Last month a judicial nominee was asked during a Senate hearing if his membership in the Knights of Columbus might impede his ability to judge federal cases fairly.
Senators Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Kamala Harris (D-California) both questioned Brian C. Buescher about his membership in the Catholic service organization. Hirono even asked Buescher if he would quit the group if he was confirmed “to avoid any appearance of bias.”
In response to this blatant anti-Catholic bigotry, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) wrote an op-ed for The Hill calling out the senators and defending religious liberty:
For too long in our country, politicians have weaponized religion for their own selfish gain, fomenting bigotry, fears and suspicions based on the faith, religion or spiritual practices of their political opponents.
Whether we think of ourselves as Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Sikh, Buddhists, Jews, atheists, agnostics, or anything else, it is imperative that we stand united in our commitment to protect religious freedom and the right to worship or not worship, safely and without the fear of retribution.
We must stand together, and with one voice condemn those who seek to incite bigotry based on religion. We cannot allow those who are anxious to exploit our differences to drive a wedge between us. We cannot and will not tolerate prejudicial treatment of those with whom we disagree, any more than we would tolerate such treatment of those with whom we agree.
The party that worked so hard to convince people that Catholics and Knights of Columbus like Al Smith and John F. Kennedy could be both good Catholics and good public servants shows an alarming disregard of its own history in making such attacks today.
The Democratic Party considers itself the natural party for women and minorities. Yet the party’s anti-religious—and specifically anti-Christian—bias is a betrayal of the demographic groups Democrats claim to champion. As Stephen L. Carter says, “When you mock Christians, you’re not mocking who you think you are.”
A 2015 Pew Research Center study of race and ethnicity among U.S. religions provides some basic facts. In the first place, if you’re mocking Christians, you’re mostly mocking women, because women are more likely than men to be Christians. The greatest disproportion is found among black Christians, of whom only 41 percent are male. So you’re mocking black women in particular.
Overall, people of color are more likely than whites to be Christians — and pretty devout Christians at that. Some 83 percent of all black Americans are absolutely certain that God exists. No other group comes close to this figure. Black Christians are far more likely than white Christians (84 percent to 64 percent) to describe religion as very important in their lives. Of all ethnic groups, black Christians are the most likely to attend services, pray frequently and read the Bible regularly. They are also — here’s the kicker — most likely to believe that their faith is the place to look for answers to questions about right and wrong. And they are, by large margins, the most likely to believe that the Bible is the literally inerrant word of God. In short, if you find Christian traditionalism creepy, it’s black people you’re talking about.
It’s true that, politically, black Americans are overwhelmingly Democrats, and that’s true of black Christians as well. On the other hand, black Christians tend to be socially conservative: the least tolerant of homosexuality, the most likely to oppose same-sex marriage and the least likely to believe in evolution. If you’re maligning traditional Christianity, the people you’re maligning are disproportionately black.