You just have to wait…

I’m in aSupremes kinda mood, what with Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination and all. I’ve been following with particular interest the potential makeup of the court with Sotomayor on it. And there’s one thing that keeps coming up, besides the obvious first Latina story. As Josh Marshall points out, Sotomayorwould be thesixth Catholic on the court.

Which, in my mind, begs the question: Where is the representation for the non-religious on the highest court in the land? I’m one of roughly34 million people (pdf) in the United States who identify themselves as having no religious affiliation. That’s 15% of the U.S. population. And we’re a growing minority–we made up only 8% of the population in 1990. I’m no militant–it’s kind of hard to be militant when your beliefs have the consistency of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. But even theStay-Puft Marshmallow Man can be dangerous when miffed. And I have to say, I’m a little tired of feeling like theMilton Waddams of minority groups in the United States.

Excuse me, I believe you have my Supreme Court seat.

12 thoughts on “You just have to wait…

  1. My neo-Pagan Witchy self is lumped in w/the likes of “Scientology” in “New Religious Movements”????!??! WTF??? If we were at all able to really practice freely (and not worry about being tagged by the neighbors or harrassed by public safety officers), I bet there would be even MORE of us tallied!!! And I have news for them…we Witches, Pagans, Druids are not exactly new…renewed, perhaps… And “New Age”? WTF? I thought that was a musical category… πŸ˜‰

  2. I know, Elspeth. I thought the subcategories were whacked, too. Not that I’d know where to put myself, anyway.
    Frankly, I think Scientology belongs in a class by itself. I’ll leave the labeling of that class to others, in the interests of not offending anyone.

  3. I’ve seen her described in several places as a “nonpracticing” catholic. I don’t know if it’s her bio or what but odd that it keeps popping up. I noticed because it’s rare to see a political figure describe themself that way.

  4. Being raised Catholic is one of the surest routes to atheism that I know of.
    If I had kids, I’d send ’em to a Catholic school to make sure that they learned that these people are out of their fucking gourds.

  5. It makes me wonder if there’s a correspondingly high percentage of Catholics on the circuit court or as judges period, thus giving them a higher likelihood of being picked for the Supreme Court.
    Aaaargh, I was just having this conversation with Mr. A the other night about raising children Catholic when I am practicing in the sense that I’m not very good at it, and we kind of came to the same conclusion, that learning to see through a culture of blind obedience and sorting out what was genuine spiritual truth from what was man-made doctrinal bullshit was an important part of both our educations and could be an important part of a hypothetical kid’s.
    I dunno, nuns and Jesuits did okay by me; I learned about evolution in Catholic school and we even had a “comparative religions” course in high school where they taught us about Buddhism and Islam and whatnot, which is more than most people get.

  6. it’s kind of hard to be militant when your beliefs have the consistency of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man
    What do you mean by that? For myself, I’m pretty firmly convinced that there’s no anthropomorphic being in charge of the world, and I don’t think that belief is particularly soft or fluffy. I’m non-militant because I don’t think the existence of God is worth spending too much time arguing about — not because of any squishiness of my beliefs.
    Am I missing a joke here?

  7. No joke, J, well, aside from the intended funny of the Stay-Puft reference.
    I’m not suggesting that all other non-religious identifiers are as squishy as I am, and I hope that wasn’t what people took away from that statement (that’s what the “I’m” of “I’m no militant” meant–me, myself, personally, not non-religious folk in general).
    My own personal beliefs have been all over the map over my whole life. I grew up in a really non-religious home–and I’m perfectly happy about that. I just didn’t have any experience with churches and spirituality. My marriage introduced me to a different perspective, and I’ve had some other things in my life (particularly my experiences in learning about and teaching the early history of Christianity and Judaism as part of my courses in Western Civ) that have led me to think a great deal more about my own beliefs. I’m not one for absolutes, so I haven’t ever come up with any kind of concrete “this I believe” kind of statement. So I’m still defining myself as squishy, for lack of a better term.

  8. “Militant” is what certain kinds of religious moral scolds call you when you’re an atheist and you refuse to either sit down and shut up or spend all your time making theists feel better about themselves (since stanching the bleeding of the feelings of ego-hemophiliac theists is what atheists arefor, natch, since we bruised their tender little fee-fees by not onlyexisting, but daring to speak up about the fact that compulsory public religiosity oughtn’t pertain to everyone).
    If refusing to coddle the easily-traumatised sensibilities of these particular theists (who apparently require more deference for their particular beliefs than they’re willing to accord to anyone else’s), makes me a militant, hand me my Kalashnikov, tovarisch.

  9. BuggyQ-
    Oh, OK, that makes sense. I know you switched from “we” to “I”, but I still wasn’t sure how widely the Stay-Puft description was supposed to apply. πŸ™‚
    Anyway, you are correct that neither the content nor the soft fluffy deliciousness of one’s beliefs ought to bar one from holding office or sitting on the Supreme Court. I find it enraging that in a nation founded on the separation of church and state, it’s so unthinkable for an atheist or non-religious person to hold a high-profile government position.

  10. Heh, Interrobang–by that definition, I’m as militant as they come. I don’t have time to make *anybody* feel better about themselves, not even myself.
    Which could explain a lot of things…

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