In yet another example of how bipartisan rancor has failed us, the U.S. Senate has recently confirmed another Bush federal court appointee.
Reading from the Bible on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, Sen. Orrin Hatch endorsed a federal judicial nominee who wrote that wives should have a subordinate role in marriage, with the Utah Republican emphasizing “millions and millions of people will agree with” that view.
You can read some of Tuesday’s comments (search for "Leon Holmes", and click the link; there’s no notion of a permalink on the site) about Leon Holmes from the U.S. Senate Website. There are a couple of testimonials, including one from a supposed pro-choice female attorney (not actually present, as far as I can tell). There is also some bashing of “liberals” and “activists in Washington”.
The presence of these kinds of comments alone makes me worry more, not less, about the appointment of Leon Holmes. There are plenty of qualified candidates for federal judge; why must we appoint ones with such obvious controversy surrounding them?
The complete voting roll is available. My quick counting shows three abstentions (Kerry, Edwards and Murkowski), four Republicans against (Chafee, Collins, Snow, Warner), and six Democrats for (Breaux, Landrieu, Lincoln, Miller, Nelson, Pryor).
I consider it failed leadership. I’m convinced, although without much citable evidence, that Holmes was confirmed pretty much on party lines (that is, senators voted with their party, rather than on the merits of the appointee). There are too many people like Holmes in positions of great influence, and someone as intolerant as he should not be considered. But politicians are more concerned about politics than what’s right, and so we end up with people like Holmes.
The news article quoted Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) as saying, “We hear so much from the other side about tolerance. Where is the tolerance for people who want to believe what has been taught for 2,000 years?” The problem with this statement is that what has been taught for 2000 years includes substantial lessons in intolerance, and the general regard that if someone doesn’t believe in those teachings, they are either less than human, and should be converted, or that they are evil and should be wiped from the face of the planet. Perhaps the Senator should keep his accusations of intolerance to himself.
It is this view held my many of today’s popular biblical religions that is the root of their evil, and that is the cause of so much suffering today.
The only thing one should not tolerate is intolerance itself.