political arrangements.



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Gwyddion9

posted May 10, 2010 at 3:23 pm


Wow, the central idea of this article is simply that the Judge isn’t Christian or of their particular flavor. This is the main reason I object to the concept of religion in Government or on the Supreme Court.
Articles like this simply reinforce the ‘idea’ of one Christian sects superiority over others or all religions. That’s wrong AND dangerous.
People complain of religiously controlled governments by Islam yet in the same breath would gladly do it here. Why…Because ‘their’ religion is the best and the ‘only’ truth (in their minds). Hypocrites!
This is why the RR and conservative Christians should be watched carefully. They, imo, are the most Un-American as it can get. The constitution means little to them if all they’re worried about is which religion has dominance in the Supreme Court.



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David J. White

posted May 10, 2010 at 3:31 pm


the Protestant sensibility contributed to at least three powerful ideals in US constitutional thought and jurisprudence: the primacy of individual conscience, the power of religious symbols (hence the importance of keeping them out of public neutral spaces), and the separation of church and state.
I don’t buy it. Of these three points, I can grant the first; but does Protestantism really stress the importance of religious symbols more than, say, Catholicism? After all, many Protestants belong to iconoclastic traditions that traditionally make a point of avoiding a lot of religious symbols. As for the separation of church and state, that is due more to the Enlightenment, or going back further perhaps one can argue that it is due to the Thirty Years’ War and the desire of people not to repeat it. How is separation of church and state specifically a Protestant idea? Tudor and Stuart England certainly didn’t believe in it. Nor did Calvinist Geneva. Nor, for that matter, did Puritan Massachusetts.
***
For example, the American Catholic Bishops shuddered at the thought of Catholic John F Kennedy becoming president because he was Catholic-in-name-only.
They did? Where did you read that, Steven? Please point me towards one documented expression of opinion by a sitting Catholic bishop in 1960 who “shuddered at the though” that JFK would become president because he was “Catholic in name only”. I’m Catholic too, and Catholics in 1960 — the people (such as my parents and their families) and clergy alike — were ecstatic at the prospect of JFK’s election, because it meant that Catholics had “arrived” in America and could finally feel like full citizens. As for whether JFK was “Catholic in name only”, I’m sure he was hardly the only Catholic husband in 1960 who was flagrantly unfaithful to his wife.
***
Captcha: and tangiest



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BobSF

posted May 10, 2010 at 3:50 pm


Catholics in 1960 …. were ecstatic
Clearly a misinterpretation. Only now, with Steven’s expert analysis, can I look back and realize that my mother wasn’t literally jumping for joy and crying, she was suffering a seizure brought on by revulsion.
Obviously.



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Stephanos

posted May 10, 2010 at 4:20 pm


“As for the separation of church and state, that is due more to the Enlightenment, or going back further perhaps one can argue that it is due to the Thirty Years’ War and the desire of people not to repeat it. How is separation of church and state specifically a Protestant idea?”
This is a bit more complicated. First, it is certainly the case that had the Constitution not been written at high tide of the Enlightenment it would have been a much different document, especially with respect to religion; however, the Baptists in America certainly spearheaded the movement for separation of church and state, but they meant something somewhat different from what we mean by it now: namely, NO ESTABLISHED CHURCHES. This is a very different thing from saying no penetration of religion on political life at large. Both Federalists and Antifederalists assumed religious diversity and therefore religious freedom of sorts, but they meant a religious diversity composed of different types of Protestants. They both also assumed some place for religion in the formation of civic virtue among the populace. Otherwise, there would be little incentive for the foundational principle of republican government: individual sacrifice for the collective good. Religion was the glue that would hold the republic together in the absence of more traditional Old World bonds based on traditional social relations. Anyway, this a quite a can of worms…



