The Washington Inquisition

Inquisition. Noun. 1. a period of prolonged and intensive questioning or investigation. 2. an ecclesiastical tribunal established by Pope Gregory IX c. 1232 for the suppression of heresy. It was active chiefly in northern Italy and southern France, becoming notorious for the use of torture. In 1542 the papal Inquisition was re-established to combat Protestantism, eventually becoming an organ of papal government. 3. (and not officially a definition of the word) Progressive questioning about personal religious beliefs designed as an attempt to discredit, and render unqualified for service, otherwise qualified individuals to secular posts.
Bernie Sanders (here), Dick Durbin and Dianne Fienstein (here), and now Cory Booker (here). It’s becoming a dangerous trend now. Individuals that the president believes are qualified are put forward to the Senate to be confirmed to posts. This is in the Constitution in Article 2. It is a necessary part of government. Also in the Constitution is that religion, or lack thereof, is not to be used as a qualification for office or appointment in government. The progressive wing of the Democratic party didn’t seem to get the memo. The latest one to miss this simple concept is Cory Booker who is not going to vote to confirm Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State based upon, in part, his religious views.  Specifically based upon Mr. Booker not believing that Mike Pompeo can love his neighbor yet disagree with some of their choices and actions. (No, this is not an invitation to have some pointless debate over who was born what way.) Consider the following remarks that he posted as an explanation of his coming “no” vote which he posted on his social media accounts. (here)
“Mike Pompeo pledged to me over and over again that he would treat all those under his leadership with respect and treat them equally.
But I am not sure how you truly lead others — not to mention “love they neighbor” — and still view a fundamental and innate part of who they are as a perversion.
He and I are Christians. We believe in the ideal and mandate: Love thy neighbor. There are no exceptions to this.
I fail at this standard often. 
I struggle to live in accordance to this ideal. 
I have to consciously work at it every day.
Love is not easy. 
Love is work.
Love is service.
Love is sacrifice. 
Love demands humility. 
And love mandates that we see the worth and dignity of others and understand that our worth and dignity —our justice—is intricately and inseparably tied to theirs.
For these and many other reasons, I will not vote to confirm Mike Pompeo.”
I want to be fair here. Mr. Pompeo does not agree with the SCOTUS on same sex marriage. He has been outspoken about it and said that he would do what he could to work to over turn said decision. (Listen, I don’t know how a senator does this, but whatever.) This is no different than those who worked to make same sex marriage legalized in the nation when it was not. We are all free to advocate for the laws which we want or do not want. People should not be demonized for thinking that marriage is a matter of state licensing, which is the crux of Pompeo’s legal disagreement, and not a matter of federal law or implied constitutional rights. Mr. Pompeo did indeed say that homosexuality was a perversion. There is no getting around it. His words were perhaps ill chosen and harsh, but they are in line with the belief of the majority of Christians world wide. He also spoke these words not as a political statement, but at a Christian event. When Mr. Booker questioned him about his comments, he was questioning what a man said, speaking about his faith, at a Christian event. How is this anything but a religious test? More over, Mr. Booker’s comments quoted should frighten anyone who cherishes religious freedom as it is not just about Mr. Pompeo’s beliefs, but because they are different from his own views. The fact that Mr. Pompeo pledged to treat all the same, and the fact that there is nothing in his history of service that would suggest otherwise don’t seem to actually matter. He thinks different than Mr. Booker, and that is enough to be disqualified. It’s worth noting that, b a vote of 66-32 he was confirmed to be the head of the CIA…so he can apparently be trusted to be at the head of the nations premier intelligence gathering agency. I’ve got to be honest, I have a lot more concern over what the CIA might do than the Secretary of State.
We have here, again, a perfect example of the Orwellian attitude that is permeating our political process. This is not just confined to the progressive wing of the democratic party mind you, but it seems to be more popular there than in other political groups. Think like me, or you are not qualified. Believe like me or you do not love people. Adjust your thinking, or you will be vilified for your Catholic dogma. Do not dare to believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven or you will be every “ist” and guilty of every  “ism” under the sun. How dare you not believe what the party believes. It is the height of “doublethink” in all reality. The very same people who are using personal religious beliefs to demonize and disqualify for service individuals are also those who will clamor the loudest for the separation of church and state. We should not mix religion and politics unless of course, we use religion to disqualify you from political service.
The individual who were grilled over their faith have never shown an indication of discrimination. There was no indication that their personal faith had led them to violate civil or criminal law. There is no evidence of it at all, and instead to the contrary there are years of service showing otherwise. They are being disqualified due to thought and belief. Never mind our history, your record, the facts of your service, or our willingness to follow the law of the land, if you don’t think right, you are disqualified. That attitude in our elected leaders should frighten you.

I want to end this with a quotation that I think sums up our nation, at least the ideal of our nation, beautifully. It captures the spirit of our founding father’s exceptionally well: “Our nation was not founded because we all looked alike, or prayed alike, or descended from the same family tree. But our founders, in their genius, in this, the oldest constitutional democracy, put forth on this earth the idea that all are created equal; that we all have inalienable rights. And upon this faithful foundation we built a great nation, and today, no matter who you are – rich or poor, Asian or white, man or woman, gay or straight, any religion or none at all – you are entitled to the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship.”  Those full rights and responsibilities include public and political service. Going forward, we can only hope that all of our elected and appointed officials remember these words. Especially Cory Booker, as he is the one who spoke them.

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