In the blog post Does the Supreme Court need an evangelical justice? by Cathy Lynn Grossman, Ms. Grossman raises the question of the balance of the Supreme Court and it’s religious leaning. She notes that with the departure of Justice Scalia, it has once again become a 4-4 Court, stating that 3 justices are Jewish (liberal) and Catholic Justice Sonia Sotomayor votes with them.
Ms. Grossman is careful to only imply that there is need for an evangelical justice on the Supreme Court, she is only raising the question while citing information such as:
According to a 2013 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, more than one in three (37 percent) of U.S. adults say Supreme Court justices’ religious beliefs shape their decisions on the bench “a lot.” Another 44 percent say religion influences justices just a little while 15 percent said religious beliefs “have no influence.”
She finishes her post with the question “Do you care what religion the next Supreme Court justice claims? Why?”
My argument is this: What ever happened to the separation of church and state? Why must any of the justices follow any religion?
If it were up to me all of the justices on the Supreme Court would be atheist. All of the major religions work off of the belief that there is not only a God, but a personified God. An omniscient, omnipotent, ever-present, sentient God. This, in my opinion, flies in the face of logic. I argue that an atheist justice would be logical and rational and make decisions based entirely on secular law without any religious influence.
There are tenets of religions that I find beautiful:The Golden Rule of Christianity -the concept of treating your neighbor as you would like to be treated yourself. (Though I argue that we don’t need Christianity to hold this concept dear). The Islamic ideology of class equality and charitable giving. (Though I would argue that the way they treat women is despicable). The Baha’i principle of living without prejudice. (Though the concept of having a world tribunal presided over by a descendant of King David is, to me, ridiculous). I could go on. I studied religion ferociously before I decided upon atheism. To me, there are tenets of every religion that are extremely detrimental to our society as a whole.
I am tolerant of a persons personal religious beliefs, especially when it helps him or her to cope with the world’s complexity, until it infringes upon my, or my children’s existence.
My personal opinion is that any all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present God that allows perpetual war on this planet is an asshole. And the argument that “He works in mysterious ways” is the biggest cop-out of all time. He, that’s right He, is either malicious, ignorant, or non-existent. And as for the religious believers, it has always blown me away that most followers of each religion have not themselves ferociously studied all of the other religions. To not do so and trust the well-being of their “eternal soul” is so ignorant to me, that it requires no further elaboration.
As another writer on the subject, Lawrence Krauss, states in his blog here:
the appointment of an atheist Justice would send a meaningful message: it would affirm that legal arguments are secular, and that they are based on a secular document, the Constitution, which was written during the founding of a secular democracy. Such an appointment would also help counter the perceived connection between atheism and lawlessness and immorality…
This, I agree with emphatically.
So, instead of arguing which religion the next Justice should be, how about we nip the whole concept in the bud and choose one that follows the scientific method? Ms. Grossman may have done a good job of not rocking the boat too much in her blog post, but I think she missed the boat entirely by leaving out what is an ever-growing demographic in our great country – the non-religious.