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Siarlys Jenkins

posted May 10, 2010 at 4:26 pm


Three plus five equals eight. There are nine justices on the court. Is there one missing, or are there six Catholics, or four Jews?
No, it really doesn’t matter, precisely because members of various faiths do not represent their organized church in government office. When there was only one Catholic, Frank Murphy, he voted with the majority to rule that school districts and states could not subsidize parochial schools with taxpayers’ money. Archbishop Spelman lamented that he didn’t understand how “the Catholic member of the Supreme Court” could “go along with that decision.” But, Murphy was not the Catholic member of the court, he was there to expound the Constitution of the United States, and he did so with honor and integrity.
I have some doubts that Alito and Scalia measure up quite so well, but they are trained in the laws of the United States. Scalia, who has been around long enough to measure, has his good days and his bad days, like most justices, having been applauded and derided by people of almost every shade of opinion about exactly how the constitution should be read.
One reason the Roman Catholic church is still very much a presence in the world is that it has adapted itself to the Reformation, the rise of political democracy, the Enlightenment, the growth of literacy, and other developments. One reason that Roman Catholics make good American citizens is that, from some more medieval viewpoints, they “think like Protestants,” as Wisconsin’s former governor, Lee Sherman Dreyfuss, once said to Cardinal Karol Woytyla.
Fortunately, there are a diversity of Catholics and Jews on the court. Frankly, even though its good to see more women become a routine presence in the judiciary, I would have preferred the “white” male from Montana, but most of the highly qualified people considered for the court are never nominated. There just aren’t enough seats. (He would have been from way outside the beltway).



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AnotherBeliever

posted May 10, 2010 at 4:47 pm


How much of this change on the Supreme Court is due to the fact that the Protestant tradition in America has largely discarded its intellectual heritage of scholarship? How many Protestants grow up in a church which emphasizes the history of the faith, theological study, and the philosophy of the faith (teaching people the concepts of just war, the moral and philosophical foundation for a pro-life stance, both at the very beginning and the very end of life, etc.)There was a time when the old mainline churches emphasized the academics of the faith, but there’s not much of it left now. Most of the mainline churches have gone so liberal that they can’t teach what many of us would consider the basics of Christian orthodoxy with any integrity (since they don’t require anyone to believe these basic tenets.) The most conservative churches, the Evangelical and the Charismatic churches, have little in the way of intellectual tradition at all.
These kind of traditions still exist in the Catholic church, and Jewish communities also still emphasize an academic heritage. Interesting, many Jews are relatively secularized, but their communities still hold to the old tradition of academic study and achievement. Roman Catholics on the other hand, increasingly grow up in local parishes that barely indoctrinate anybody into the history of the faith, let alone insist that anyone follow its tenets with any rigor. But there are still hold outs, among conservatives and in some Catholic universities. If you are looking for it, you can still find the academic heritage of the Catholic church.
But aside from Reformed Presbyterians and a few Calvinist strains, not very many Protestant churches in the U.S. have any of that left at all. Maybe it is just as likely than an atheist or someone not strongly identifying with any faith, at least as informing their education, will be appointed in the future.



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Lorenzo

posted May 10, 2010 at 5:18 pm


Another believer wrote “But aside from Reformed Presbyterians and a few Calvinist strains, not very many Protestant churches in the U.S. have any of that left at all. Maybe it is just as likely than an atheist or someone not strongly identifying with any faith, at least as informing their education, will be appointed in the future.” ===== Wow, unbelievable. It seems you are as ignorant of Protestant demographics and history as you are of Catholic teaching and moral decline in the last 30 years.
You left out the largest denomination in the US, Baptists- along with Nazarenes, and Pentacostals and Evangelical Lutherans — all of whom still teach the Bible and support Biblical, Historical marriage, are pro-life and continue to affirm and practice Bible teaching and seminary training, ordaining new preachers and planting Biblical churches not only in the US but around the world. The vast majority of Catholics are liberal and vote democrat. Just look at all the Godless, anti-biblical Democrat Catholics there are in office–where are the tens of thousands of people demanding they be ousted??? Kerry, Biden, Pelosi, Father Phleger, Every drunken sot Kennedy, Newt Gingrich, and on and on. Obama would not have won without the millions of votes from Catholics and Jews. Not a month goes by without another article or report of another gay priest pedophile and another bishop denying they knew anything, while the church pays out tens of millions of dollars in hush money. Some stand up and speak out against abortion, but the silence and cover-ups of pedophilia and homosexuality among priests is deafening. Steven’s comment was spot on, and the among the most honest commentary I’ve ever seen or heard from Catholics.



