Patterico's Pontifications

5/30/2010

Christian Judges

Filed under: Judiciary,Religion — DRJ @ 12:45 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The LA Times AP reports on four San Diego lawyers who are running for Superior Court judgeships based on a Christian platform:

“A group of conservative attorneys say they are on a mission from God to unseat four California judges in a rare challenge that is turning a traditionally snooze-button election into what both sides call a battle for the integrity of U.S. courts.

Vowing to be God’s ambassadors on the bench, the four San Diego Superior Court candidates are backed by pastors, gun enthusiasts, and opponents of abortion and same-sex marriages.

“We believe our country is under assault and needs Christian values,” said Craig Candelore, a family law attorney who is one of the group’s candidates. “Unfortunately, God has called upon us to do this only with the judiciary.”

The challenge is unheard of in California, one of 33 states to directly elect judges. Critics say the campaign is aimed at packing the courts with judges who adhere to the religious right’s moral agenda and threatens both the impartiality of the court system and the separation of church and state.”

Elected officials often espouse support for Christian or religious values but I don’t recall any judicial candidates who embraced Christianity as part of their judicial philosophy.

What do you think?

– DRJ

36 Responses to “Christian Judges”

  1. they are potentially just as dangerous as a muslim candidate who announced they would use “sharia” as a basis for his decision making on the bench….

    of course, given “taquiya”, the mulsim would likely never mention their religion, nor the intent to use sharia until after they were safely in office.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  2. IMO, there’s some context missing in the post (observation, not criticism).

    Apparently gay marriage advocates have been increasingly active in judicial elections in California. The “Christian slate” could reasonably be portrayed as responding to that political activity by groups whose agenda they oppose.

    The bigger issue is the extent to which our ability to govern ourselves is reduced when judges usurp the role and responsibility of elected officials (yes, I realize we’re talking about elected judges in this instance).

    BD57 (3c337a)

  3. What do you think?

    I think people who live by Christian values don’t really need to run on Christian values as a platform. Their record speaks for them. There is more to come out about these candidates, I’m sure. I want to know their legal values.

    And what the heck does “Unfortunately, God has called upon us to do this only with the judiciary” mean anyway?

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  4. I can’t decide if that’s ooky or gack

    happyfeet (c8caab)

  5. It depends on whether they mean they’ll use their Christian beliefs as a reason to advocate from the bench or not. If that’s the case, then it disturbs me. On the other hand, they may just mean that they will use their medium appropriately and not advocate from the bench, because that’s the Christian way.

    I’m a Christian and a philosophy student, and I’ve often thought that it would be unethical for me as a teacher to use the classroom as a pulpit. To do so would be to be in the classroom under false pretences. (Of course, God is one of the perennial topics of philosophy, so I couldn’t avoid it on some level. But I’d tell my students that I’m a Christian, and to take that into account.) In the same way, I think these judges could mean that they won’t advocate from the bench, because they’re Christians and believe God would hold them accountable for it. But that’s just based on this blogpost, I didn’t read the story.

    Jim S. (5ad3ac)

  6. It might be nice to return to personal philosophies that guided the country during its’ formative years; the alternative doesn’t seem to be working so well lately.

    AD - RtR/OS! (eb9ccb)

  7. Where can I vote for them ?

    MIke K (67e8ce)

  8. I’m not sure I agree with their alleged platform, but after the past heinous court decisions in CA I can understand why this may actually work.

    Dmac (3d61d9)

  9. This could cut two ways here. If they’re making a statement that Judeo-Christian values are part and parcel of our legal system, then I might be OK. Then again, are we talking about Fred Phelps’ values? Father Pfleger’s values? Jim Wallis’ values? All these folks profess (at least publicly) to be Christian. Ain’t none of them I would have much truck for.

    either orr (7cffdd)

  10. either orr, I was thinking something along the same lines: Rev. Jeremiah Wright claims to be a Christian standing on Christian principles too.

    This is troubling on a number of levels but I thought article didn’t address enough specifics of exactly how this would play out on the bench.

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  11. I am not religious or even “spiritual” and have made Pascals bet.Every day i am grateful to christians for the civility and respect that they have imbued on our culture.The liberal agenda of abortion and homosexuality makes our country a worse place to live in IMO.They have declared war on christians and demand that they do no more than turn the other cheek or they will brand them hypocrits.

    clyde (eb1314)

  12. I’d rather have Christian based judges than socialist statist anti american activist judges who impose their leftwing ideology on Americans. There are so few of the former that there is no way that this would tilt the balance towards normalcy, but it is a first step.

    eaglewingz08 (326e65)

  13. Will they base their decisions on (a) the law, (b) the Bible, or (c) both. If the answer is anything other than (a), then they would be activist judges.

    aunursa (937b19)

  14. Being that I am both Jewish and homosexual, I would not exactly feel warm and fuzzy appearing before any of these people.

