I saw this article in the Washington Post yesterday about the trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed at Guantanamo Bay in which he attempted to find out if the judges were fans of Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson because he felt that, if they were, he could not get a fair trial:
Invoking names such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Buchanan, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the admitted organizer of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, probed the private opinions of the military judge who is overseeing his case Tuesday in a series of sometimes testy exchanges during a hearing on the judge’s impartiality.
Mohammed, wearing a black turban, began by asking Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann about his religious beliefs and whether he had any association with the religious organizations of Pat Robertson or the late Jerry Falwell.
“If you are in one of those denominations, you are not going to be fair,” said Mohammed, who switched between Arabic and English when he spoke to the judge. The judge said he had not belonged to any congregation for some time but had attended Lutheran and Episcopal churches.
I didn’t write about it because I felt it was crass to try and score political points off the ramblings of a man responsible for thousands of American deaths … but then again, I don’t work for the Family Research Council:
What was most offensive was the subject matter of this interrogation-namely, the judge’s personal religious views. “We are well-known as extremists and fanatics, and there are also Christians and Jews that are very extremist,” Mohammed said. “If you, for example, were part of Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson’s groups, then you would not at all be impartial towards us.” He also asked if the judge read books by Billy Graham or Pat Buchanan and wanted to know what movies he has watched. Col. Kohlmann rightly declined to answer. But this line of questioning seemed to ring a bell. It is reminiscent of the questioning, now abandoned, of judicial nominees about their religious beliefs by liberal senators during their confirmation hearings. But the Constitution is clear-“no religious test shall ever be required” for public office. The charge that only a radical secularist can be impartial on the bench, or that conservatives and evangelical Christians can never be, must be rejected from any source.