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Lorenzo

posted May 10, 2010 at 5:38 pm


Hello, Rod. I normally love your articles and agree with your perspective on things. This article is troubling and is political correctness gone amuck. If you don’t agree with the statements by Diana Bass, why don’t you denounce it and refute it’s fallacious worldview, and historical inaccuracy??? “the primary qualification should be that the person knows the law, understands the law, upholds the law, and possesses a certain sort of empathy for the way that the law impacts the lives of Americans. Accordingly, anyone–a Protestant, Jew, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, or atheist–can be an excellent Supreme Court justice.” You sure seem to be defending her, and agreeing with her.
AN ATHIEST or a MUSLIM could never make a good Supreme Court Justice. There is no where in the constitution, nor the Bill of Rights, nor the Declaration of Independ, nor any other founding government doc, the phrase “Separation of church and state.” It only exists in the minds of athiests and ignorant people. The concept is not even there. It says congress shall not establish a government or state religion — like the Anglican church – which is what the founding fathers were trying to prevent. Christian symbols are all over this country in Government and public places.
Bible verses are carved in 12 inch letters in granite and marble all over Government and public places, and we have crosses in every state and in every US military cemetary in every state, and ten commandments in court houses, and state capitol buildings all over the US, God on the currency, God in the pledge of allegiance and specific references to Creator God, and Almighty God in many states’ constitution, and there is a weekly Bible study in the capital for congress and senate, and prayer in the name of Jesus Christ.
Furthermore, Islam directly contradicts the ideas and principles upon which our country and the constitution is based. Islam doesn’t teach of believe men and women are equal, nor that all men are equal. It explicitly states and teaches that a man can beat his wife, and that a man’s testimony is worth three womens’ and it also teaches that followers of Islam can and should lie to non-muslims. NOT something that even the liberal leftist Catholics and Jews would find desirable in a Supreme court justice.



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Hector

posted May 10, 2010 at 5:48 pm


Is it even meaningful to say that Sonia Sotomayor is a Catholic? The news stories around the time of her confirmation suggested that she only attends church when her family is going, which probably means that the faith doesn’t mean that much to her. It’s quite possible that she agrees with fewer Catholic beliefs then a lot of non-Catholics. Though I’m hoping, if she ever gets tested on the abortion issue, that she makes the right decisions instead of being a knee-jerk cultural liberal.
And the real reason why there going to be no Protestant justices, comes down (in my view) to politics. Most of the Protestant/Anglican churches have an image (deserved or not) as either ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’, and people often choose a denomination whose values they share rather then remaining in the tradition they grew up in. The Lutherans might be an exception here, as they have a strong link with ethnic heritage, but even here they are divided into liberal (ELCA) and conservative (LCMS) wings.
The upshot of that is that a lot of conservatives would have an instinctive distrust towards an Episcopalian, Quaker, or Congregational justice, and a lot of liberals would have the same instinctive distrust towards a Southern Baptist, Missouri Synod, or Pentecostal justice. Catholicism, by contrast, can’t be readily pigeonholed as either a ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ church.
This isn’t really a good thing (no church should be liberal or conservative across the board, as our loyalty should be to scripture, tradition, reason, and experience, not to the position papers of the Democratic or Republican parties) but sadly it does seem to be the reality of most Protestant and Anglican churches today.



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John E - Agn Stoic

posted May 10, 2010 at 5:53 pm


It is time for protestants, white protestants especially, to recognize the state founded by their ancestors has been usurped, and start asking whether their interests might be best served by some other political arrangements.
Well its their own darn fault for not breeding enough.
Then there’s the problem that changing the political arrangement, or a more workable solution – finding land outside the US and starting a new arrangement, would be a lot of work when it is so much easier to kick back and watch American Idol, or something.
I think the idea is a non-starter, stari…



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Cecelia

posted May 10, 2010 at 5:54 pm


I’m with Rod in that what we are seeing here is a sociological phenomena – although I suspect we see that in different ways.
Back in the 70’s a very famous very controversial study was done – the Carnegie Junior Faculty Study. The purpose – among other things – was to look at class mobility – if the US was a egalitarian society than we should see class mobility and at that time the most respected position in American society was college professor. So the study looked at the ethnicity and socio economic background of Junior faculty and – much to everyone’s surprise – discovered that most junior faculty were Catholic and the children or grandchildren of immigrants. So – while the study demonstrated that class mobility did occur in the US ( a good thing) it caused huge consternation in that it also signaled a changing of the guard among the elites – the White Anglo Saxon Protestant senior faculty would within a generation be replaced by these ethnic not protestant junior faculty. We see the fruition of this demographic change in the Supreme Court – no more WASP’s.
Who are our junior faculty now ? If they are largely hispanic or asian – then that will be reflected in the SCOTUS in a generation too.



