Our own Sen. Al Franken became the voice of intolerance this week during the confirmation hearings for judicial nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Ms. Barrett, a respected lawyer and teacher at Notre Dame University, has been nominated to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. During her hearing, some Senate Democrats subjected Barrett to intense rebuke for her open Catholic faith and her use of her Constitutional right to express her faith when speaking to groups. Franken went beyond proper protocol when he accused her of associating with a "hate group" when she spoke to lawyers of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). ADF is a well-respected, nonprofit Christian organization that does legal work for Christians, accused before the law, for exercising their Constitutional First Amendment right. This accusation of "hate group" stems from the recent defamation of ADF by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Franken likened her speech to ADF as akin to participation with the infamous Cambodian murder Pol Pot.
It appears that Sen. Franken, as well as some of his fellow Senate Democrats, do not concur with the guidelines of the U.S. Constitution when they wish to deny Ms. Barrett her right to be a person of active faith while serving as a judge within the federal judiciary. As they should know, the Constitution states federal officers and elected officials are "bound by oath or affirmation to support the Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States" (Article VI). This is exactly what Sen. Franken and other Democrats are attempting to due (establish a religious test) in opposing judicial nominees based upon their commitment to Jesus Christ.
As the Minnesota Post notes, over 71 percent of Minnesotans profess to be Christian and nearly 80 percent hold to some type of religious faith. Only a small number of Minnesotans are atheistic, as Al Franken appears to be. The question that must be asked is why Christians, and other people of faith, continue to vote to send men like Franken to represent Minnesota in the U.S. Senate?
This is not a call for election of only Christians to political office. The issue is election of men and women who will "uphold and defend" the Constitutional protections afforded to people of faith. Our future as free citizens and our privilege to exercise our theistic faith, depend upon election of individuals who will support the religious liberties encoded within the Constitution... not twist it to meet their own desires about who is eligible to serve in public office. As we soon enter a new round of elections in 2018, all people of faith in Minnesota need to be openly and aggressively questioning all candidates for public office, on their view of what constitutes First Amendment rights for the Christians of this state. A nice little letter of rebuke to Sen. Al Franken may also be called for!