Senator Joni Ernst Won’t Denounce Faith-Based Discrimination, in Response to Atheist Questioner

If you thought we’d seen the last of Justin Scott just because the Iowa caucuses were over, you were wrong. He’s still representing atheists, asking tough questions of politicians whenever the opportunity arises.

He asked Iowa Senator Joni Ernst yesterday about whether an atheist should be appointed to the Supreme Court and laws allowing people to discriminate due to their faith:

ErnstIowa

While she responded (fairly, I thought) that she didn’t want to impose any sort of religious litmus test for Supreme Court nominees in order to diversify the Catholic/Jewish bloc currently on the Court, her answer to the very idea of religious discrimination laws left a lot to be desired.

I think you vote for the person who is best qualified to serve the public. So, bottom line, we are representing the views of the people that elect us. And hopefully, people understand what our views are when we’re being elected, and we answer those questions through the campaign trail. So whether, again, it is not a religious litmus test for elected leaders. People will go vote for who they think will represent them best.

… what?

She completely dodged the substance of the question, suggesting that discrimination was okay if the base wanted it.

Just to clarify that point, Justin followed up with the obvious question: If the voters preferred discrimination, should legislators be okay with it?

Ernst’s answer:

We still have to follow the Constitution… if you’re following the Constitution, then that should make what you’re standing up for right.

That… also doesn’t answer the question. The Constitution, as we all know, can be twisted to “defend” all sorts of beliefs, whether you’re opposing discrimination or you’re supporting Kim Davis.

The exchange was unsatisfying. But, as always, I appreciate Justin’s willingness to confront his elected officials about their views on religion-related issues.

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.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X