Monday, October 17, 2011

Lieberman's Lapses

by Edd Doerr

Senator Joe Lieberman had an op ed in the Wash Post on 10/14/11 on the Romney/Mormon flap (of which I will write more later). Below is the comment I posted on the Wash Post blog about Lieberman.

"Senator Lieberman rightly notes that the Constitution prohibits religious tests for public office, a prohibition reinforced by the Supreme Court in 1961 in the Torcaso v Watkins ruling. But Mr Lieberman's column made at least three serious errors.

"1. He writes that the First Amendment prohibits 'establishment of an official religion'. Wrong. The First Amendment prohibits any ';aw RESPECTING an establishment of religion'. This goes far beyond what Mr Lieberman wrote. Indeed, Mr Lieberman himself has thumbed his nose at the First Amendment by pushing for the diversion of public funds to discriminatory church-related private schools, which would violate every citizen's right not to be compelled by government to contribute to the support of religious institutions.

"2. Mr Lieberman writes that the Founders promised 'freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion'. Again, he seems not to grasp that one's freedom OF religion means one's freedom FROM someone else's religion being imposed on him or her. We might note that at least Mr Lieberman shows more respect for women's religious liberty and freedom of conscience with regard to reproductive choice than does the Republican Party in Congress and state legislatures.

"3. Mr Lieberman writes that our country 'was and is a faith-based initiative'. He is not clear on that point. It would be better to say that our country is the first secular (i.e.. religiously neutral or religiously pluralistic) initiative. He should be reminded of our 1797 Treaty with Tripoli, ratified unanimously by the Senate and signed very visibly by President John Adams, which states that 'The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion'.

"Edd Doerr, President, Americans for Religious Liberty,"

No comments: