More than a dozen Democratic black pastors and church leaders have launched a petition letter demanding that Amy Coney Barrett – President Donald Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – not be attacked for her faith.
The petition launched by the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies, titled “Call to Action! A Black Defense of Freedom of Conscience and Amy Coney Barrett,” insists that the conservative judge not be targeted for her religious convictions as a devout Catholic.
“Today, we stand with – and speak in defense of – Judge Amy Coney Barrett,” Rev. Eugene F. Rivers, III, the founder and director of the Seymour Institute, declares on the petition. “As black Christians, we will not stand by in silence as our sister in the faith is persecuted for the ‘political crime’ of her beliefs.”
Barrett embodies Hebrew Bible's requisites for righteous judge
"Conference of Jewish Affairs enthusiastically and with full conviction endorses the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Judge Barrett's philosophy and recent remarks reflect the outlook and temperament articulated in the Hebrew Scripture regarding the attributes of a righteous judge.
"In Leviticus 19:11, Scripture declares that a judge must not social engineer decisions, rather decide 'neither in favor of the rich nor in favor of the poor.' In her remarks in the White House Rose Garden after her formal nomination by the President, Judge Barrett specifically expressed this biblical sentiment. Scripture goes on to say that judges 'must judge according to the law,' not according to their own political or social activism."
“President Trump has courageously chosen an inspiring candidate to further this country's glorious heritage inexorably tied to our Constitution. The President has chosen wisely, and we look forward to the years of wisdom and law-centered decisions that will assuredly be forthcoming from Justice Amy Coney Barrett.”
Rabbi Aryeh Spero, spokesman
Conference of Jewish Affairs
No more attacks on Christian beliefs
The letter calls out the assault on Barrett – based on her sincerely held religious convictions – as unacceptable.
"As bishops, pastors, other clergy and intellectuals from the various Pentecostal-Charismatic and Full Gospel denominations, we write to appeal to the sense of justice of every American, and to the American tradition of individual freedom,” the letter states. "[A]ttacks on her Christian beliefs and her membership in a charismatic Christian community reflect rank religious bigotry that has no legitimate place in our political debates or public life.”
Democrats’ singling out the likely Supreme Court inductee as being incompetent or unfit because of her faith was described as nothing less than despicable.
“We condemn these vile attacks – which began three years ago during the process of her confirmation for the judicial post she currently holds,” the group continues. “As the descendants of slaves, we are particularly sensitive to acts of discrimination, and we demand an end to this reprehensible conduct.”
The letter emphasizes that the U.S. Constitution prohibits "religious tests" for public office.
“Those who say that Judge Barrett's charismatic Christian faith – or ours – is a threat to the Constitution are themselves enemies of the Constitution," it states. "They are enemies of the freedom of the individual, [and] such behavior cannot be tolerated. We must stand in defense of freedom of conscience in principle and defend Judge Barrett's right to practice her faith, in particular."
Rivers stresses that by trying to silence Barrett, opposing Democrats would also be silencing the voices of black Christians across America.
"[H]er charismatic beliefs and those of America's black churches are very similar," the black Christian leader argues. “[We welcome the opportunity to meet with Barrett,] pray with her, and to discuss with her both civic and theological issues."
And he looks forward to any opportunity to meet with the Supreme Court nominee in the near future.
"[Because] her days will be filled with official meetings … we would not expect to meet with her until she had completed that grueling process, but at some point, it would be an honor for us to meet a sister in Christ – a fellow charismatic Christian and a woman who has adopted not one, but two black children from Haiti," Rivers notes in his group’s press release.
Senate meetings underway
Indeed, Judge Barrett is on Capitol Hill today meeting with GOP lawmakers in preparation for her confirmation hearing, scheduled to begin October 12. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and some Democrats have refused to meet with Barrett, who is expected to be swiftly confirmed by the end of October.
With Republicans holding a 53-47 Senate majority, and just two GOP senators opposing a quick vote, Barrett appears to have enough support for confirmation. In the event of a 50-50 tie, Vice President Mike Pence would cast the deciding vote.