Cal  Thomas

The White House and other supporters of Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court are using religion when it suits them and not using it when it doesn't.

During John Roberts' confirmation hearings for chief justice, his supporters said questions about his Catholic faith, or suggestions that there are "enough" Roman Catholics already on the bench, smacked of anti-Catholic bigotry and should be avoided. Some invoked the constitutional clause prohibiting a "religious test" for high office.

Now comes Harriet Miers and the White House seems to be promoting her evangelical faith as a qualification. The message is that evangelical Christians and pro-lifers can trust her because she is one of them. That has not always been the case with previous nominees to high office with similar spiritual and political pedigrees.

The question is: What difference would her faith make in her job should she be confirmed?

Her friend, Texas Supreme Court Judge Nathan Hecht, was asked on Fox News Sunday (Oct. 9) how Miers could separate her faith from her work. Hecht replied it is "easy" because, "Legal issues and personal issues are just two different things. Judges do it all the time. In fact, a judge is going to take an oath that says I'm going to judge rightly in cases, which means that you have to set aside your personal views in deciding the case. And if you don't do that, you're either a bad believer in your views, a bad judge or both."

From that answer comes this question: If Harriet Miers can easily set aside her faith on the job, what is the point of nominating someone with such faith? Why not nominate someone of no faith and the question would never come up? Is faith good only for the confirmation process, but not the job?

I'm all for "people of faith" in government, but what kind of faith? Is it faith in a God who is hauled out at convenient moments and then returned to His box when He isn't needed, or is it a God who informs, converts, strengthens and directs in every area of one's life?

If Harriet Miers is "pro-life" and if she believes, as has been reported, that aborting a pre-born child is the taking of an innocent human life, why should she not be expected to favor overturning Roe v. Wade if the opportunity presents itself? Not to do so would be hypocritical.

Cal Thomas

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Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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