State liberals implement religious test for public office

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday.

There is a dangerous strain of anti-Christian bigotry emanating from the political left in our nation. It has been growing for years, but it has finally festered to the point that, for too many on the left, a person is unfit for public office if they simply and faithfully live their lives according to their Christian faith. That bigotry is rearing its vile head right here in Wisconsin with the left’s most recent attack on Judge Brian Hagedorn.

Judge Brian Hagedorn serves on the District 2 Court of Appeals and is running for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He has an exemplary record of legal, judicial, and community service. He is also a lifelong Christian who has actively lived his faith.

One way in which he and his wife chose to serve their community was to help found a small school called The Augustine Academy. The school teaches kindergarten through eighth grade and is founded on a model that teaches the whole child — intellectually, spiritually, and morally — to “thoughtfully engage the world.” It is an education rooted in the Christen Gospels.

The matter that liberals have taken issue with is the fact that this Christian school actually expects the students and staff to live according to their Christian teachings and to not live in sin. One of those teachings is that engaging in homosexual acts is a sin.

This is not an uncommon teaching. Many Christian denominations teach that homosexuality and/or homosexual acts are a sin. Catholics, Lutherans, many Evangelicals, Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mormons, most Assemblies of God, etc. all adhere to this teaching. So too do Muslims, Orthodox Jews, and some other faiths. Most Christian faiths also teach that we are all sinners and that God loves us all despite that fact.

Whether one agrees with this teaching or not is not the issue. Our nation was founded on the principles of religious liberty and the freedom to associate, or not associate, with whomever one pleases. It has long been the modern American ethos that one can practice their faith and still serve in public office.

Article VI of the U.S. Constitution explicitly states that, “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” This includes requiring that people who serve in public office do not have any religion at all.

The radical left is trying to destroy our religious liberty by implementing an anti-Christian religious test for public office. A candidate fails their religious test and is declared “unfit to serve” if the candidate is a practicing Christian. Their religious test is unconstitutional, un-American, immoral, and undermines representative government.

In the case of Judge Hagedorn, liberals have declared that because he helped found a Christian school that teaches something they disagree with, he is unfit to serve as a Supreme Court Judge. Take note that they are not saying that they disagree with his personal views or that the other candidate is better. They have said that he is “unfit.” Also take note that they are not pointing to a single decision as an Appeals Court judge, an assistant attorney general, or as a private lawyer that makes him “unfit.” According to them, the mere fact that Hagedorn is a practicing Christian is enough to make him “unfit” to serve the people of Wisconsin.

If we accept the liberals’ standard that practicing Christians are unfit to serve in public office, then we abandon the tenets of religious liberty upon which our republic was founded. Christians should not have to subserve their Christian values to the rigid, bigoted liberal secular orthodoxy in order to be considered “fit” to serve.

Judge Hagedorn is a smart, fair judge who sincerely adheres to his Christian faith. He is precisely the kind of judge Wisconsinites need on the Supreme Court.