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Are the Supremes too Catholic?

Lori Windham (C), senior counsel for The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty,addresses the news media in front of the Supreme Court after the decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores June 30, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Lori Windham (C), senior counsel for The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty,addresses the news media in front of the Supreme Court after the decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores June 30, 2014 in Washington, DC.Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Debate is still raging following the Supreme Court's Monday 5-4 decision in favor of craft giant Hobby Lobby.

Now The Huffington Post prints an opinion piece by Ronald A. Lindsay, President & CEO of the Center for Inquiry asking "The Uncomfortable Question: Should We Have Six Catholic Justices on the Supreme Court?"

Lindsay notes, "The five justices who decided that these employers' objections were entitled to deference are all Catholics. (One Catholic justice, Sotomayor -- a woman -- dissented from the majority ruling.)"

He goes on to suggest that the points made by the majority in the case "show how closely the majority adheres to Catholic teaching."

RedState notes, "What Lindsay is doing in this article is what the Obama administration has been doing in public policy since 2009. Lindsay is making the case that religion is a private matter which has no place in the public square. Obama has been consciously attacking religious freedom, as in the Hosanna-Tabor case, and referring to Franklin Roosevelt’s Freedom of Worship rather than Freedom of Religion."

But going even further, Frank Schaeffer writes at Patheos, "Pope Francis must have vomited when he heard the Hobby Lobby news. Nothing could undo the good he has recently done the Church’s image more than yet another case of anti-woman lashing out by a cabal or far right Roman Catholic activists– this time in the Supreme Court."

Schaeffer writes:

Roman Catholic co-conspirator Mr. Alito, and his ruling and a concurrence by Justice Anthony Kennedy portray the decision as a narrow one without broader application, like denying vaccine coverage or job discrimination. But that is not reassuring coming from justices who missed the point that denying women access to full health benefits is discrimination.
Republican politicians are trying to portray the Hobby Lobby decision purely as a win for religious freedom, which is a more attractive spin than the loss of reproductive freedom for women who work for these companies. The Supreme Court, is now, however, the surrogate for the Tea Party candidates (remember “legitimate rape”?) that helped elect several Democrats in 2012, but have largely been quieted this year.

Deacon Greg Kandra writes at Patheos:

It seems to me that if people have a problem with the Supreme Court ruling, it shouldn’t be because of the religion of the men and women on the court. Complain, if you like, that the court is too conservative; argue about the fact that there aren’t enough Democrats, or that there are too many Republicans, or that there are too many justices who have ideologies with which you disagree, or whatever. But don’t blame it on someone’s religion. Besides being a form of bigotry, that’s just cowardly and un-American.

Besides: anyone who thinks Catholics hold a monolithic view about contraception—and that every person in the pew is automatically opposed to it—has not been paying attention to polls. Put a Catholic on the court and there’s no telling what they’ll believe, or what you’ll get it.

More than 50 years ago, John F. Kennedy said,

I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end; where all men and all churches are treated as equal; where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice; where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind; and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, at both the lay and pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.

Apparently, that America is not here yet.