Saturday, May 22, 2010

Religious Demographics, the Supreme Court, and the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Supreme Hypocrisy

     Do Murphy's "principled positions" include those he learned while he was Cardinal Law's second in command during the days he covered up child rape and sexual abuse by priests in Boston?  Murphy is one of the many bishops, who has neither resigned nor faced criminal trial for his leadership in the sexual abuse scandal.  Instead, he continues as bishop of 1.5 million Catholics in one of the nations largest dioceses.  I wonder what he thinks of the the rectory that was transformed into an erotic dungeon for raping children by a publicly principled Brazilian priest who is currently running from the law.

     In a nation where only 23.9% of the population is Catholic, the Supreme Court currently has six Catholic justices, that's 66.7%.  Five of those, John Roberts, Anthony M. Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito are the conservative majority that control the Court.  Sonia Sotomayor is the sixth Catholic vote.  Her ideology has yet to be tested.

     The Catholic Church has the votes to control the Supreme Court of the United States for years to come (which brings up the point that Roe v. Wade is more politically useful to them if not overturned, otherwise they would have done it already), but they are afraid of Elena Kagan, who is Jewish, which leads to another point.

     There are currently two Jewish Supreme Court Justices (Stephen G. Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg).  Jewish Judges make up 22% of the Supreme Court, whereas Jews make up 1.7% of the U.S. population.  That leaves retiring Justice David H. Souter, who is Episcopalian.  Episcopalians/Anglicans make up 1.4% of the total U.S. population.

     Catholics are overrepresented on the Supreme Court by 42.8%.  Jews are overrepresented by 20.3%, which will rise to 31.6% if Kagan is confirmed.  For Catholics or Jews to bitch about who is on the Supreme Court is complete hypocrisy.  Their religious views are well represented.

     When it comes to religious affiliation there are plenty of groups that go unrepresented in the Supreme Court.  Those who practice no religion make up 16.1% of the U.S. population, but non-religious folks are discriminated against in politics today.  Those who admit to being actual atheists, like me, make up 1.6% of the population, virtually the same as the Jewish population, where are our three Supreme Court Justices?

     Evangelical Protestants make up 26.3% of the U.S. population, which is 2.4% more than the Catholics.  That difference becomes 9.3%, when the 6.9% Historically Black Churches are added to the mix.

     Mainline Protestants make up 18.1% of the population, which is over ten times the size of the Jewish population.

     Did you know that there are more Buddhists (0.7%) than there are Muslims (0.6%) in the U.S.?  Or that Mormons only make up 1.7% of the total population, while controlling civil rights legislation in California?

     Should religious affiliation play a role in who gets nominated to the Supreme Court?  That is a discussion for another post, but imagine what would happen if a president nominated an Iranian Muslim from Beverly Hills, or an African-American Lesbian Buddhist, a male-to-female trans-gendered agnostic Korean, or better yet, six of any of these? 

     The point I'm making today is that our Supreme Court is dominated by Catholics, who have no room to bitch about any ruling coming from their Supreme Court, because it is certainly not a Court that represents the diversity of the nation.

     (Statistical information and the charts used in this post are from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and have a ±0.6% margin of error.)

Tell Exxon Mobil to Reenact Mobil's LGBT Employee Protections

Mobil used to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees, and they extended benefits to domestic partners. When they merged with Exxon in the 90s, they stripped all those protections and benefits and told us to go pass a federal law.

I just took action with GetEQUAL to demand ExxonMobil add sexual orientation and gender identity to their nondiscrimination policy. They'll deliver the signatures in person at a shareholder meeting in Dallas on May 26. Take action with me here: