The great French Renaissance thinker Michel Eyguem De Montaigne said, "There are few men who would dare make known to the public the prayers they make to God." Although Montaigne lived almost 500 years ago, his words still hold true today. The sad truth is that most of our prayers are as shallow as the British royal family gene pool. However, most people have the good sense to keep their mouths shut about it. Unfortunately, Pat Robertson is not one of those people.
On July 17th, Pat Robertson issued a 21-day "prayer offensive" against the Supreme Court. Robertson thinks it’s time for several of the justices to retire and he’s asking for God’s help in this matter.
So what has Pat asking for divine resignation letters? The Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Lawrence v. Texas. In this case, the high court overturned the conviction of a Texas man for the "crime" of having sex with his male lover. The court ruled that the Texas law was unconstitutional as it violated Lawrence’s right to privacy to engage in consensual, private sex.
Needless to say, this ruling didn’t sit well with Pat Robertson. Therefore, within days of the ruling, Robertson announced his prayer campaign against the members of the court.
Robertson claims that for the last 40 years, the Supreme Court has taken liberties in interpreting the Constitution. And while this may be true, Robertson’s prayer jihad is silly nonetheless.
For one, is Robertson really asking the Lord to make the justices "an offer they can’t refuse"? I thought He was our Heavenly Father, not the Godfather.
Second, doesn’t God have better things to do than play HR Director of the Supreme Court? If we are going to pray for divine intervention, then shouldn’t we pray about those things over which we have no control, such as floods, earthquakes and our children?
Third, even if Robertson’s prayers are answered, his problem still won’t be solved. The ruling in the Lawrence case was 6-3. Therefore, in order for the new court to reverse this ruling, two of the justices in the majority must retire and be replaced by two justices who would vote to overturn the decision.
This may be difficult; even for Him. Even if two liberal justices decide to retire during a Republican administration, Bush must replace them with conservative justices. This won’t be as easy as it seems.
Republican presidents haven’t had great luck in packing the Supreme Court with conservative judges. In fact, two of the four ultraliberal justices on the current court were appointed by Republicans. Gerald Ford appointed Justice Stevens and Bush I appointed Justice Souter.
In addition, even if Bush picks the "right" justice, his choice must be confirmed by the Senate. And recently, Democrats have begun filibustering Bush’s nominees for the lower courts just for practice. Therefore, it seems that Robertson will need to expand his prayer request to include the retirement of all Democrats in the Senate as well.
Finally, even if God changes the composition of the Supreme Court and Congress, this won’t prevent people from engaging in gay sex. It will simply allow states to imprison them for doing so. This would not only be mean-spirited but also counterproductive. If the goal is to prevent sodomy, then the solution is not to throw people in jail, where sodomy is prevalent. This would be like locking a fat person in a bakery to cure their weight problem.
The bottom line is that Pat Robertson’s prayer offensive is just that–offensive. It’s offensive to people who "naively" believe that Americans should not be thrown in jail for being different. And it should be offensive to those of us who believe in God. The Lord doesn’t need Pat Robertson’s suggestions on how to rule over the planet. After all, if Pat Robertson had all the answers, then perhaps he could figure out how to get more than 2% of the vote in the Republican primaries. That way, he’d be able to appoint his own Supreme Court justices.
SEAN CARTER is a lawyer, comedian, public speaker and the author of If It Does Not Fit, Must You Acquit? Your Humorous Guide to the Law. He can be reached at www.lawpsided.com.