Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard wrote an op-ed chiding Democratic Senators for framing their opposition to one of President Donald Trump’s U.S. District Court picks around the fact that he is a member of the Catholic group Knights of Columbus.
In the op-ed, published by The Hill on Tuesday and titled “Elected leaders who weaponize religion are playing a dangerous game,” Gabbard stated her opposition to Brian C. Buescher for the U.S. District Court of Nebraska, but took aim at fellow Democrats who seemed to oppose Trump’s pick based only on his membership in the Catholic organization.
Some Democratic Senators, including California’s Kamala Harris and Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono have asked whether Buescher’s Knights of Columbus membership would keep him from “fairly and impartially” hearing cases. (RELATED: Nancy Pelosi Wants To Talk Morality. Here Are Three Questions She Won’t Answer)
Gabbard began her column with a reminder of the religious freedom Americans enjoy and a warning against the atrocities religious bigotry can lead to. Then, she referred to Buescher and the opposition against his nomination before bringing up a history lesson involving California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s opposition to Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to serve on a U.S. Circuit Court in 2017.
While I oppose the nomination of Brian Buescher to the U.S. District Court in Nebraska, I stand strongly against those who are fomenting religious bigotry, citing as disqualifiers Buescher’s Catholicism and his affiliation with the Knights of Columbus. If Buescher is “unqualified” because of his Catholicism and affiliation with the Knights of Columbus, then President John F. Kennedy, and the ‘liberal lion of the Senate’ Ted Kennedy would have been “unqualified” for the same reasons.
Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution clearly states that there “shall be no religious test” for any seeking to serve in public office.
No American should be told that his or her public service is unwelcome because “the dogma lives loudly within you” as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said to Amy Coney Barrett during her confirmation hearings in 2017 to serve as U.S. Circuit Court judge in the 7th Circuit.
Stating that no religious litmus test should be conducted in order to serve as a public official, Gabbard pointed out that Democrats who “worked so hard” to show that politicians like John F. Kennedy could be effective as Catholics and public servants are showing “an alarming disregard of its own history.”
“We must call this out for what it is – religious bigotry,” she wrote. “This is true not just when such prejudice is anti-Catholic, but also when it is anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-Hindu, or anti-Protestant, or any other religion.”
Gabbard ended with a scathing attack on Democrats “engaging in religion-baiting.”
Elected leaders engaging in religion-baiting are playing with fire. They are sacrificing the well-being, peace and harmony of our country to satisfy their own political ambitions for partisan political interests.
We must stand together, call out and reject religious bigotry no matter where it comes from, and fight to protect the freedoms and principles that bind us together as Americans.