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Lorenzo

posted May 10, 2010 at 6:13 pm


This article completely misses a much larger, more important point. It’s not about which ones are protestant and which ones are Catholic. The vast majority of Jews and Catholics in the US are liberal and vote liberal, which means that they support the same unBiblical issues of the radical left, from partial birth abortion to gay marriage, and amnesty for illegals to socialized medicine and entitlement programs. It is naive and disingenuous to pretend most Catholics in office are conservative and support the teachings of the Bible, much less the teachings of the church. NOT ONLY DOES KAGAN SUPPORT THE RADICAL GAY AGENDA — she has openly opposed historical and Biblical Marriage. American Family Assoc “Ms. Kagan has already tipped her hand on one of the most important issues that is likely to come before the Supreme Court. Overturning ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will have a devastating impact on military morale, recruitment and retention. Plus, there will be no possibility of promotions for officers and chaplains who defend natural marriage as a matter of conscience.
Any officer with deeply held views about the immorality of homosexual behavior would have no future in Elena Kagan’s military. Our national security is far too important to become a plaything in the hands of judicial activists like Ms. Kagan would certainly be. Her nomination ought to be rejected on these grounds alone.
Plus, Ms. Kagan is part of the Department of Justice that filed a brief which declared “this Administration does not support DOMA as a matter of policy [and] believes that it is discriminatory.”
Marriage between a man and a woman is the cornerstone of any healthy society. To put someone with such hostility to natural marriage and duly enacted law on the Supreme Court is an unacceptable threat to this profoundly important institution.”
Gay Marriage and the radical Gay agenda is corrodes the foundations of every culture and society, and you cannot support Gay Marriage and HIstorical, Biblical marriage at the same time.



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Tired of This

posted May 10, 2010 at 6:13 pm


And yes, Mr. Dreher, it does matter. Do you think organized Jewry (and powerful Machers) would allow the administration of Brandeis to have a majority of gentiles, let almost zero Jews? Moreover, ethnicity (and Judeism is an ethno-religion) matters beyond conventional left-right/liberal-conservative. Alan Dershowitz is a very liberal man, but somehow when it comes to Jewish interests, his opinions would do Mussolini proud. Finally, while Catholics have converged to white/protestant norms of voting, Jews have not. A court with three Jews on it is profoundly unrepresentative of the US. It is time for protestants, white protestants especially, to recognize the state founded by their ancestors has been usurped, and start asking whether their interests might be best served by some other political arrangements.
Rod, you’ve repeatedly stood up for the white supremacists who post here, when they invoke opinions against gays, blacks, and homosexuals. Do you continue to defend them when they spout their nonsense against Jews?
From #9 of the Beliefnet rules of conduct: “Do not make negative personal remarks about another’s age, disability, gender, ethnicity, race, nationality, sexual orientation, intelligence, character, appearance, health, mental health, education or any other personal characteristic.”



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A108

posted May 10, 2010 at 6:34 pm


I must agree with “Tired of This”.
The comments made here, not just in this thread, but over time by this individual are not only gross violations of the Beliefnet rules of conduct:
“Do not make negative personal remarks about another’s age, disability, gender, ethnicity, race, nationality, sexual orientation, intelligence, character, appearance, health, mental health, education or any other personal characteristic.”
They are also uncharitable, thus totally in opposition to the Christianity I know and which you, Rod, also acknowledge.
Tacit approval of his racist and anti-semitic (and all the other hatreds, of which he seems an endless fount) must otherwise be assumed.
Oh, my: reCaptcha: representation Odessa!



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Brett R.

posted May 10, 2010 at 6:38 pm


Tired of This,
Apparently you haven’t met stari_momak before.



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GingerMan

posted May 10, 2010 at 6:43 pm


AN ATHIEST or a MUSLIM could never make a good Supreme Court Justice.
I suppose it hinges on your definition of “good” here. Yet you seem to be conflating different points.
While it is true that there are some militant secularists who (foolishly) wish to expunge every religious reference from our public life (e.g. remove “In God We Trust” on our coinage, etc.) and that you rightly note that the Constitution has no reference to a “separation of church and state” (which comes from a letter Jefferson wrote in reference to the first amendment), it is also true that the Supreme Court is supposed to be enforcing the laws of the land not the laws of the Bible.
Now we can argue about strict constructionists and all the various theories of legal jurisprudence, but the reality is that the Supreme Court is a secular authority not a religious one. And there is, in fact, no religious test to become a Supreme Court justice.
Now it may be that you are arguing that there SHOULD be such a test, but the ultimate path that would lead us upon is one that might bring initial joy to some of the heretic hunters who post here, but it would in time be a sure road to misery for our polity.
The challenge for the church is to be in the world but not of it. And marrying it to secular power in such a manner would ultimately degrade both our civil and religious life.
– GingerMan



