Senate Panel Should Reject Federal Court Nominee Honaker, Says Americans United
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Church-State Watchdog Group Says Wyoming Lawyer Holds Extreme Views On Religion And Government
Americans United for Separation of Church and State has urged the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to reject a federal court nominee who holds extreme views on religious liberty in America.
On Feb. 12, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider the nomination of Richard H. Honaker to the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming. The Rock Springs, Wyo., attorney promotes the idea that the U.S. Constitution creates a Christian nation and that government need not remain neutral on religion.
“Honaker’s views on religion and government are extreme,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. “He is unfit to serve as a federal judge, and the Senate Judiciary Committee should scuttle the nomination.”
In a letter to committee members
, Lynn noted that at a 2005 Homeschoolers of Wyoming Convention, Honaker said, “[i]f taught accurately, history can teach us that the greatest American patriots and leaders were Christians, and that there is indeed a Christian basis for American institutions of law, government, and business.”
In the same address, Honaker also attacked the Supreme Court because it “no longer talks about America as a Christian nation or about the Christian underpinnings of the law.”
Lynn said that those and many other statements not only reveal that Honaker’s legal interpretation “is out of touch with current Supreme Court precedent, such statements imply that he will not look to the United States Constitution and federal statutes to resolve cases but instead will look to his understanding of God’s law. Moreover, his comments indicate that he would like to re-shape American legal jurisprudence so that it can return to its ‘Christian base.’”
Honaker, a loud opponent of reproductive rights, was nominated to the federal bench by President George W. Bush last spring.
Lynn’s letter argued that Honaker has also shown a striking callousness to minority faiths. The Wyoming lawyer has suggested that democracy and freedom prosper only because of Christianity and that other faiths pose a danger to such freedom.
“A judge with such an opinion of minority faiths is unlikely to be able to fairly and objectively adjudicate issues affecting their freedoms and rights,” wrote Lynn.
Lynn’s letter calls on the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject Honaker’s nomination based on his skewed take on religious liberty and his abrasive view of non-Christian faiths.
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C.