Miers's religious views
SLevinson at law.utexas.edu
Tue Oct 4 19:27:44 PDT 2005
I have recently read that early (i.e., pre-Constantine) Christians were basically pacifists. So my question is this: Do those Christians who are trying to live their own lives as did the original Christian community adopt pacifism? If not, is this because I am mistaken in believing that early Christians were pacifists, or because the Restorationist movement is not in fact all that "originalist" after all? Normally, this would be the subject for an off-list conversation, but in trying to figure out what in the world to ask Ms. Meirs, I wonder if it is at all appropriate to ask her about such theological questions, given that almost every description of her, including those offered by her admirers, seem to emphasize her deep religiosity. Are we then permitted to ask her what the linkage is, if any, between her deep religious commitments and her views of public policy? Will we expect her to answer: a) that is none of your business, because Article VI prohibits the asking of such questions; b) my religious views have no connection at all with my views of the US Constitution; c) it is impossible, in interpreting the "majestic generalities" of the Constitution to avoid drawing on what one regards as the deepest sources of insight about the human condition, and I share President Bush's view that Jesus is the best philosopher who has ever lived; or d) something else.
I note, incidentally, that Ms. Meirs stressed the importance of providing decent defense for those on death row in Texas, and she apparently encouraged large law firms to do pro bono work in this regard. I count this very much in her favor. I do wonder, though, if she ever initiated a conversation with President Bush or the current Attorney General about their shockingly casual attitude toward the death penalty process in Texas? I assume that such a question would be legitimate during the hearings. Would she be entitled to invoke some notion of executive privilege to avoid answering the question.
I hope that this posting doesn't sound testy, because it is not meant to be. I continue to be genuinely perplexed as to what sorts of inquiries into a nominee's religious views are appropriate. Were Joseph Lieberman nominated to be Secretary of State, I would personally think it relevant to ask him whether he shares the views of some Jews and Evangelical Christians that it would be basically sinful for Jews to renounce any of Eretz Israel (such as, e.g., what they are inclined to call Judea and Samaria and many of the rest of us call the West Bank).
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