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The Mystery of Judge Neil Gorsuch's Faith

03-20-2017
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Catholic or Episcopalian? Theological liberal or conservative?

Questions about Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's faith and beliefs are drifting about in the breeze.

The most mysterious: Does he identify with the conservative Catholic Church of his youth, and mentor, Antonin Scalia? Or, is he more at home in the liberal Episcopal Church that he attends today?

He doesn't talk much about his faith, but family and friends believe it has had a big influence on his life.

A CNN story reports that his mother was a strong Catholic who made sure Gorsuch and his brothers and sisters attended Catholic schools, as well as Mass on Sundays.

After his parents died in the early 2000s, Gorsuch formed a bond with his uncle, an Episcopal priest.

His wife, Louise, is British and was raised in the Anglican Church, which gave birth to the Episcopal Church in the U.S. The couple has attended Episcopal churches in Washington, DC, and Colorado. However, on one church membership form Gorsuch listed his faith as Catholic.

Even the judge's brother, JJ, says he's not sure where Gorsuch lands.

"He was raised in the Catholic Church and confirmed in the Catholic Church as an adolescent, but he has been attending Episcopal services for the past 15 or so years," JJ Gorsuch told CNN.

The two churches diverge theologically and politically, and that has led some social and religious conservatives to express concern about the liberal positions taken by the Episcopal Church Gorsuch attends in Boulder.

St. John's is welcoming to gays and lesbians and the church's pastor, Rev. Susan Springer, admits to supporting gay marriage. The church also encourages members to advocate for gun control and action against global warming. A church leader has also put his name to a letter protesting President Trump for harsh statements about Muslims.

Fox News radio host and author Todd Starnes told CBN News that "there are concerns in some circles" about Gorsuch.

"They're putting him forward as a conservative man, and yet he attends and is a member, an active member of an ultra-liberal congregation," Starnes said. "So I'm wondering how such a conservative person could be a part of such a liberal, anti-Trump congregation for example."

Starnes is not alone. A radio host for the American Family Radio Network slammed the nominee in a tweet: "Be advised: Gorsuch attends a church that is rabidly pro-gay, pro-Muslim, pro-green, and anti-Trump."

Other conservative and mainstream media have raised the issue of Gorsuch's church here.

Will we learn more about the judge's beliefs and faith in the nomination hearings? It's doubtful, but the only way to find out is to watch and see.

 

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