A man in Cincinnati was recently released from jail on a $10K appearance bond for being able to recite the 23rd chapter of Psalms at the request of the presiding judge. At the same time, thereâ€™s a dispute growing here in Houston. A judge is under fire for having Bible classes inside the court which some consider at least inappropriate and others considering it an opening for religious bias to enter the court system.
The thing is, itâ€™s not unusual for religious people to use their positions to enforce their views. The question is â€œwhyâ€ and I think the answer is related to the superior position given to religious groups and the publics response to any questioning of that superiority and how it can affect public works.
For example, take Rae Gennarelliâ€™s â€œGodly jurists, rulingsâ€ response:
I WAS distressed by Lisa Grayâ€™s April 22 column. She and I have completely opposite views on the type of person we want to judge the cases that come to court. I prefer a Christian judge who knows his Bible and makes decisions based on the wisdom that comes only from God. I suppose she wants a judge who bases his decisions on a worldview that doesnâ€™t include that guidance from God.
Otherwise she would be encouraged that a judge is studying his Bible and knows he should conduct himself according to only the highest of standards. Without godly men and women on the bench, we would reach a state of chaos that I would not want to contemplate.
Itâ€™s apparently alright because what the public needs is godly leaders who use not the secular laws as the basis of their decisions, but the â€œwisdom that comes only from Godâ€ lest we be thrown into â€œchaosâ€.
The question, I guess, is how do we effectively stop current/future religious bias in public institutions while respecting the religious rights of the individuals? From where I stand, I think the first step inevitably involves banning religious meetings from public institutions much in the same manner that some companies ban Amway meetings.
We have to start somewhere and since so many use the governmentâ€™s implicit and/or explicit support as proof of the truthfulness/superiority of their religion, that seems to be the place to start.