Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Judicial Nominee Deemed "Unacceptable" to Women

That's what Sen. Dianne Feinstein said regarding J. Leon Holmes, a candidate for a federal judgeship.

Even some female Republican senators, like Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, denounced Holmes, saying he does not have a "fundamental commitment to the equality of women in our society."

Why is Holmes such a threat to women? Does he have a track record of unfair rulings about women from the bench? Apparently not. Is he a wife-beater or sexual harasser? Nope.

The problem is that he and his wife actually try to take seriously the Christian teaching about marriage, as expressed by the New Testament and Tradition. They wrote an article together in a Catholic publication in 1997, in which they discussed what it means when St. Paul says that "wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord..." (Eph. 5:21-27). Wonder of wonders, the Holmes' actually try to take St. Paul seriously. That's enough to disqualify Holmes in their book.

Now, the Holmes' article isn't available on-line, but anyone who has given the matter more than cursory study knows that St. Paul didn't intend, nor has the Church ever taken him to mean, that women should be treated as second-class citizens in the Church, as though they should be barefoot-and-pregnant. But why go into all those inconvenient details when you can seize on the word "subordinate" and use it as a club?

J. Leon Holmes' problem, it seems to me, is that he does not bow before the idol of gender feminism. That makes him a threat. Furthermore, I think it is no accident that the senators mentioned in the article are all pro-choice (though Hutchinson and Murkowski are less ideologically committed than Feinstein or Collins). Perhaps they suspect that Holmes, as a serious Catholic, is also pro-life? They couldn't pin that on him though, for lack of a public track record. So instead they use this rather thin reed to flog him. "Watch out", they're saying, "we know what kind of guy he really is." Wink, wink, nudge nudge.

Thank God a majority of the Senate didn't buy this nonsense, and voted (barely) to confirm him. Or he may have been another victim of "Serious Catholics Need Not Apply".