Democrat Slams Mazie Hirono for “Religious Bigotry” for Saying Trump Nominee “Extreme” Because He’s Catholic

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jan 9, 2019   |   5:42PM   |   Washington, DC

A congresswoman slammed two fellow pro-abortion Democrats for “religious bigotry” this week after they pressed a judicial nominee about his Catholic faith.

Democrat Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard did not mention her fellow Hawaiian lawmaker U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono by name in her op-ed at The Hill on Tuesday, but Hirono is one of the Democrats behind the questioning.

The matter has to do with Brian Buescher, an Omaha lawyer nominated to the U.S. Court for the District of Nebraska, and his involvement in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization.

In December, Hirono and Sen. Kamala Harris of California, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, submitted written questions to Buescher, proposing that he resign his affiliation with the Knights. They also questioned his participation in the organization, describing it as an “all male society” that “has taken a number of extreme positions,” such as being pro-life.

Gabbard said the senators’ statements are more than just inappropriate; they encourage religious bigotry.

“For too long in our country, politicians have weaponized religion for their own selfish gain, fomenting bigotry, fears and suspicions based on the faith, religion or spiritual practices of their political opponents,” she wrote.

The Free Beacon reports more about the situation:

Conservatives balked at the line of questioning, claiming it violated the constitutional guarantee that public officials not be subject to a religious test. In an op-ed for the Hill, Gabbard agreed, arguing “Elected leaders who weaponize religion are playing a dangerous game.”

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“While I oppose the nomination of Brian Buescher to the U.S. District Court in Nebraska, I stand strongly against those who are fomenting religious bigotry, citing as disqualifiers Buescher’s Catholicism and his affiliation with the Knights of Columbus,” she wrote.

“If Buescher is ‘unqualified’ because of his Catholicism and affiliation with the Knights of Columbus, then President John F. Kennedy, and the ‘liberal lion of the Senate’ Ted Kennedy would have been unqualified’ for the same reasons,” she argued.

Gabbard, a Hindu and veteran who was deployed twice to the Middle East, said she saw first-hand the suffering and violence caused by religious bigotry.

“Elected leaders engaging in religion-baiting are playing with fire,” she wrote. “They are sacrificing the well-being, peace and harmony of our country to satisfy their own political ambitions for partisan political interests.

“We must stand together, call out and reject religious bigotry no matter where it comes from …” Gabbard concluded.

Hirono’s office responded with a statement claiming Gabbard’s opinion was “misguided” and based on “far-right wing manipulation,” according to the Beacon.

As Kevin Daley at the Daily Caller previously reported:

Lawmakers did not question Buescher about his enrollment in the Knights during his Nov. 28 confirmation hearing, though he listed his association with the group in a questionnaire he returned to the Judiciary Committee prior to his appearance. The issue was only raised in a series of follow-up questions Democrats transmitted to Buescher on Dec. 5. Senators often submit written questions to nominees following a confirmation hearing, though they generally escape public notice.

Christian leaders have previously criticized Judiciary Committee Democrats for perceived anti-Catholic bias. Hirono was among the Democratic lawmakers who expressed concern that Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s religious convictions would impede the discharge of her judicial duties during Barrett’s confirmation hearing for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in September 2017.