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Jon

posted May 10, 2010 at 6:45 pm


Re: There is no where in the constitution, nor the Bill of Rights, nor the Declaration of Independ, nor any other founding government doc, the phrase “Separation of church and state.”
No where in the Constitution is the phrase “Separation of powers” encoutered, but it’s staringly obvious that this principle underlies the entire document. Likewise we do not find the word “Trinity” in the Bible, but it’s still sound Christian doctrine.
It should be just as obvious that the Founders intended Church and State to be distinct institutions, not to rely on or control one another. They were perfectly free to set up a state church if they had wanted, or to include a House of Bishops in Congress. They did no such thing and if you read their writings they had a strong dislike of politcally corrupted churches, pointing frequently to the Roman Catholic Church in Europe as a prime example of what happens when State and Church get in bed together. Experience since 1787 shows their wisdom too: religion has flourished in America.
As for Ms Kagan’s opinion on gay marriage the AFA is lying through its teeth (as per usual): the lady is on record as rejecting the argument that same sex marriage is constitutionally required. She may OK with it, may be willing to vote in favor of it in a public referendum, but all indications are that she will not find a right to it on the Consttitution. Meanwhile, the Left is whining about her opinions on executive power and the like, and hinting that she is too moderate. Ms Kagan’s is the most centrist judge you are going to get from Obama’ deal with it.
As for Stari’s comment, how about a Court with only one woman and eight men on it (the Cour tgeorge W Bush bequeathed his successor). That strikes me as pretty unrepresentative too, if we are going play-by-numbers (a practice I dislike by the way).



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John E. - Agn Stoic

posted May 10, 2010 at 7:29 pm


Tired of This, A108 – oh, that’s just stari_momak, being stari_momak.



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Franklin Evans

posted May 10, 2010 at 8:06 pm


To those invoking the Beliefnet rules of conduct, beware: You have no more right to (mis)interpret them as mindreading than the AFA has a right to lie that Kagan’s theoretical personal views will govern her theoretical rulings on court cases.
Rule #9 is the precise definition of ad hominem expanded a bit to make sure no one can misunderstand it. If you don’t know the difference between (politically incorrect) statements about a group and a personal attack aimed at another individual, then you need further training in logic and rhetoric before you should think to post again.
Oh, and yes, I am criticizing your criticism of Rod. If you insist on taking it personally, I invite and encourage you to bring it to the attention of the Beliefnet staff.



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Rod Dreher

posted May 10, 2010 at 9:30 pm


Good grief, people, I don’t monitor these comments constantly. But anyway, it is written:
Rod, you’ve repeatedly stood up for the white supremacists who post here, when they invoke opinions against gays, blacks, and homosexuals. Do you continue to defend them when they spout their nonsense against Jews?
Hold on a minute. I have tolerated opinions stated on this site that I do not believe in. I do it every single day. Many times I grit my teeth and allow Stari’s post to remain up, because I ask myself, “If a [black, Hispanic, Jewish] person was saying this about [black, Hispanic, Jewish] people, would I allow it?” And usually, I would. I don’t like this kind of identity politics one bit, but if I am going to permit it when minorities voice these opinions, I’m obligated to allow it when a white person does it.
From #9 of the Beliefnet rules of conduct: “Do not make negative personal remarks about another’s age, disability, gender, ethnicity, race, nationality, sexual orientation, intelligence, character, appearance, health, mental health, education or any other personal characteristic.”
Again, I disagree with Stari’s opinion and perspective, but where does he make negative personal remarks about any particular person’s age, gender, etc.? He likened Alan Dershowitz to a fascist, which I find obnoxious, so I took it out for the same reason that I almost always take Hitler references out. I think it is within the bounds of reasonable discourse for him to observe that Jews would work to maintain the Jewish character of a Jewish institution (Brandeis). Why shouldn’t they? It is also a fair observation to say that the Supreme Court, having three Jews sitting on it (if Kagan is confirmed) is not representative of the US population. It’s “fair” in the sense that it’s accurate. But see, this is why I hate the way those on the cultural left often play identity politics, e.g., claiming that we have to have someone of a certain ethnicity or gender on the High Court to make it more “representative” (“a Court that looks like America”). If you’re going to play identity politics, and assert that public institutions ought to replicate the demographic make-up of the broader population, then you shouldn’t be surprised when a white person like Stari applies the same logic to his racial special pleading.
The most objectionable thing in Stari’s post is the idea that this country was founded for white people, or white Protestants, and that they should organize along ethnic interest group lines to take back the country. Why not challenge him on that? Again, I strongly disagree with the thrust of Stari’s post, for the same reason that I hate identity-group politics, but I would allow it if, say, a black reader said it about black Americans, and so forth. This is not “standing up for Stari”; this is about standing up for the freedom of people to post unpopular opinions here, within limits. I don’t like what Stari has said, and I am open to being persuaded that I’m wrong here, but nearly every day I have to make a call about whether to leave up this or that post, and I try to err on the side of letting it stand.



