by Church Militant  •  July 1, 2018

Catholics Amy Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh at the top of Trump’s Supreme Court short list

As in the world of news, you’re only as good as your last story, so in the world of politics, you’re only as good as your last gaffe — and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), for all her legislative achievements, will be remembered for one thing: her anti-Catholic bigotry summed up in the phrase “The dogma lives loudly within you.”

Who can forget the way she badgered Catholic Amy Coney Barrett during her 2017 judicial confirmation hearings?

“Dogma and law are two different things,” Feinstein lectured. “When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for years in this country” (code word for abortion).

The dogma lives loudly within you. Translation: in Senator Feinstein’s mind, faithful Catholics make for problematic judges,” non-profit Alliance Defending Freedom noted.

Senator Dick Durbin (recipient of a chummy phone call/photo op from Chicago’s Cdl. Blase Cupich urging him to protect DACA) displayed the same animus.

“What’s an ‘orthodox Catholic’?” Durbin scoffed. “And do you consider yourself an ‘orthodox Catholic’?”

And Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii scolded, “I think your article is very plain in your perspective about the role of religion for judges, and particularly with regard to Catholic judges.”

Feinstein was blasted for what many saw as a religious litmus test.

“Bigotry pure and simple,” USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers tweeted.

“It is chilling to hear from a United States Senator that this might now disqualify someone from service as a federal judge,” said Fr. John Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, in a public letter to Feinstein. “I ask you and your colleagues to respect those in whom ‘dogma lives loudly’ — which is a condition we call faith.”

Jewish author Yair Rosenberg, in an article titled “Jewish Senators Need to Stop Subjecting Non-Jewish Nominees to Religious Tests,” wrote, “The framers of the Constitution, many of them refugees from religious persecution themselves, were well aware of the temptation to use religious beliefs to exclude qualified individuals from office, and so they explicitly forbade such tactics.”

He went on to quote Article VI of the Constitution: “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

The Anti-Defamation League rebuked Feinstein, Jonathan Greenblatt tweeting, “yes we need church/state divide, but hard/soft religious litmus tests for pol candidates or judicial noms = wrong.”

Jonathan Greenblatt


yes we need church/state divide, but hard/soft religious litmus tests for pol candidates or judicial noms = wrong http://theatln.tc/2gPlJsK 

Even the reliably left-leaning New York Times took Feinstein to task, author Sohrab Ahmari noting that the line of questioning exposes the “long, sordid history” of anti-Catholic animus in America.

“The notion that Catholics are so beholden to Rome as to be incapable of rendering independent judgment in public office has a long, sordid history,” he wrote. “It was a mainstay of 19th-century nativist propaganda, and it would dog John F. Kennedy in the following century.”

The LA Times, also liberal, criticized Feinstein for crossing the line.

“Is Sen. Dianne Feinstein an anti-Catholic bigot?” Michael McGough bluntly begins his article, saying that “she went too far in raising doubts about whether Barrett would allow her religious views to affect her rulings as a judge (particularly about abortion rights, Feinstein’s priority when it comes to judicial nominations).” McGough called on Feinstein to apologize.

Feinstein did not apologize, initially doubling down on her remarks — until the sustained backlash forced her to backtrack.

“I have never and will never apply a religious litmus test to nominees — nominees of all religious faiths are capable of setting aside their religious beliefs while on the bench and applying the Constitution, laws and Supreme Court precedents,” she averred.

But saying it’s so doesn’t make it so. Whatever her promises, Feinstein (and her Senate cronies) clearly applied a religious litmus test, and concerns are they’ll do it again.

In addition to Barrett, Catholic Brett Kavanaugh is among Trump’s favorites to name to the Supreme Court. With no public record on abortion, Senate Democrats will surely ferret his opinion out of him one way or another — but no one should let them get away with a line of questioning that masquerades as concern over judicial impartiality but is in fact anti-Catholic bigotry, “pure and simple.”

Get AQ Email Updates


  1. The Dogma Lives Loudly

    by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. • ChurchMilitant.com • July 2, 2018

    Anti-Catholic bigotry rears its ugly head in the Senate

    Two Catholics are topping President Donald Trump’s list of potential nominations for the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Mainstream media is reporting the frontrunners are D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett from the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Both are faithful Catholics who’ve never decided cases primarily addressing abortion or so-called gay rights.