    Not that I state either openly, but such things are, I am sure, in one or another database and easily accessed by government.

    the wise old bruin (89a303)

  15. As Dana and either orr mention above with good examples, these days being a “Christian” seems to mean about anything one wants it to be.

    To some degree it seems inappropriate for people to run on a platform for judge, but since they do, I guess anyone can run on whatever they want.

    From my perspective, the essence of a “Christian” judge is one who would be impartial, neither favoring the rich or poor, for Scripture condemns both. He/she would defend property rights, individual responsibility, and not allow the powerful to bully or buy “justice” as possible.

    I expect, given the over-all status of things in California, that part of what is meant by “Christian” judge does include supporting the traditional view of marriage.

    As far as the meaning of, “Unfortunately, God has called upon us to do this only with the judiciary”, my guess is the fellow is saying he would like to have candidates for all branches of government, but in response to their praying for guidance, their personal conviction is that their activities are to be limited to the judiciary.

    Comment by Jim S. – I’ve often thought that it would be unethical for me as a teacher to use the classroom as a pulpit. To do so would be to be in the classroom under false pretences. (Of course, God is one of the perennial topics of philosophy, so I couldn’t avoid it on some level. But I’d tell my students that I’m a Christian, and to take that into account.)
    I’ve known Christian professors who “outed themselves” “on their own time”, i.e., before the bell rings to give opportunities for students to interact about their faith in non-class time. I knew a Christian Philosphy Prof. at the Univ. of Wisconsin who refrained from discussing his own beliefs- but in my opinion he was the way a philosophy of religion prof ought to be- he took each religious tradition seriously and with respect, he did not force a Western Enlightenment egalatarianism onto religious traditions that wouldn’t want it.

    It is common for non-Christians to use the classroom as a pulpit all of the time, but that doesn’t make it right. (Actually had a bio prof make the following statement in class, “If God created the earth and the animals on it, why did He put only finches on the Galapagos Islands?”. The three of us sitting together all rolled our eyes at that, even though at the time none of us were of any serious religious convictions.)

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  16. Fundamentalists – of ANY stripe – are dangerous.

    JEA (e12133)

  17. “Fundamentalists – of ANY stripe – are dangerous.”

    JEA – Fundamentalist progressives especially!

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  18. “I’d rather have Christian based judges than socialist statist anti american activist judges who impose their leftwing ideology on Americans.”

    eaglewingz08 – Especially if you had to appear in front of a Harvard educated judge who had not taken Constitutional Law, the Constitution being a charter of negative liberties and all.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  19. Associated Press wrote the story, not the LA Times. I am trying to find out more about this group. If what the reporter wrote is accurate and not misleading, I would tend not to support such candidates. But I wouldn’t take the reporter’s unsupported word. Doveryai, no proveryai.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  20. You’re right that this is an AP report, Bradley. Thanks for pointing that out and I’ll note that in the post.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  21. I would usually be skeptical of these folks but considering our judiciary, I might support them. Judges in California tend to be far left extremists who consider abortion a sacrament and lack of diversity a deadly sin. Judges who have to face confirmation at the polls should be challenged just to remind them that the judiciary is not an aristocracy and they do not have a divine right to their seats.

    Ken Hahn (ccc3e8)

  22. wise old bruin, I suggest that all true Christians, not those who falsely profess Christianity (as the above list include), will hold your Jewish heritage highly. The Messiah is Jewish, after all. And most of the Bible is Jewish Holy Scripture. But I can understand your trepidations regarding your sexual preference, since it is a clear violation of the Jewish Holy Scripture contained in the Bible.

    JEA, I am a fundamentalist Christian. “The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible.” And a strict reading of the Bible puts up huge barriers regarding judicial activism.

    Christian Law is, indeed, above any governmental law. But federal law is above state law and state law is above municipal ordinance. And any first-level state judge who takes it upon him- or herself to throw out state law in a case should be disrobed. It is not up to the first-level judge to determine whether a law is constitutional, but rather to determine whether that law has been broken and to set penalties within the parameters of that law.

    I believe it is very much the same as within the military. Your CO gives a legal command you don’t like. You own that command and give it to your subordinates. You don’t just reject it because you don’t like it.

    As I said, I am a Christian. I also accept the moniker of fundamentalist Christian as the descriptive is defined (but not as connotated). As such, I admit my bias. But I also believe it is a true Christian understanding which prevents much society-destroying activism and slippery-slope activities. In my opinion, the best judge is one who holds true to the highest Christian standards, but some of the worst judges are those who falsely claim to be Christian for they do great damage all down the line.

    There is a reason people make false claims of Christianity: There is an implied ultimate moral standard and people who don’t know better will equate that standard with the liar.

    John Hitchcock (9e8ad9)

  23. I have a hunch that perhaps the great, unwashed Christian masses have seen another light:

    Most judges and justices rule on the law, but quite a few — enough to make a difference — rule on secular humanist, liberal beliefs.

