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  1. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Representative wants to know about judges' religion

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Steerpike, Feb 6, 2015.

    I don't cite DailyKos often, because they get a lot wrong (and they got some of this wrong) but that's where I saw the story:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/02/03/1362013/-New-GOP-representative-to-state-judges-what-s-your-personal-relationship-with-a-Supreme-Being

    The point made in the story, that candidates can't answer a lot of these (the Judicial Code of Conduct probably bars a lot of it) is worth mentioning. The idea that it is unconstitutional to ask is bollocks, of course, but it brings up an interesting set of questions:

    1. When someone wants to hold public office, does their religious view (or lack thereof) matter to you; and
    2. Should it matter?

    #1 - only tangentially, in that they may hold policy positions I disagree with based on their religious views. If they're religious but don't want to translate their religion into policy then I don't care.

    #2 - yes, to the extent I mentioned with respect to #1, above.
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It wouldn't be the first incompetent legislator elected.
     
  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think I agree with you on this. If someone goes to church every now and then, whatever, I won't hold that against them. But if they're devout, I'd be suspicious, simply b/c I can't see how they could keep those beliefs out of their governance decisions.

    I mean, the decisions one makes when one believes there's an omnipotent, ominscient being watching over us are probably going to be different from the decisions one makes when one believes we're on our own and have to do the best we can.
     
  4. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that in the UK being strongly religious (I might go as far as to say even being mildly religious) would be an impediment to getting elected.

    After leaving office when Tony Blair spoke about his conversations with God before sending troops out to Iraq the general response (after the incredulous laughter) was "don't blame your God for your bad decisions you fuckwit." At least that was my perception of things.
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Perhaps it is ironic that the prohibition against a religious test to qualify to hold public office was in part a response to England's Test Acts, which required an oath of loyalty to god (and in particular, to the god of the Church of E).
     
  6. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    You say that. David Cameron is an open Christian, and said he didn't think we should have equal marriage laws because of the sanctity of marriage and that man is now PM. You are right religion has no place here in the UK really, especially in politics, it's more not a factor than a negative factor.
     
  7. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    IMPORTANT CONTEXT FOR @Lemex @Chinspinner AND OTHER NON-AMERICANS:
    In most countries Judges have to pass an exam, or be approved by a panel in order to adjudicate.
    Not in America. In our justice loving country, anyone who can weasel themselves into winning a popularity contest can become a judge.

    There's no law school background, no records of public service. If you own a business and can buy television commercials, you can be a judge and literally decide the life or death future of the people who come before your bench.
     
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  8. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    That seems so ... odd. That's seriously how it works? :/
     
  9. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    It's not "odd" it's extremely stupid. And yes that's seriously how it works.
     
  10. Chinspinner
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    I mean it happens to a limited extent in the UK by the backdoor i.e. judges are likely to be public/ private school educated, white, middle to upper-middle class males (I think). I am also sure there is a strong "who you know rather than what you know" element involved.

    But they are appointed by an independent commission and require legal qualifications and experience. The idea of the rich being able to promote themselves to these positions is scary.
     
  11. chicagoliz
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    Actually, it depends. For federal judgeships, you do need a law degree. In some states you do, too -- and not all states fill their judgeships by elections. Some are appointed.
     
  12. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Ah, I see it's only 24 states in the Union. But you'll be happy to know that, in New Mexico, a Judge only needs a High School Diploma to be a judge. Efforts to find out if a GED* can be substituted have been in vain.

    *This is a General Education Development, a test given to American high school dropouts in lieu of a high school diploma. Most positions that require a high school diploma will also accept a GED. Though the ability to rule on life or death cases is hopefully not one of those.
     
  13. Bryan Romer
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    If the candidate held his (non)beliefs strongly enough to have been active in related activities - marches, blogging, writing articles, organising petitions in support of laws affecting religious matter (including evolution) I would be very concerned. A judge most of all needs to at least try to be objective and to set aside personal prejudices.
     
