If someone who had a religiously motivated belief that all non-Muslims should be forced to convert to Islam on pain of death were rejected for a judicial appointment, would that, too, be “religious discrimination”?
Or, to bring it closer to home, how about someone with a religious objection to the death penalty running for Governor? Would it be “religious discrimination” for his opponent to make the death penalty an issue in the race?
Unless people completely separate their religious beliefs from their actions, some beliefs held on religious grounds will be relevant to politics. Criticizing someone for his politically-relevant beliefs, as opposed to his religion, cannot legitimately be called “religious discrimination.”
Of course, if the Vatican continues to demand that Catholic civil servants defy the law whenever it conflicts with Catholic teachings, it will be difficult to be both a faithful Catholic and a good republican citizen and officeholder. But that isn’t a problem created by the opponents of politicized Catholicism, is it now?
And it goes without saying to describe the issue has “hostility to people of faith,” as if anyone who isn’t a conservative religious fanatic must have no religion at all, is profoundly offensive. If the Senate Democrats are hostile to the twelve Bush nominees they’re holding up because those nominees are “men and women of faith,” does that mean that the 206 Bush nominees the Senate has confirmed were all atheists?
An accusation of religious bigotry is a very grave accusation. Prof. Bainbrige should consider whether the evidence in this case justifies his throwing it around so freely.