    After enduring hard-fought battles at polling places, they see those votes go to naught by judicial fiat. So, if you can’t win at the polls, load up the judiciary. It’s worked for the sec-hum libs, so it could work for the evangelicals.

    I’m not saying I agree with the outcomes of my hunch, but I am saying the left has certainly written a great guidebook on how to get what you want despite the popular will — for good and bad.

    And so it goes.

    Ag80 (7aec3e)

  24. Just another fearmongering article by the intolerant secular progressive left once you start digging into it.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  25. Fundamentalists – of ANY stripe – are dangerous.

    Heh.

    Except those ones that want what’s best for you. And by “what’s best,” I think they mean “shut up.” The “for you” part is sincere.

    Ag80 (7aec3e)

  26. The Superior Court handles criminal and civil cases for a Republican-leaning, pro-military county. I’ve yet to hear examples of its “socialist statist anti american activist judges” imposing “their leftwing ideology on Americans”. This very much sounds like these Christian candidates going for the low-hanging fruit, since they know few voters show up in June and even those who do don’t pay much attention to these non-partisan races.

    Nels (3e56d7)

  27. 13.Will they base their decisions on (a) the law, (b) the Bible, or (c) both. If the answer is anything other than (a), then they would be activist judges.
    Comment by aunursa — 5/30/2010 @ 5:25 pm

    – Is there no place, then, where the law and the Bible cross paths? “You shall not kill” and “You shall not steal” come immediately to mind, but maybe I’m wrong.

    [Gee, there's even something about bearing false witness. Could mean perjury, false reporting, slander, libel . . . ]

    Icy Texan (f1c4ae)

  28. 16.Fundamentalists – of ANY stripe – are dangerous.
    Comment by JEA — 5/30/2010 @ 7:01 pm

    – Who said that they are fundamentalists?

    Icy Texan (f1c4ae)

  29. The header of the L.A. Slimes post (and maybe it is the AP’s choice) is “Gaveling for God: Christian lawyers seek judgeships in move that could blur church-state line”.

    What a SHOCKA to find that nowhere in the article is said ‘blurring’ defined at all.

    Icy Texan (f1c4ae)

  30. The hed is indeed the AP’s choice – Google and you see it elsewhere.

    This from Better Courts Now is troubling, if true.

    San Diego County’s Bar Association has been behaving as anything but a fair and impartial evaluator of judicial candidates. Almost immediately after four candidates – Harold Coleman Jr., Bill Trask, Larry Kincaid, and Craig Candelore- challenged incumbents by filing papers to run for Superior Court judgeships, the Bar’s Certified Family Law Specialists Committee began a flurry of campaign activity in favor of the incumbent judges and against the four challengers. The Committee’s Chair, Stanwood Johnson, began soliciting donations for the incumbent judges and directing Committee members to incumbents’ campaign websites. Additional campaign activity revealed that Mr. Johnson has been fundraising for the four sitting judges. This political activity was initiated even before the qualifications of the challengers were evaluated by the Bar.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  31. “– Is there no place, then, where the law and the Bible cross paths? “You shall not kill” and “You shall not steal” come immediately to mind, but maybe I’m wrong. ”

    If they cross paths, then you’re going by the law.

    pizzathehut (ad9e3d)

  32. Off-Topic:

    When I read a comment section, that’s it for me. I cannot read any new comments because they won’t show up for me. The last comment I can see in this thread is by DRJ at 805pm (number 20 on my list). And the time-frame varies from thread to thread due to which comment section I read and when. But I can still see that new comments are being added and the new articles being added from the home page.

    (not occurring on other blogs)

    Using Firefox 3.5.9

    John Hitchcock (9e8ad9)

  33. okay, about my OT: everything on this thread refreshed so I can see all the comments when I posted my comment.

    John Hitchcock (9e8ad9)

  34. I don’t agree with sitting judges having to face opponents in a re-election. They should just have a “Yes” or “No” on the question of their retention when their original term is about to expire. If they are not retained and the seat becomes vacant, then there should be an election for a new judge.

    nk (db4a41)

  35. @John Hitchcock, #22: …I can understand your trepidations regarding your sexual preference, since it is a clear violation of the Jewish Holy Scripture contained in the Bible.

    For one who uplifts the value of “Just the Bible…” this is not an accurate statement. While there are individual verses condemning specific types of sexual behavior, there is no such condemnation with regards to sexual preference. (You could argue that such a condemnation is implied in Romans 1, but we are talking about the ‘Jewish Holy Scripture’ here.)

    In peace.
    TR

    Tom (d48a86)

  36. I am so tired of the idea that Christians have to leave their Christianity at the doors of their churches on the way out. Liberals have their own religion, Gaia or humanism, which has killed millions and millions of people across the planet over the last 200 years. Don’t Christians have the same right to influence government as non-christians have? It is so ridiculous that it belies consideration.

    TimothyJ (8fb937)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.3576 secs.