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John E. - Agn Stoic

posted May 10, 2010 at 11:05 pm


Heck, I’d like to hear stari’s plan.
At this point in history, I think ‘taking back’ America for White Protestants isn’t doable.



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Mark in Houston

posted May 10, 2010 at 11:33 pm


Guy Fawkes has his revenge! Well, sort of…



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stari_momak

posted May 11, 2010 at 12:15 am


I thank Rod and Franklin Evans, both of whom surely disagree with me. Having said that, if advocating torture warrants isn’t fascist, I don’t know what is. I also believe Mr. Torture Warrants is a big fan of the current wars. I, on the other hand, am against our imperial military occupying brown, Islamic peoples’ countries. But I and those who agree with me are the ‘supremacists’.
I don’t believe I’ve ever said ‘take the country back’. Mr. Agn Stoic is right, its demographically undoable. In the short run I advocate whites, or more specifically white gentiles, advocating for their rights as a group within the current system. (Jews, for example, as a group already have a plethora of organizations advocating for them across all areas, from AIPAC to Jewcy.com to Jdate.com).
In the longer term I think some sort of dissolution of the United States is in the cards — in 1975 noone guessed the USSR would fall apart, 15 years later it was dust. Geography dicates that large swaths of the former USA would be very white indeed. All of you right thinking folks could live in the equivalent of South Texas, or Chicago, or whereever. I’d take Northern Idaho. Its a win-win, right?



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Yirmi

posted May 11, 2010 at 12:20 am


I’m not interested in stari’s White separatist views. But I do think it’s worth pointing out something he said which is false. It is not true that Dershowitz has fascist-type opinions on Israel. In fact, he believes in the two-state solution and in removing settlements. Most American evangelicals probably have more right-wing views on Israel than he does — which makes complete sense, since (as Mike Huckabee argues correctly) the settlers are doing nothing wrong (in the overall project of settling, that is). And you can’t claim that these evangelicals hold these views due to some ethnic loyalty. In my opinion, a fair look at the facts of the matter, and common everyday morality, should be enough to make your average person be pro-Israel. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jews on the Court are far to the left on Israel than most Americans, given their liberal politics in general. While there are left-wing Jews with far-right opinions on Israel (which is a misleading thing to say anwywa, because “far-right” on Israel is not exactly a fair description, given the arbitrary centrist consensus on Israel), most left-wing Jews have pretty left-wing views of Israel too. From the point of view of Israel (and Jew) haters, their main sin is defending Israel at all, including its existence.



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Anonymous

posted May 11, 2010 at 12:57 am


PaganSister:
Within two sentences you go from ridiculing the idea that religion matters, to implicitly advocating the idea that gender matters. So some identities matter, but not others? Maybe just the identities that you happen to care most about?



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Random Nickname

posted May 11, 2010 at 1:20 am


Rod: It’s your site, but editing out portions of individual comments is difficult and misleading for readers. If something’s that objectionable, just delete the whole post.
For example…
PosterKlan57 says: “I believe all Greek Orthodox are inferior, inhuman creatures and should be barred from entering the United States. All of the ancient Greeks were gay pedophiles and nothing has changed since then. I also advocate the establishment of solar power farms across the country.”
If you delete out his ignorant, homophobic, racist crapola, you’re left with an entirely unrelated statement. The first couple of posters might say PosterKlan57 is an ass, or is crazy. Then those parts are deleted, and the next batch of readers wonder why everybody is mad about solar power. Meanwhile, the rule somehow stands that… I guess… Greeks could come in and claim their racial superiority over everyone non-Greek?



