Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) got a friendly platform to promote the BS GOP talking point that Democrats oppose Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court because they hate her Catholic faith.
As Ellen wrote on Crooks and Liars yesterday, Republicans are trying to deflect from Barrett’s extremism by accusing Democrats of being anti-Catholic (never mind that Joe Biden is Catholic) when, in fact, it’s her positions they oppose.
Today, Cassidy regurgitated the meme. First, he overlooked Barrett’s public opposition to Obamacare and the likelihood this super duper Christian would vote to take away health care from millions in the midst of the pandemic. Instead, he said, “She’s incredibly well qualified. The president, I don’t think, could make a better choice."
Host Neil Cavuto only seemed to have one concern: “Are you optimistic that whoever it is can be confirmed, approved by Election day?”
Cassidy said Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, thinks so. “My Constitutional duty is to vote for whomever comes before me,” Cassidy said. “I will fulfill my duty, and I suspect that if it’s she, at least 51 Republicans will as well.” (This interview occurred in the morning, before Barrett's nomination was official.)
Cavuto opened the door for Cassidy to pretend opposition is all about Coney Barrett’s religion. “Her Catholicism, her faith, will be a front and center issue,” Cavuto said.
Cassidy had his malicious talking points ready.
CASSIDY: I think Democrats, in Washington, D.C., at least, are threatened by Catholicism, threatened by people of faith, who actually live their faith. Not just, “Oh, yeah, that’s something I do on the weekend," but actually live their faith. She lives her faith in a way which - I’m told that they knew that they were going to have a child with Down Syndrome but nonetheless still bore the child and loved the child and raised the child. As the uncle of a Down’s child, I so appreciate that. She walks the talk. I think Washington. D.C. Democrats fear that.
(According to The New York Times, she did not learn about the Down Syndrome child while pregnant.)
Actually, what Democrats “fear” is Barrett’s extremism and willingness to disregard public opinion. As HuffPost noted, she is on record saying Obamacare is unconstitutional (a majority of Americans support the law and don’t want it overturned). She also signed a public “statement of protest” against the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit (also broadly supported by Americans) calling it an “assault on religious liberty” and called Roe v. Wade (yep, supported by the majority) an “erroneous decision.” A New Republic article notes that she wants felons to have guns but not voting rights.
Cavuto never mentioned how unpopular Barrett’s views are nor how far out of the mainstream she is.
You can watch the weaponization of Barrett’s faith as cover for her extremism below, from the September 26, 2020 Cavuto Live.
That followed on the days when chapters of the KKK in some parts of the Appalachans were wont to hold cross burning in front of Catholic churches and businesses. The local chapter of the KKK in the town where I lived seriously discussed the idea of doing so when the normally tolerated (and tiny) Catholic church welcomed a black family into its flock.
I’m glad that that sort of bigotry is no longer acceptable but wish that it weren’t accompanied by this shift to intolerance towards non-Christian religions. Why is it that so many people who call themselves Christians fail so miserably at complying with Christ’s focus on love and tolerance?
During the 1960s, when the Catholic pentacostal movement was born, touring fire-and-brimstone evangelical preachers were holding religious revival meetings throughout the Southern USA where I lived. We called these “praise the Lord and pass the ammunition” meetings because the sermons contained an awful lot of anger and hatred alongside the praise of God and Jesus. Before this period, such meetings (without the hate and intolerance) were the province of the black churches. When the wind was right, we could hear the chanting from the Pentacostal Church located about 5 miles from where I lived. The mainstream religions stopped laughing at them when those weekly revival meetings started coming around.
According to European researchers, a group of Catholics gravitating around Notre Dame University looked upon these meetings with envy and, because the Catholic establishment frowned on such unseemly antics, started to hold weekly “let-her-rip” prayer meetings in their homes. The movement expanded because its services met a deep-felt need among Catholics throughout the world and it was finally accepted by Pope John Paul II. It is my understanding that the American and Italian branches are very different both in attitude and in act.
While the Italian chapter shares the Americans’ views towards abortion, they don’t act with anything like the same level of anger and violence. And they certainly don’t pay hypocritical lip service towards vulnerable groups like women, migrants and the LGBT-Q community. Their time and energy are focused on helping the vulnerable regardless of religion or beliefs. I lived near their HQ for 30 years and watched with fascination as the Church evolved from seeing them as a bunch of (almost) heretics to accepting them (and assigning Santa Maria in Trastevere, one of Rome’s finest Churches, to the Communità di Sant’Egidio).
In addition to a wide range of projects aimed at helping the elderly, the handicapped and minorities, both locally and abroad, the Communità brokered the peace agreement ending the civil war in Mozambique and tries to do the same in other countries. As an agnostic, I cannot but respect them for speaking and acting without hypocrisy (almost always).
I hope Judge Amy Coney Barrett will turn out to be more like them and less like those fire-and-brimestone evangelical preachers.
The most important information about Barrett is found in her own writings, wherein she has discussed her disregard for precedent in the same kind of language as that used by Clarence Thomas. To both Thomas and Barrett, stare decisis does not apply if they personally disagree with the prior decision under discussion. This tells us exactly how she will rule on multiple decisions.
Democratic politicians and most citizens are correct to be extremely concerned about the new iteration of the Supreme Court that McConnell will now ensure – a 6-3 Hard Right tilt on nearly every consequential case and an occasional 5-4 Hard Right tilt on the few cases where Roberts wants to look after his eventual legacy. But the result will still be the same – Hard Right tilts on every major case from now until we have a change on the High Court. And this could take at least another 2 decades if everyone holds their seats – unless the Dems prevail this year and have the courage to deal with this problem before it deals with us.