Mind the Triumphalism re: #ACB

Mind the Triumphalism re: #ACB October 27, 2020

Suggested Bible verse for conservatives who are raucously celebrating the confirmation Amy Coney Barrett: Proverbs 16:18.

I say this as someone who has zero reservations about ACB’s appointment to the Supreme Court.  I recognize that the Republicans who made excuses in 2016 rather than just saying, “We have the ability to block Obama’s nominations, and we do not like them, and therefore we will exercise our power to provide a check on the executive branch,” were foolishly, shamefully dishonest. Still, there is nothing illegitimate about the Senate confirming a judge, even in a politically charged situation.  When is it not politically charged?

Awkward selfie of me wearing my "The Dogma Lives Loudly Within Me T-Shirt"
One of those days when capturing the mood is both easier and harder than I’d like.

I say this also as someone who literally owns the t-shirt. Why do I happily wear my “The Dogma Lives Loudly Within Me” gear? Not because I think Amy Coney Barrett is a hero above all reproach.  I barely know her.  I wear it because I think that religious believers are capable of leading a pluralistic society with fairness and justice.  I think observant Jews, devout Muslims, practicing Catholics, ardent Evangelicals, and pagans, atheists, and “nones” of all stripes can indeed both be faithful to their religious beliefs and carry out their responsibilities in public life in a manner that respects the rights of all Americans.

I’m hopeful that Justice Barrett will live up to that standard.  My extremely limited knowledge of her legacy as a judge and as a legal scholar suggests the same.  I have no reason to believe she is any worse a pick for Supreme Court than any other person on offer. And it’s hard not to like seeing a Catholic lotsa-mom succeeding in such a grand manner.

Still: Consider toning it down.

#ACB is a human being.  She has strengths and weaknesses, faults and virtues.  Don’t get so wound up in making her your hero that you put her on an impossible pedestal.  Lord willing, her legal opinions will be exemplary and she’ll flourish in this new stage of her life. But she’s also an ordinary mortal, and some of the flag-waving I saw last night and this morning borders on idol worship.  Much of it was openly rude to our honest opponents on the left.

Don’t go there.

Enjoy a political victory, sure.  But the same haughty attitude from the ruling elite of the woke-left that pushes people into voting for your Republican candidates? That haughtiness from conservatives is what causes people to vote for lousy Democrats because they feel they have no other choice.

Triumphalism isn’t just bad Christianity.  It’s bad politics, too.


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