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stari_momak

posted May 11, 2010 at 1:25 am


Yirmi’s point is fair enough, he/she is correct about D’s advocacy of a ‘two state solution’ — one state, of course, having a permanent and overwhelming Jewish majority. That’s not ‘facism’, but the Left and a lot of the neo-‘Right’ thinks it is when any other group advocates similar arrangements for themselves. I’ll also acknowlegde that Dershowitz is also a great advocate for free speech — at least he was in 1993.
Again, when I wrote about that certain Harvard professor, I was thinking about … torture warrants and his . I extrapolated too much — Professor D. isn’t a facist, but reports like this
Alan Dershowitz calls Richard Goldstone “traitor” and “evil man”
http://www.worldjewishcongress.org/en/main/showNews/id/8859
show the man is becoming unhinged as he enters his golden years.



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TTT

posted May 11, 2010 at 10:03 am


Finally, while Catholics have converged to white/protestant norms of voting, Jews have not.
Well, SOMEBODY has to be the best at it–why not Jews?
I keed, I keed! But seriously folks, this is drek. Jews “diverged from the norm” by recognizing ahead of time that a pathologically paranoid racist like Nixon would turn out to be a bad choice for the highest seat in the land–and of course were proven right. Jewish voters abandoned Goldwater (but wait, i thought Jews were supposed to be more loyal to themselves than to America? This is more complex than Talmud!) to side with LBJ and about 97% of America–if you want to talk about weirdos, look at the conservatives who backed Goldwater and who to this day still like him. More Jews than usual voted Republican in ’80. Jews voted for Clinton both times and he won both times, Gore (who won the popular vote), Kerry (who came within about 60k Ohio votes of winning), and Obama. Gosh, it almost seems like they vote for normal candidates who have a very good chance of convincing majorities or very very near majorities of Americans to vote for them too. How incredibly devious of them!
And again, Stari, I would point out that your own political demographic–“Why yes, I am a white supremacist, and how are you?”–is very VERY much in the minority in this country and is in complete opposition to every government we have had for at least 80 years. If your dream of crypto-violent revolt and “taking the country back” against minority interests ever did come true, have no doubt whatsoever that you would be among the first up against the wall. It is only because of liberal secularists of the ACLU and similar groups, limiting government power and protecting equal treatment under the law for the radical and unpopular, that you are able to behave as you do. As the saying goes, “freedom isn’t free.” But for you, bubbeleh, you get it at 20% off!



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TTT

posted May 11, 2010 at 10:08 am


Lorenzo:
Christian symbols are all over this country in Government and public places. Bible verses are carved in 12 inch letters in granite and marble all over Government and public places, ten commandments in courthouses
Only allowed either as displays of historical artifacts, or within larger ecumenical displays. There was a thread here just a few days ago, about “the cross without Christ”, pointing out that the only way to keep those symbols on public land is to clarify that they aren’t meant as specific faith endorsements. You can’t eat your cake and still have it too.
and we have crosses in every US military cemetary in every state
Only on the graves of Christians. Duh.
God on the currency, God in the pledge of allegiance
All that stuff was added by wacktivist boozers in the 1950s. We didn’t need it to beat Hitler. Do you think Bob Dole was unpatriotic?



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John E - Agn Stoic

posted May 11, 2010 at 10:12 am


In the short run I advocate whites, or more specifically white gentiles, advocating for their rights as a group within the current system.
Yes, the rights of the white gentiles have been savaged trampled since the days of the Founding Fathers. Especially their property rights.



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hlvanburen

posted May 11, 2010 at 12:35 pm


“Yes, the rights of the white gentiles have been savaged trampled since the days of the Founding Fathers. Especially their property rights.”
Yes, how savagely they have suffered. First they had their slaves taken from them, then they had their wives granted some semblance of equality. Having endured that they are finding now that they must suffer the insult of being considered no better or no worse than the many other racial/religious groups who have come to these lands.
Oh, the ignominy of it all!



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pagansister

posted May 11, 2010 at 3:59 pm


Anonymous: I see your point. Religion of a candidate for the Court doesn’t matter. But, being a woman who has been around a long time, I am excited that I have lived long enough to see there will finally be more than 1 or 2 women on the Court. Maybe I’m more for gender balance. If she weren’t qualified, that would be different, but IMO from what I have read, she is very qualified. If she wasn’t qualified (as the last woman “W” recommended) then I wouldn’t be supporting her. I certainly thought “W”‘s recommendation was a joke.
So no vote for a woman just because of her gender, without qualifications to back her up.



