A newly appointed federal judge President Obama named to the Seventh
Circuit isn’t getting much media scrutiny for a controversial ruling he
made that, effectively, makes prayers to Allah politically correct and
perfectly acceptable in the public square, but not prayers invoking the
name of Jesus Christ.
Heard about this?
In 2005, in Hinrichs v. Bosma, federal district judge
(and now Seventh Circuit nominee) [now confirmed] David Hamilton
enjoined the Speaker of Indiana’s House of Representatives from
permitting “sectarian” prayers to be offered as part of that body’s
official proceedings. In so doing, Hamilton adopted one reasonable
construction—though not the only one available—of the Supreme Court’s
messy Establishment Clause rulings.
One peculiar aspect of Hamilton’s ruling is how he drew
the line between “sectarian” and “non-sectarian” prayers. On the one
hand, Hamilton made clear that prayers that “use Christ’s name or
title” are sectarian. On the other hand, he ruled (on a post-judgment
motion) that it is presumptively not sectarian for a Muslim imam to
offer a prayer to “Allah”.
So now he’s confirmed, and Newsweek did a misleading article about
some criticism of Hamilton (no surprise there, Newsweek has lost
its…..standards), and Ed Whelan does a follow up.
Hamilton, in responding to a query from the Speaker of
the Indiana House of Representatives whether “a Muslim imam may offer a
prayer addressed to ‘Allah,’” wrote that he saw “little risk that the
choice of language would advance a particular religion or disparage
others.” Hamilton’s position that such a prayer would be nonsectarian
makes little sense…
But he gets a boost when media coverage like the selectively written Newsweek piece omits
passages that amply warrant the concern of [former House
Speaker Newt] Gingrich and other critics that Hamilton was engaging in
an act of politically correct favoritism of Islam over Christianity in
the public square.
And this is all supposed to be about tolerance.