  14. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yep. A judge who was either strongly disposed to being swayed by religious belief, or disposed to being antagonistic toward religion, would be a bad choice if they couldn't set their biases a side. A long history of activism on the issue may be evidence that they will have a hard time being objective.
     
  15. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    Funny, when we had God in America it was a better country than it is now? A president who follows Gods laws, would not have a women under his desk giving him head as he is talking to another world leader. The founding fathers of America put God into everything...it seemed to keep us strong for 200 years...now it's gay marriage before God, and look at the mess we have. The police are now the bad guys, and the bad guys are protected by the Government.
     
  16. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Did the founding fathers put God into everything?

    But, yeah, it sure was better back in the good old days when black people were slaves, natives were murdered with impunity and women were treated as property. Damn, those were some good times.
     
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  17. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    The part about the native Americans...I agree, that was very bad. I asked myself , How could those who believe in God have slaves? I had to go back in time, and read letters and diaries of the time. The slave owners went to church…they believed in God. Some of the diaries contained sermons, and parts of sermons they heard in church. Here is what the religious leaders were teaching:
    Ham, one of Noah’s sons had sex with his mother, (Noah’s wife) and she had a child by Ham. Ham was of the dark skin. The child was of the dark skin. Noah put a curse on Hams son, and his seed. The Christian slave owners were following the teachings of their religions. Having slaves was wrong. They believed they were doing God’s work.
    So rather than say America had slavery, we should say, “The Christian religions of the world misled the people.”
    Women’s rights? Again, both men, and women were following what their religions were teaching…again, it is not what the Bible teaches, but what religious leaders world wide were teaching. Coins have two sides, not just one.
     
  18. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Sadly, the Bible was often used to justify murder of Native Americans. Not that there weren't good Europeans who liked the Native Americans and wanted to protect them, but there weren't enough of these to have an overall impact. At one point, the children of a slain Indian leader were captured, and there was a serious debate among clergy about whether or not the children should be put to death. Many of them, including the Reverend Increase Mather, used specific Biblical passages to argue in favor of executing the children. Even those who argued against execution acknowledged that the passages indicated could support an execution, but they took the position that other passages were more persuasive and argued against execution. Ultimately, those opposed to execution won out, but it was still a shallow victory for the children, who were sold into slavery instead of killed.

    The point being, having god in things doesn't necessary mean you're going to get a particular outcome, because people are quite skilled as finding god's justification for just about anything they want to do.
     
  19. chicagoliz
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    This argument is ludicrous. Religion/a belief in God has zero -- nothing whatsoever to do with morality.
    Most of the presidents have been thought to have affairs -- look at Thomas Jefferson.
    Getting head under a desk is irrelevant. If it helps him do his job, and both participants are willing, then great. I couldn't care less.

    It's better than starting a war for no reason and sending a bunch of soldiers to kill and die. And then ignore them if they do survive but come home disabled.

    See also http://www.salon.com/2015/02/08/the_7_biggest_presidential_sex_scandals_in_history_partner/
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015
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  20. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    A lawyer with no morals who thinks a President with no morals is okay. If you think that is irrelevant...this world is done.
    The God of the Bible does not justify murder...those who say it does are bold face liers.
     
  21. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." (I Samuel 15:2-3)
     
  22. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    In Kings, god sends two bears to kill 40 people who made fun of Elijah (there is some disagreement over whether the dead were kids).
     
  23. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    If you learn the Bible you will know these were Tares. Jesus spoke of the Tares, and the wheat. Tares are against God, and God's people. As to the children: Little Tares grow up to be big Tares.
     
  24. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    This underscores the problem. As long as you can rationalize someone being against god, it's ok to kill them.
     
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  25. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    We are a social animal who rely upon reciprocal relationships for our survival; morals are an evolved trait.

    If I did need something else to act as my moral arbiter, the bible would be very low on my list of places to look.
     
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