Wednesday, February 11, 2009

All the liberties that are afforded to believers

The Capital Times today has an excellent article on candidate for state Supreme Court, Randy Koschnick, courtesy of reporter Steven Elbow. In it, we're given a pretty solid picture of just who this guy is, and how he'll likely rule if elected. Thankfully, incumbent Judge Shirley Abrahamson is quite popular and already thoroughly creaming Koschnick in fundraising, but that doesn't stop me from worrying a little bit. After all, wildly indept Michael Gableman was able to unseat the vastly more qualified Louis Butler in the last round of judicial voting. And as much of an underdog as Koschnick is, his extremely conservative background is enough to give one pause.

Take, for example, this declaration made by his campaign manager, Seamus Flaherty: "I think that people of faith will like a justice who construes the Constitution as written, with all the liberties that are afforded to believers, and doesn't play politics from the bench. So in that sense I wouldn't be surprised if they see a candidate they like in Judge Koschnick." (emphasis mine)

No, Flaherty, the liberties and rights afforded in the Constitution of these United States apply to all citizens, regardless of faith or lack thereof. That's an incredibly important distinction, and if Koschnick's own campaign manager doesn't get it, do you think the candidate himself does?

The article goes on to note Koschnick's connections to several far-right groups that I've already mentioned on this blog (Wisconsin Right to Life, Wisconsin Family Council), and adds that he was, at least for some time, a member of the Promise Keepers. If you're not familiar with the organization, you can get a general idea of them here. Suffice to say that it's a mens group that focuses heavily on Biblical literalism and an extremely patriarchal, controlling attitude toward women and marriage.

We're also informed of Koschnick's membership and active participation in an evangelical church that espouses anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, and anti-evolution views.

Someone looking to take away the rights of his fellow citizens and who willfully ignores hundreds of years of scientific research is not someone I'd want sitting on the bench of the highest court in the state. Koschnick is certainly free to hold those views, of course, but we're also free not to elect him to a position where objective, law-based critical thought and decision making is supposed to reign.

Oh and Flaherty? Try this on for size: It's "all the liberties that are naturally inherent for all human beings." Not just the ones with which you happen to agree.

7 comments:

Scott said...

Emily - Your take on Reagan's Latin America policy is just that - your take and the perspective of true believers like yourself. No offense. I can see how there may have been excesses & untintended consequences (certainly not intended by Reagan if you cared enough to understand the man).

What's unbeleivable is that there were people back then (and now apparrently) who didn't understand the evil (yes evil) of the police states that communisim utilized back in the day. I don't have a romantic, or naive view, of Mr. Reagain, but I'll let every bi-partisan survery of historians speak for itself - Reagan is in the top 10 OF EVERY SINGLE ONE! AND THAT'S A FACT! Sorry.
It just amazes me that certain people cling to a romantic view of communism, in spite of the facts.

Emily said...

What amazes me is that you published this same comment twice, the second time on the incorrect corresponding post.

Read my response to you on the last one. I don't feel the need to repeat myself.

M Big Mistake said...

So...am I missing something? Wasn't our country...in theory...founded on religious freedom? And isn't there, in theory, a separation between church and state? What's this "only the believers" crap?

How can someone keep a straight face and say they are against activist judges and use a phrase like "believers"? That's so weird.

apc said...

Just to see if it was true that Reagan was in the top 10 of EVERY SINGLE ONE, I googled "top 10 presidents". The second listing on the page didn't include Reagan. In all fairness, he's certainly on most of them, but certainly not EVERY SINGLE ONE. And Scott, if a regime is murdering its own citizens by the thousands, how does it make any difference if it's communist (Stalin's USSR) or a right-wing dictator propped up by a right-wing president (Somoza's Nicaragua)? A police state is a police state, regardless of the ideology backing it.

Believe me, I hold no romantic view of communism; I'm old enough to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis and the constant terror of living under the threat of nuclear annihilation.

zeus said...

So pro life equals far right?

Interesting opinion.

Anon said...

"We're also informed of Koschnick's membership and active participation in an evangelical church that espouses anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, and anti-evolution views."

Come on Emily, you sound like a bigot against people who belong to Evangelical Churches in this sentence. I'm not religious but I "espouse" to two out of the three views you listed and I am far from being far right. :)

What's your beef with people who don't believe in evolution? Now I'm curious if you also have issues with Sciencetologist ?

BTW, President Obama espouses anti-gay rights views.

Emily said...

zues - Apologies, allow me to clarify: I don't consider someone being pro-life/anti-abortion to be automatically "far right." You're correct, that's an unfair assumption. The issue itself isn't really a political one so much as a personal one - so that's why I consider groups like WRTL and WFC to be far-right. Their political activities pretty much always align with a far more conservative agenda and candidates.

Anon - What's your beef with people who don't believe in evolution? Now I'm curious if you also have issues with Sciencetologist ?

BTW, President Obama espouses anti-gay rights views.


I don't have a personal beef with people who choose not to believe in evolution. It's when they try to get religious stories about the origin of the world taught in public schools and other such institutions that I take umbrage. Evolution and the associated science have been tested, vetted, and had mountains of evidence found in its favor over many many years. And the vast majority of arguments made against it are based in falsehoods and outright misunderstandings of that science.

Personally? I believe in a god, and for me, that doesn't at all run at odds to what science has found to be true about the world, the evolution of species, and the make-up of the universe. To me, both actually strengthen one another. But my ideas about God don't matter when it comes to public instruction and the science on which we base our governmental programs.

Scientology is a whole other issue. Again, I have no personal beef with those who choose to follow its tenets. I do have a problem when any belief system or organization makes its followers pay for every step of "growth," encourages that they cut out everyone who disagrees with them from their life, attempts to bully people into not seeking good medical treatment for their mental illnesses, and litigates the hell out of any bit of opinion or record that casts doubts on the practice.

And last but not least, Obama. His stance on gay marriage has been nebulous at best, and that's certainly an area that needs work. It's hard to say whether that's a political or personal stance, though. Otherwise, I would hardly call his stance "anti-gay rights."

During his tenure in the IL senate, he sponsored legislation that would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Obama also agrees that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" should be repealed. He has stated that he will work to pass the Matthew Shepherd Act (strengthening hate crimes legislation). Supports gay adoption. And it goes on and on - in fact, the only area where he seems middle-of-the-road is marriage, and that's something that will take work. But your assertion that he "espouses anti-gay rights views" strikes me as being rather far off base.

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