Judge Gorsuch’s Episcopalianism a concern to conservatives

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As we reported previously, Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Neal Gorsuch has been attending Episcopal churches for much of his adult life. This has been the source of some concern for conservative Christian leaders, given the Episcopal Church’s more liberal stance on issues such as abortion and equal marriage rights. Gorsuch himself has remained adamant that his personal feelings and beliefs should not be relevant. He feels that judges should interpret the law on the basis of the text, not on their own personal morality. “My personal views, as I hope I have made clear, have nothing to do with the case before me in any case,” he said. “The litigants deserve better than that, the law demands more than that.” Gorsuch was raised Roman Catholic, but has attended Episcopal churches since he married his wife, a member of the Church of England, whom he met while studying at Oxford. As a result, some conservative pundits suspect Gorsuch of being a secret liberal. Bryan Fischer, of the American Family Radio Network, tweeted, “Be advised, Gorsuch attends a church that is rabidly pro-gay, pro-Muslim, pro-green, and anti-Trump.”

While Gorsuch has not expressed an opinion on abortion publically, he is strongly opposed to assisted suicide, having written a book against it in 2006. In it, he said, “all human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.” Some conservatives see this as an indication that Gorsuch is a “pro-life” candidate. He has a more straightforward record on religious freedom; he is a staunch advocate for the freedom of members of all religions to practice, having ruled in favor not only of Christian employers wishing to withhold coverage of contraception, but also, for example, in favor of a Muslim prisoner who was being denied Halal food by an Oklahoma prison.

Gorsuch and his family currently attend St. John’s Episcopal Church in Boulder, Colorado. As is to be expected from its location, St John’s seems fairly liberal, although hardly an extreme on the spectrum of Episcopal churches. Both the rector, Rev. Susan Springer, and the congregation speak highly of Gorsuch. “We know Neil as a man of great humility and integrity, one eager to listen and thoughtful in speaking. These qualities are ones we pray all public servants in any leadership role in our country might possess,” said the congregation in a statement they released.

CNN has more details on the mystery of Neil Gorsuch’s religious affiliation and how it may or may not affect his decisions as a Supreme Court justice, should he successfully be confirmed.

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Robert Button
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Robert Button

I hope he is a legitimate concern to conservatives but I fear in reality he will not disappoint them.

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Paul Powers
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Paul Powers

As I recall, Justice Thomas was a Roman Catholic attending an Episcopal Church when he was nominated to SCOTUS.

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Mac Hanna
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Mac Hanna

Attended Presbyterian Church as a pre-teen, baptized Baptist and married into the Episcopal Church. I have found that there are stances of the church with which I disagree. But not to the extent that I will leave my church. I have served as a lay person with both conservative and progressive priests. I found no lack of intellectual stimulus within my church as our congregation is made up of a cross section of political and social views. As for Judge Gorsuch on the SCOTUS, I have neither read, heard or seen anything that indicates that he should not be on the Supreme Court. Were I in the U.S. Senate, I would vote to confirm him. One thing about most Episcopal churches of which I know, their congregants will listen attentively, with all fairness to the various factions before rendering any verdict that might impact the overall decision. I believe most of us believe that this nation should be governed by law rather than men. and that service to mankind is the best work of life. Besides, I believe most of us would prefer mercy for ourselves and justice for others, blessed by grace relying on faith and salvation in Christ. Often times we harbor anger, revenge and resentment which will in the end destroy ourselves, rather than remember the second greatest commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves. May God grant our nation peace and bring us to Him in this silly season that distracts us all.

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Jay Croft
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Jay Croft

There's also Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman on SCOTUS.

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Paul Woodrum
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Give me a break. Of the 112 justices of the Supreme Court, 33 have been Episcopalians, the largest percentage of any religion or denomination. Of these, one of the most distinguished was Thurgood Marshall who the Episcopal Church now includes for observance in its liturgical calendar.

While Gorsuch seems quite conservative for my taste, and his nomination is tainted by Republican politics and nomination by Trump, I suspect, like his Episcopal predecessors on the court and that he transitioned from Roman Catholic to Episcopalian, he might become a good justice.

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