Sincerely Held Religious Beliefs Are Not Bigotry
Religious Tests Prohibited
No religious tests shall ever be required as a qualification for any office of public trust under the state, and no person shall be rendered incompetent to give evidence in any court of law or equity in consequence of his opinions on the subject of religion.
- Wisconsin State Constitution, Article I, Section 19
Bigot: A person of strong conviction or prejudice, especially in matters of religion, race, or politics, who is intolerant of those who differ with him.
- American Heritage Dictionary
Brian Hagedorn, currently a candidate for Wisconsin's Supreme Court, is certainly a man of strong religious convictions. A sincere evangelical Christian, Mr. Hagedorn believes deeply that the Bible is the revealed word of God. His belief certainly includes Leviticus 18:22, which prohibits homosexual activity. The verse reads: "Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is an abomination."
Please note that the verse does not pass any judgment whatsoever on people with homosexual proclivities; it simply prohibits acting on those proclivities.
Mr. Hagedorn, not unreasonably, wants his to raise his children with his religious convictions, and to that end, a few years ago, was instrumental in founding a private Christian academy which has as its core the teaching of Biblical morality. Consequently, the school includes in its by-laws a restriction against hiring, or accepting as a student, anyone who is an active homosexual, and therefore in violation of Leviticus 18:22.
All of this stems from Mr. Hagedorn’s evangelical convictions; it is a matter of religious belief. There is no evidence, however, that his religious beliefs in any way impinge on his current service on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals in adjudicating any case which has come before him. Rather, as a strict constructionist in line with his having served as president of the Federalist Society while studying at Northwestern University Law School, he is concerned with ruling in accordance with the precise meaning of the text of the law.
This should, indeed, be a matter of great comfort to anyone who comes before him in a judicial matter; he (or she) can be assured that Hagedorn will follow the strict letter of the law as passed by the state legislature and signed into law by the governor when it was passed, without reference to Mr. Hagedorn’s private convictions.
Contrary to the opinion of some people on the political Left, there is no religious test for public office; such a question may not even be asked. Mr. Hagedorn has shown that he is supremely qualified to serve on the Supreme Court by the only measures which matter: his law degree, his membership in the state bar, his distinguished service with a prestigious law firm, and his judicial record on the Court of Appeals.
The real bigots are those who say otherwise.