Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) directly violated the First Amendment rights of Justice Department nominee Hampton Dellinger during a hearing by asking him if he believes in God.

It is generally frowned upon to interrogate any nominee about their religion unless the said nominee has admitted that their religious beliefs inform their policy decisions. This is not the case with Dellinger, who is up for the top post in the DOJ’s Office of Legal Policy.

But Kennedy, a radical anti-abortion conservative, dragged Dellinger into the GOP’s culture war by demanding to know his religious beliefs.

“Do you believe in God?” Kennedy asked. “Did it even occur to you that some people may base their position on abortion on their faith?”

Dellinger provided a diplomatic answer.

“I sincerely appreciate that people have a different position on abortion than I do,” Dellinger replied. “I recognize the difference between someone saying something inartfully as a private citizen and working as a lawyer, and I think I’ve got a 30-year track record of being open-minded.”

Here’s the video of the exchange via Twitter:

The question is not only a violation of Dellinger’s First Amendment rights since it shouldn’t matter if he believes in God or not, but it’s also rank hypocrisy because Republicans have previously objected to questioning nominees about abortion policy by claiming that it amounts to religious bigotry, as Slate writer Mark Joseph Stern pointed out.

It’s a ridiculous double standard. Democrats had every right to ask Coney Barrett about a past Supreme Court ruling. In fact, they had the right to ask her directly about her religious beliefs and how they would influence her decisions on the court since she has admitted that her beliefs play a role in her decisions. But Republicans shut them down because they know full well that Coney Barrett is not going to base rulings on precedent or the Constitution. She’ll rule based on what some crackpot religious leader tells her, and that’s not how our country should be making policy.

Religion should be private and remain private. It should have no bearing on judicial, legislative, or executive proceedings. Our system of government is secular and has been that way since the Constitution went into effect.

Republicans continue to demonstrate that they want a religious takeover of the government and that they will persecute anyone who doesn’t conform to their extremist religious and political views. That’s another reason why Republicans should lose big in 2022.

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