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.
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:
Kennedy: Do you believe in God?
Me: Do I believe in an invisible sky man who cares about where I put my penis but doesn't care when your party kidnaps children and denies them a toothbrush? No. Do I think some people will be judged for eternity? I certainly hope so.
— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) July 29, 2021
For future nominee reference, the answer should only be 'my role depends upon the rule of law, and my personal beliefs — whatever they may be — shall not influence one way or another'.
Rinse and repeat.
— Dr Gina van Raphael (@AliaGvR) July 29, 2021
I would respond, "Asking me that question is a HIPAA violation."
— Eric Williams (@Eric_Williams_1) July 29, 2021
Will Sen John Kennedy uphold the Oath of Office he swore to on the Bible?
Or is his Oath contingent on weither or not he gets enough votes to keep his job instead of his faith.
— Anthony G Piels (@agpiels05) July 29, 2021
A Republican senator asked Biden's Justice Department nominee: "Do you believe in God?"
Can you imagine the reaction on the right if a Democratic senator posed that question to literally any Republican nominee? https://t.co/aXVTT1naul pic.twitter.com/qIk5s3VnUg
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) July 29, 2021