Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo delighted his fellow liberals when he engaged in his own version of faith-works separation. Cuomo said that while he accepted the teaching of the Catholic Church that abortion is the taking of innocent human life, as governor he could not impose that view on others who do not share it. But Cuomo could, and did, enforce his church's teaching that capital punishment for convicted murderers is wrong and during his three terms as governor he used his power to bar executions.
During her confirmation hearings, Harriet Miers will be asked if she could set aside her conviction that abortion is wrong and uphold a legal doctrine created in the mind of one man, Justice Harry Blackmun, who sold it to six of his eight colleagues.
There are religions that teach life does not begin until the moment a baby takes its first breath. If an adherent to one of those faiths is ever nominated to the Supreme Court, should such a person be required to separate that "faith" from judging? Just what is being asked of Harriet Miers and what is she prepared to concede, deny or affirm?
Yes, decisions should be based on the Constitution, but according to which interpretation? Like the Bible, in which Miers believes, there are liberal and conservative interpretations. The Declaration of Independence makes four references to "our Creator," Supreme Judge," "divine Providence" and "Nature's God." Its author, the deist Thomas Jefferson, rightly claimed that individual rights come not from man and his institutions, but from above.
Harriet Miers should not be required to deny her faith as the price of confirmation, but neither should she be allowed to hide her intent to use it, or lose it, once on the bench.
The Apostle James wrote, "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone" (James 2:17). Will the faith of Harriet Miers die on the court, or will her works die? Inquiring minds not only want to know; we need to know before passing judgment.
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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