Somehow the debate over the Bush administration's judicial nominees has degenerated into a debate over religion in government. Actually it degenerated into a debate over the history and appropriateness of the filibuster first and from there it degenerated into a religion fracas. Some Democrats feel that their opposition to the nominees has been taken as an "attack on people of faith". While they might be getting this impression from leaders of the religious right, it is does not seem to be the message from the White House.
Michael Kinsley from the LA Times was impressed by Bush's remarks on the subject in last week's news conference.
Starting with the cliche that in America you can "worship any way you want," Bush plunged gratuitously into a declaration that "if you choose not to worship, you're equally as patriotic as somebody who does worship." How long has it been, in this preacher-spooked nation, since a politician, let alone the president, has spoken out in defense of nonbelievers?
The people who oppose his judgeship nominees aren't prejudiced against religion, he said. They do it because they have a different "judicial philosophy."And Sunday's Kansas City Star had this.
Repeatedly, in recent weeks, top Republicans have tried to signal their Christian conservative allies that religious-based attacks on Democrats and the judiciary are inappropriate. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said this a week ago, on a religious right broadcast. That same day, Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina weighed in, telling Fox News: "I would call on them not to say that Democratic senators are not people of faith, or (suggesting) that they are religious bigots. I don't think that's fair."