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Why so much hostility to Amy Coney Barrett’s religious faith?

Why so much hostility to Amy Coney Barrett’s religious faith?

I am sure many of you have heard comedian Bill Maher’s latest diatribe and attack on Judge, soon to be Justice, Amy Coney Barrett’s Catholic religious faith.  Maher asserted that “Chuck Schumer said Democrats won’t make Barrett’s religion an issue, but they should because being nuts is relevant.” 

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett responds to comments from Boston University professor Ibram X. Kendi, who called her a "white colonizer" for adopting two Haitian children, during an exchange with Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., at her confirmation hearings on Oct. 13, 2020. | YouTube/PBS News Hour

Maher then went after Catholicism in general, noting the predominance of Roman Catholics on the Supreme Court, “Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Kavanaugh, Sotomayor, and Gorsuch, who I count as Catholic, because he was raised Catholic and is now Episcopalian, which is just a Catholic who flunked Latin.” 

Adding that he has “nothing against Catholics, except my entire upbringing,” Maher displays his personal prejudices.  Maher then mocks the Bible as “the old book of Jewish fairy tales,” and offered the assessment that Judge Barrett is “really Catholic, I mean really, really, Catholic, like speaking in tongues. . .”

Now, I am offended by Maher’s hostile comments and grotesque anti-religious prejudice.  However, his “candor” does serve a useful purpose. Maher is just being more honest and transparent in his harsh critique of Judge Barrett and her faith. 

Quite simply and profoundly, for many in the opinion-shaping classes of American society, the fact that Amy Coney Barrett takes her Christian faith seriously enough to have it shape and define her life and purpose clearly mystifies and threatens them.  As Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) put it in Barrett’s Judiciary Committee hearing for confirmation to the federal appeals court, “the dogma lives loudly within you and that’s a concern.” 

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If you watched the confirmation hearings for Judge Barrett in the Senate Judiciary Committee, you could see in the visages of the more liberal senators a bewilderment and incomprehension.  You could almost see them thinking to themselves, “how can this clearly highly intelligent and articulate woman take God and religion so seriously that her life revolves around her faith.”

For many people in America, especially in the more educated upper middle classes, religion, if taken seriously at all is at best a preference, and more often just an interesting and hopefully fulfilling hobby that has nothing to do with how you really live your lives.  In fact, many of them may have seldom, if ever, even known anyone like Amy Coney Barrett.

Not having any comprehension or frame of reference to understand more traditional Americans, who are far more likely to take religion seriously in their lives, they disrespect them and are often downright hostile to the people they see as “deplorable.”

Since the secularists are the fastest growing segment of the American population, we can expect this dismissive hostility to increase. At least the Bill Mahers of the world are open and honest about their prejudices, no matter how offensive or wrong they may be.

Unless God sends us a truly great spiritual revival and awakening, this hostility that is generated by ignorance and prejudice will only increase. 

I thank God our society is still producing people like Judge Barrett.  I pray that God will encourage and empower Christians to defend the historic Christian faith.  And I further pray that God will use all of his faithful disciples as salt to preserve and as light to illuminate our decaying and increasingly dark culture.

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Dr. Richard Land, BA (magna cum laude), Princeton; D.Phil. Oxford; and Th.M., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, was president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (1988-2013) and has served since 2013 as president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC. Dr. Land has been teaching, writing, and speaking on moral and ethical issues for the last half century in addition to pastoring several churches. He is the author of The Divided States of America, Imagine! A God Blessed America, Real Homeland Security, For Faith & Family and Send a Message to Mickey.

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