2019 | Week of February 18 | #1296
In an attempt to discredit Brian Hagedorn, candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, One Wisconsin Now last week declared Hagedorn “unfit to hold public office” because he co-founded a Christian school that seeks to follow orthodox Christian beliefs and standards.
One Wisconsin Now owes Judge Hagedorn an apology for smearing his character and discriminating against him based on his religion. The U.S. Constitution simply doesn’t allow a religious litmus test for public office-holders. Article VI of the U.S. Constitution clearly states that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Blacklisting candidates for public office because of their personal religious beliefs and associations is profoundly intolerant.
Imposing a litmus test on individuals running for public office based on their faith is not only unconstitutional, it’s un-American. One Wisconsin Now appears to have taken a page from the playbook of those who have bullied and badgered other judicial candidates in recent months for their religious beliefs, and, most recently, Second Lady Karen Pence for teaching at a Christian school that similarly states its religious beliefs and establishes codes of conduct for employees and students.
One Wisconsin Now certainly has a right to hold its own beliefs, but smearing a candidate with different beliefs is the very essence of intolerance. Such attempts should concern all Wisconsin citizens because essentially what those making these allegations are saying, or at least wanting people to believe, is that one’s religious beliefs, practices and associations, especially when it comes to marriage, disqualifies them from running for public office.
One Wisconsin Now, bolstered by other activists, asserts that because the Christian school Hagedorn helped to found, and now serves as a board member, holds to an orthodox Christian teaching regarding marriage, Hagedorn is incapable of “fairly and impartially” judging cases. That’s absurd.
A judge’s job is to interpret the law as written, not to legislate or impose personal policy preferences from the bench. That’s judicial activism. Judge Hagedorn should be vetted and reviewed based on his temperament and character as a judge—not on his personal religious beliefs, practices, or associations.
All across this country we have judges who believe same-sex marriage is right and the LGBTQ agenda is good, and as private citizens they have associations with organizations that promote those beliefs. Regardless of their beliefs and associations, we expect them to be fair and impartial in their judicial work. No one claims they are disqualified or unfit to run for or hold office because of what they believe about marriage or because of the related associations they have in their private lives. That standard needs to be applied regardless of what a candidate personally believes about marriage and no matter if he/she as a private citizen associates with organizations that agree them. One Wisconsin Now unfairly wants to hold Judge Hagedorn to a different standard.
If Brian Hagedorn supported the LGBTQ agenda and was involved with a private religious school espousing those beliefs (and such schools do exist), One Wisconsin Now and their cohorts would be hailing him as a hero and as totally fit to be a justice on our state’s highest court. But because his beliefs and associations are different from theirs, they are compelled to smear and discredit.
For millennia, people of all the Abrahamic faiths and of no faith at all have held the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Holding that belief, or being associated with institutions that hold that belief, doesn’t mean a judge can’t fairly and impartially interpret and apply the law. These tired tactics to discredit judicial candidates because of their faith’s beliefs have failed before, and they will fail again.
The final word in this situation really rests with Wisconsin voters who in the spring general election will have the opportunity to voice their opinion when they decide who will be Wisconsin’s next Supreme Court justice. That election is Tuesday, April 2, with early in-person voting beginning sometime next month. One Wisconsin Now is doing its best to sway that vote—but ultimately you have to make the decision.
For more information and to learn how you can support the work of Wisconsin Family Council, please visit wifamilycouncil.org or call 888-378-7395.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”