Is Justice Sonia Sotomayor an Atheist?

Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor has been giving a lot of interviews in anticipation of her soon-to-be-released autobiography My Beloved World.

This article from USA Today contained an interesting passage:

Just 8 when she was diagnosed with diabetes and 9 when her father died, Sotomayor displayed a youthful determination and insatiable thirst for knowledge that she hopes to pass on to others facing similar hurdles. She quotes from page 178, where she describes learning from her first role model: “Someone like me can do this.”

It’s a message she wants to pass on — that role models aren’t perfect.

“When you’re feeling really down and out, those idealized creatures are like gods, OK? They’re not real,” she says. “And what I wanted to provide people with — people who face challenges similar to my own — is an actual, living example of a person just like that.”

Maybe it’s a slip of the tongue and she said something she didn’t mean to say publicly… or perhaps she only meant it as a metaphor. But her Roman Catholicism has been called into question by both her supporters and critics a number of times. When Sotomayor’s selection was being debated a few years ago, even the White House gave a pretty tepid response to the question of her faith:

“Judge Sotomayor was raised as a Catholic and attends church for family celebrations and other important events.”

… which is pretty much what anyone would say and do to win some goodwill from the American people while doing as little as possible to be in the good graces of the Church.

Keep in mind she’s divorced, doesn’t have kids, and has panned out as a “reliable liberal vote” on the court… In other words, the Pope isn’t her biggest fan.

It’s entirely possible that she’s culturally Catholic without being a very devout one.

Not that her religious beliefs are our business, per se, but it’s one of those issues a reporter might want to (delicately) press her about, given the chance to do so. It’d no doubt give us fascinating insight into her life.

(Thanks to GodVlogger for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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