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Sen. Kennedy Asks DOJ Nominee, ‘Do You Believe In God?’

Remember when Republicans were against grilling nominees about their religion?
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During a confirmation hearing for Department of Justice nominee Hampton Dellinger, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) tried to paint his criticisms of anti-choice Republicans as un-Christian and therefore unacceptable.

Kennedy all but demanded Dellinger take an oath to uphold conservative Christianity if he’s confirmed. Kennedy is no backwater bumpkin, even though he sounds like one. He has two law degrees, including one from Oxford University and he graduated magna cum laude in political science. In other words, he knows darn well that the U.S. Constitution prohibits a religious test for office.

KENNEDY: Do you believe in God?

DELLINGER: Senator, I have faith, I believe -

KENNEDY (interrupting): A lot of people have faith. Did it ever occur to you that some people may base their position on abortion on their faith?

DELLINGER: Senator, I sincerely appreciate people who have a different position on abortion than I do.

KENNEDY: You sure don’t tweet it. Have you ever tweeted that?

DELLINGER: Well, Senator, I’m saying it now, under oath.

If Kennedy wanted to probe Dellinger’s views on abortion and his tolerance (or lack thereof) for others of a different mindset, that’s one thing. But trying to make it about faith is about as intrusive and irrelevant as trying to make it about Dellinger’s sex life. This, from the party that claims to oppose government intrusion.

But wait, there’s more hypocrisy. Remember when Sen. Josh Hawley accused Democrats of “religious bigotry” against Catholics for asking then-SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett about the legal precedent that established a constitutional right to contraception? Apparently that right to privacy only belongs to conservatives.

Meanwhile, Kennedy conveniently ignored the clergy who are supporting Dellinger. From Mark Joseph Stern:

At no point did Kennedy mention the fact that seven ministers sent the Senate a letter in support of Dellinger, who was christened in the Catholic Church. Several of these ministers lead churches in which Dellinger has worshipped. “Throughout his career, Hampton has advocated for just causes and operated with care and concern for his fellow human beings,” the ministers wrote. “He has displayed the kind of compassion, humility, and integrity we should demand for our public servants, affirming the dignity of all fellow citizens in the process.” Nor did Kennedy note that, while serving in the North Carolina attorney general’s office, Dellinger helped to combat a wave of arson against Black churches.

There were some great points made on Twitter, too:

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