An aborted way to govern a nation of laws, not beliefs or biases

The debate over whether or not to appoint a new supreme justice with less than two months before an election is part of a larger question of whose laws we should obey.
A group gathers to protest abortion restrictions. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Missouri’s Republican Senator John Hawley says he cannot, and will not, support a candidate for the United States Supreme Court if they will not publicly say abortion rights decision Roe v. Wade was “wrong” and would vote that way if put on the country’s highest court.

“I will vote only for those Supreme Court nominees who have explicitly acknowledged that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided,” Howley said the Senate in July. Unless the nominee “understands Roe to be the travesty that is is, I will nor support the nomination.”

Other GOP senators from the hard-core religious right, say they may “support a similar litmus test.” In other words, they prefer a court justice with a pre-determined opinion against what is now the law of the land rather than one would consider the evidence and arguments of a case before deciding.

Hawley is not backing down on his demand. After liberal judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg died over the weekend, he tweeted: “Two months ago, I pledged to vote only for #SCOTUS nominees who understand and acknowledge that Roe was wrongly decided. I stand by that commitment, and I call on my fellow Republican senators to take the same stand”

Few issues invoke more passion than the Roe v. Wade decision that ruled abortion is legal. Conservatives decry the decision as “murder” and evangelicals call it an outright violation of “the laws of God.”

In reality, it is neither. Roe discarded the fundamental belief that a fetus is “alive” upon conception. Science and the law say otherwise. “God’s law” does not exist in the Constitution and should not in any courtroom or legislative body. The accepted “separation of church and state” was supposed to prevent letting the beliefs of a faith override the law.

Less than half of Americans believe the Christian Bible should influence U.S. law and just 28 percent of those polled by Pew Research favor “God’s law” over “the will of the people.” But Christians are an eroding percentage of the population of America.

Protestants account for just 43 percent of Americans, Pew research says, down from 51 percent just 10 years ago. Catholics now make up less than 20 percent. Most now say they do not belong to any specific religios denomination.

So can fundamentalist religious belief be a ruling factor in determining the laws that Americans should follow? Realistically, perhaps not, but recent years have taught us that realism has little to do with politics or the actions of our religious leaders.

A number of people we know say the only reason they voted for Donald Trump in 2016 was his promise to appoint right-wing judges to rid America of Roe v. Wade. Yet legal and Constitutional scholars say the decision was based on science and law.

Science, and its belief in evolution, is a bad word for evangelicals and others of fundamental religious belief because evolution rules out the story of God creating Adam and Eve as the first humans on earth but close examination of much of the Bible provides an argument that such beliefs are based on faith and not fact.

Likewise, the argument that life begins at conception is part of hardcore religious fundamentalism and not an objective determination of scientific investigation. Can someone who believes in a god also accept evolution? Religious scholars argue on both sides.

America is a society of different backgrounds, beliefs, philosophies, and concepts. It should not a nation of any singular religion, any particular political belief, or any specific race or gender.

It should be a society of laws that serve the Constitution and the majority with an acceptance of differences.

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