Standard Operating Procedure

As we have noted repeatedly over the last several years, the Right has developed various means to defend controversial Bush administration nominations against those who raise concerns about a nominee’s views by accusing anyone who might voice such concerns of being in some way a bigot. 

As we noted recently, the Right has routinely accused those who opposed nominees such as Miguel Estrada, Priscilla Owen, and Janice Rogers Brown of being, respectively, anti-Latino, anti-woman, and straight out racist. 

Perhaps the most common accusation is that those who raise concerns about a nominee’s views are motivated by anti-religious bias, which is a charge they’ve thrown around multiple times, most notably regarding opposition to William Pryor and John Roberts.  

And they are at it again, this time in defending Dr. James Holsinger, President Bush’s nominee for surgeon general, who has exhibited an open hostility to homosexuals.

Paul Weyrich levels the accusation:

In spite of his qualifications, radical homosexual activists are intent on defeating his nomination, in blatant violation of Article VI of the Constitution, because of his religious beliefs

So does Al Mohler:

In other words, Dr. Holsinger’s opponents are not directing their attention to his medical experience or qualifications, but to his beliefs and responsibilities as a Christian and a member of the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church.

The nomination of Dr. James Holsinger promises now to be a defining moment in American history. Will it now be necessary for a nominee to deny the teachings of his or her own church in order to be confirmed by the United States Senate?

It seems that, for the Right, any criticism of a nominee is out-of-line if the views for which the nominee is being criticized are, in some way, rooted in his or her religious faith, thereby allowing them to ignore the issue at hand, which is the nominee’s actual writings and record. 

But for some reason, the Right seems to have a different standard for Democrats and feels free to openly disparage not only their views, but their respective faiths directly.  

For example, not too long ago, the National Clergy Council openly declared that “[Sen. Barack] Obama’s Christianity woefully deficient.” 

Or what about Don Feder’s recent broadside:

Democrats are to traditional religion what Islam is to tolerance.

It’s not that Democrats aren’t religious – rather that they practice a religion alien to both Christianity and Judaism.

Its doctrine includes support for abortion on demand, hate crimes legislation, the Kyoto Treaty, driver’s licenses for illegal aliens, multiculturalism and a socialism of property and values.

Its priesthood is feminists, environmentalists, gay-activists and radical secularists, presided over by its college of cardinals –Rosie O’Donnell, Bill Maher, Barbra Streisand and Al Franken.

It calls for atonement for the sins of sexism, homophobia, the religious right, the gun lobby, pharmaceutical companies, big oil, Guantanamo, Halliburton and trans-fatty acids.

Its vision of Kingdom Come looks a lot like San Francisco on a Saturday night.

Or what about Paul Weyrich himself, who once attacked John Kerry, Tom Harkin and Dick Durbin for being “nothing but hypocrites” who were” trying to take advantage of their Catholic faith when its suits their purposes on the campaign trail, but shirking the obligations that really come with that faith” and called on the media to differentiate between “politicians [who] have taken stands in accordance with their faith and are therefore ‘observant,’ true Catholics and which ones are non-observant, only claiming to be Catholic.”

Apparently, for the Right, opposing a Bush nominee is proof of blatant religious bigotry, whereas directly denigrating the faith of Democrats is perfectly acceptable.