    Barrett, who was grilled for being Catholic by Democratic senators Diane Feinstein and Dick Durbin during her 2017 judicial confirmation hearings, emphasized that judges must never let personal convictions sway their legal judgment. Feinstein and Durbin pressed her about the possibility of letting her Catholic faith bias her legal judgment. In response, Barrett affirmed that it is never permissible for a judge to “follow their personal convictions in the decision of a case, rather than what the law requires.”

    While Barrett has been a judge less than a year, Kavanaugh has been on the D.C. Circuit since 2006 and ruled on hundreds of cases pertaining to, among other things, administrative acts of the president. His track record shows a complete impartiality in his judgment without any influence from religion or politics. He’s also seen as a judge who stands up to governmental overreach, especially when coming from the White House.

    Democrats, who are in complete lock-step on abortion and other immoral issues like same-sex marriage, have a hard time believing that judges or politicians can remain completely unbiased when in office. From his record and judicial philosophy, Kavanaugh is much like Justice Neil Gorsuch, who shuns judicial activism in any form. This would make Kavanaugh a difficult nominee to derail by Democrats, who are evidently biased against Trump and Catholic morals.

    Watch the panel discuss leftist bias towards faithful Catholics in The Download—Anti-Catholic Bias.

  2. Senate Democrats’ Christian Problem

    by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. • ChurchMilitant.com • July 2, 2018

    Bernie Sanders’ unconstitutional religious litmus test

    Senate Democrats seem to have a serious Christian problem. Not only did Catholic professor Amy Coney Barrett endure unconstitutional questioning of her personal religious beliefs during judicial confirmation hearings last year, Democrat Sen. Bernie Sanders also indulged in an anti-Christian screed during confirmation hearings for a Protestant nominee to the Office of Management and Budget.

    In 2017, Sanders grilled evangelical Russell Vought, concluding that his personal beliefs would make him unfit for office.

    “You wrote, ‘Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology; they do not know God because they’ve rejected Jesus Christ His Son, and they stand condemned,'” Sanders said, reading a quote from Vought’s writings. “Do you believe that that statement is Islamophobic?”

    “Absolutely not, Senator,” Vought answered. “I’m a Christian, and I believe in a Christian set of principles based on my faith.”

    After more heated questioning specifically directed to Vought’s Christian beliefs, Sanders concluded, “I would simply say, Mr. Chairman, that this nominee is really not someone with what this country is supposed to be about.”

    The U.S. Constitution explicitly bans religious testing of citizens before allowing them to assume public office. Article Six of the U.S. Constitution reads, “The Senators and Representatives … shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution, but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

    Sanders objected to Vought’s Christian understanding that “Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ, His Son, and they stand condemned.” During Sanders’ religious examination, Vought simply reiterated that he is a Christian.

    In August 2016, Cdl. Raymond Burke, former head the Vatican’s highest court, said that Catholics and Muslims aren’t worshiping the same God:

    I don’t believe it’s true that we’re all worshipping the same God because the God of Islam is a governor. In other words, fundamentally Islam is, Sharia is their law, and that law, which comes from Allah, must dominate every man eventually. And it’s not a law that’s founded on love.

    Protestants took exception to Sanders’ religious litmus test. Russell Moore, head of the political arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, remarked, “Even if one were to excuse Senator Sanders for not realizing that all Christians of every age have insisted that faith in Jesus Christ is the only pathway to salvation, it is inconceivable that Senator Sanders would cite religious beliefs as disqualifying an individual for public office.”

    U.S. bishops reacted to a similar line of questioning last year by the Senate Judiciary Committee directed at federal judicial nominee Amy Coney Barrett. In a letter published last September, Abp. William Lori, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty blasted the U.S. Senate for the unconstitutional religious examination:

    Such questions are not just contrary to our Constitution and our best national traditions, which protect the free exercise of one’s faith and reject religious tests for public office, they are offensive to basic human rights. They also, sadly, harken back to a time in our country when anti-Catholic bigotry did distort our laws and civil order. These comments are a reminder that we must remain vigilant against latent bigotries that may still infect our national soul.

Leave a Reply