A candidate judge in South Africa was being grilled by the Judicial Service Commission.
The judge, Senior Counsel Torquil Paterson, made this comment regarding why he left the priesthood to work in law:
“I left the church for a variety of reasons, chief among them being that I realised God does not exist. I am an atheist.”
Paterson, whose lengthy theological studies included a stint at Oxford University, explained that he had eventually come to the conclusion that “all language of God is meaningless”.
Justice Minister Jeff Radebe was left perplexed and asked: “So what you read in the Bible about the beginning does not exist? You do not believe that we were created in the image of God?”
“Minister, you may believe that, I don’t,” Paterson replied.
Radebe insisted, to rare laughter at the JSC’s interviews of aspirant judges: “If God does not exist, are you a materialist, a communist, a Marxist?”
Paterson denied he was any of those, adding: “It is a quite difficult to find a real Marxist.”
Can you imagine if Sonia Sotomayor said that during her confirmation hearings? Even as an “accident” like she supported church/state separation because as a non-religious woman, she felt excluded when government promoted faith?
I’m thinking there would’ve been a public outcry. We’d be hearing about it non-stop. Republicans would have gained enough support to find the votes to block her.
Anyone think otherwise?
Anyone else amazed that the judge’s comment in South Africa almost seems like an afterthought?