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Yirmi

posted May 11, 2010 at 11:29 pm


It is very wrongheaded to think that Jews in power somehow represent and defend exclusively Jewish interests, and that other groups, like minorities or Catholics or Protestants, naturally do the same. It’s not as if we’re various species competing in an ecosystem. People in power (whether it’s being a politician or judge or pundit or business person) hardly ever see themselves as representing a particular group — instead, they’re trying to one, be successful in their career, which means making good judicial decisions, effective policies, or lots of money, and where relevant, getting their own ideological policy preferences (which have to do with overall philosophical and moral beliefs, and not mainly group interest) enacted.
If you look at Jews, Protestants, Catholics and Blacks in Congress, there is a ton of overlap in their political positions. And there are a lot of people voting against their economic interests — people from poor areas voting for tax cuts for the rich, wealthy people voting for increased welfare programs, black people voting for farm subsidies helping only rich white farmers, etc. Democrats may be somewhat more likely than white Protestants to be democrats, but so what? It is simply false to think that we’re somehow divided into neat little groups working for our own self-interest. And only when you think like that you can end up with white-supremacist views. Because in truth we’re all in this together.
But even if you insist on thinking that way, white male Protestants may not have anyone on the highest court in the land, but they still have tons of power in congress, business, law, and in certain mainly-Protestant regions (including most Southern and many Western states). And no, Jews aren’t trying to oppress them and take all their money and power away and make them slaves to the Zionist empire.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted May 12, 2010 at 2:48 pm


Steven,
“a conservative Lutheran and a conservative Jew will all usually make the same decisions”
You might want to re-‘think’ your position.
Conservative Judaism embraces same-sex marriage. Conservative Lutheraism most assuredly does not.
And, btw, someone mentioned the Pentecostals. Did you know that there is a branch of Pentecostalism that likewise embraces God’s gay and lesbian children and performs SSMs.



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Yirmi

posted May 12, 2010 at 3:19 pm


Grumpy, Conservative Judaism is just a name; it does not represent small-c conservative Jews. Most Conservative Jews are liberal, as is the movement’s theological views. Most politically conservative Jews are Orthodox or nonpracticing.



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Kirk

posted May 16, 2010 at 1:41 pm


I think what this situations demonstrates more than anything else is the continued dissolving of the middle ground in any social, political or legal context. There is polarization occuring everywhere one looks.
For example, 50 years ago Vance Packard noted that members of the Episcopal Church held a disproportionately large portition of the powerful positions in this country whether in business or government. Today the Episcopal Church is too busy subdividing against itself to even hold itself together. It has shrunk into insignificance nationally.
I do not know, but suspect, that in the post WWI world in which I grew up the majority of the people in this country were middle-of-road Protestents, Roman Catholics, Jews, etc. These people had, despite their philosophical differences, an over-arching sense that the country they had was theirs, they had all fought for it and they were all proud of it.
In the fifty years since there has been no single unifying event–other than the 3 months following 9-11–which has pulled this country together. We have taken the advantage of this peaceful time to pull ourselves apart.



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Ian

posted May 24, 2010 at 7:57 pm


Yirmi:
”But even if you insist on thinking that way, white male Protestants may not have anyone on the highest court in the land, but they still have tons of power in congress, business, law, and in certain mainly-Protestant regions (including most Southern and many Western states). And no, Jews aren’t trying to oppress them and take all their money and power away and make them slaves to the Zionist empire.”
Yes thay are.
Recently Elena Kagan, as Solicitor General, supported the indefinite imprisonment of convicted paedophiles in South Carolina, after their court imposed sentences are spent. This applies to hillbilly-type white nominally protestant males from the South. Meanwhile top Catholic Cardinals walk their palaces after invovement in serial paedophile cases; their eminences are not afraid of Kagan. The famous Jewish film director Roman Polanski jumped California bail before sentencing for an underage sex conviction. After decades at large, still winning film awards, there was an obscure semi-attempt to extradite Polanski. Famous liberal Jewish film director Woody Allen was accused by his wife Mia Farrow of sexually molesting her young daughters, one of whom Allen later married when she reached her later teens. The Connectucut State Prosecutor declined to prosecute the case. I don’t think Polanski and Allen are afraid of Kagan.
So already, a double standard of justice is apparent.
And the providing to Israel of billions of dollars of US taxpayers money affects Protestant males, as it does other Americans including Muslims.



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Benjamin Tyler Burkhardt

posted June 11, 2010 at 6:46 pm


What a miracle! I am beginning to really LOVE her now. Ha Ha. This is so good for our Country.



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more followers on instagram instantly

posted December 11, 2013 at 6:35 pm


My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different page and thought I should check things out.
I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward
to looking at your web page again.



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