At age 60, Harriet Miers, if seated on the Supreme Court, is unlikely to flip a switch on decades of her religious and political beliefs -- even if she's a closet lesbian.
Miers is a successful career woman who, if she had so chosen, could have been exposed decades ago to gays and lesbians and their dreams for equality. She chose another route -- active and faithful participation in an evangelical, fundamentalist church in Dallas, Valley View Christian Church, a church unfriendly to the rights of gays.
Nothing in her known record indicates that Miers would, as a Supreme Court justice, rule contrary to her deeply held religious beliefs. In fact, unhappy with a "more contemporary style" in her church of 25 years, she is joining a small breakaway group opposing change -- not the sign of an open mind:
Valley View is changing its governance and worship to a more contemporary style under McCarty, who was hired in March 2004 and wants to attract young families. The breakaway group favors a more traditional approach...."
Miers has been a Bush loyalist and FOG, or "friend of George," for several years. And, like Laura Bush and Karen Hughes, she is a Southern Methodist alumna. Because of Bush's reliance on his religious fundy base, Miers must have been a member of the small inner circle who, like Hughes, played a significant role in shaping the Stupe's public stands on gay marriage, stem cell research, abortion, Terri Schiavo and other hot button issues. The secret tapes recorded by Doug Wead reveal the political "brilliance" (or is it religious spin?) that Miers finds irrestible in her idol.
In his support of Miers for the court, Bush adamantly insists that he knows her heart and that she will not change once on the bench. He should know: in the prevailing environment of "that ole time religion," she's the frigid north wind -- he's just a weathervane.
But why so many "conservatives" raising such a fuss on the Miers nomination? Despite all their pandering to the religious right, they apparently fear that Miers is the real thing. Could they fear that, once on the court, her religious faith -- or the Constitution -- could replace her loyalty to the man who put her there, the Republican Party, or even her church? What if she skips the latest James Dobson bulletin and reads the Sermon on the Mount instead? What if she takes her job seriously enough to ignore Falwell and Robertson, and finds a right to privacy in the US Constitution? What if she wakes up one morning and realizes that her freedom of worship depends on a strong wall of separation between church and state?
Without a clear record of loyalty to the cause -- a repressive Supreme Court being the cause of the day -- Republican extremists find Miers unacceptable. They may be wrong, but they demand certainty, not only of a nominee's adherence to a dogma but a knowledge of how one reaches her political positions: i.e., the order of ethical reasoning is critical. They are at war with Constitutionally-guaranteed rights. In their war, they demand proven generals, not foot soldiers who may one day refuse an order.
Why, though, are some liberals, like their conservative counterparts, prepared to believe that Miers may one day change her core beliefs? The Human Rights Campaign, for example, seems to have wished themselves into accepting the likelihood of Miers' future fair-mindedness based on a single question in an old 1989 questionnaire, nothing more. I ain't buying it. Neither is Marla, a blogger on Julien's List:
If you're queer or queer-supportive, Miers isn't your good buddy. Everything that matters in her history says she is antagonistic to your right to marry, that she lamely equivocates when your parental rights are at stake, and that she isn't going to be there for you when hate comes to shove any more than she was there for the Texas version of you when her hero, Shrub, made the highly unusual power move of walking onto the legislative floor to personally buttonhole lobby Texas legislators out of voting for a gay-inclusive hate crimes bill.
Read Marla's excellent essay here:
Read more on Bush, his religion and his women, here:
- Maureen Dowd, Breaking down Bush's women
- Ron Suskind, Without a doubt
- Albert Mohler, What should we think of Harriet Miers?
- James Dobson, Same-sex marriage would lead to 'marriage between daddies and little girls ... between a man and his donkey'