I am unabashedly enthusiastic that Harriet Miers has come to faith in Jesus Christ in midlife, and that her evangelical belief will be part of what she brings to her role as a Supreme Court justice, if confirmed. But I do not want to be misunderstood as a Pollyanna Christian who celebrates faith but ignores ability and ideology.
I don’t use the Christian Yellow Pages and, like Martin Luther, I’d rather be ruled by a “competent Turk” than an incompetent Christian. And after working for nearly 30 years in the very bowels of the evangelical community, I know that a person’s Christian faith does not assure competence. Trust me, I know that well.
Anymore than a person’s conservative orthodoxy assures sound moral character.
Those who worship at the feet of William Buckley and see conservatism as life’s guiding light, and particularly those who are more comfortable inside the beltway that inside a church, have decried Miers’ selection and dismissed personal relationships—that the President has with the nominee, and that the nominee has with Jesus Christ—as inferior to a judicial record or a paper trail.
I do not think the evidence of Miers’ evangelical belief is enough to provide comfort to those who want to be assured that she will not slide to liberalism as part of the court. But when I add that to my belief that the President understands the stakes, and he has known Miers as a close colleague for more than 10 years, I am far more comfortable than I am with others who were less known by the Presidents who appointed them (they say President Bush 41 couldn’t pick David Souter out of a lineup).
There’s more certainty on some key issues—such as life issues–with Miers than with Roberts, or many others who could have been chosen. How many Republican evangelicals that you have known for 10 years are pro-abortion?