In the past, Catholics in the U.S. have suffered from prejudice and bigotry. One of the traditional knocks against Catholics had been they did not and could not support the separation of church and state. John Kennedy, along with many other progressive Catholic politicians, did much to lay those fears to rest. They showed that support for a secular state is not necessarily incompatible with being a good Catholic.
Unfortunately, a majority of the Supreme Court may now be resurrecting concerns about the compatibility between being a Catholic and being a good citizen, or at least between being a good Catholic and an impartial judge. In accepting the Catholic Church’s extremely expansive understanding of what constitutes a burden on someone’s religious beliefs, while simultaneously being dismissive of concerns that would be raised by minority religions, the Court majority is effectively undermining confidence in Catholic judges and forcing us to ask the uncomfortable question: Is it appropriate to have six Catholic justices on the Supreme Court?
Ah. So Catholic Supreme Court justices, because they did not rule the way Ronald Lindsay wanted them to rule on a case involving freedom of religion, are now — nudge, nudge — un-American, and therefore not fit to serve on the Supreme Court?
Hey, these Catholic justices are “forcing us to ask the uncomfortable question.” It’s their fault for making poor Ronald Lindsay broach the subject of a religious litmus test for the Supreme Court. His illiberalism is being compelled, you see. “Unfortunately.” He really hates to ask the question, but hey.
Hey Ronald A. Lindsay, why don’t you write a column asking if Jews or Muslims are American enough to serve on the Supreme Court. See if HuffPo will publish you then. Unfortunately, you compel me to ask the uncomfortable question: are you an anti-Catholic bigot?