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Christian Nuts Concerned About Miers' Views
ABC News
By RACHEL ZOLL AP Religion Writer The Associated Press
Christians Concerned About Miers' Views
Oct 7, 2005

Note: the original title was "Christians Concerned About Miers' Views" as if all Christians are rabid right wing nuts in the GOP. The title is condescending towards real Christians, so the title was changed.

Oct 7, 2005 — If Harriet Miers is confirmed, evangelicals can finally claim one of their own on the U.S. Supreme Court. Yet the spiritual journey that led her to be born again and spend 25 years affiliated with a conservative church has not eased concerns among Christians about her views on abortion, gay rights and other key social issues.

"Our lack of knowledge about Harriet Miers, and the absence of a record on the bench, give us insufficient information," said Tony Perkins, of the conservative Family Research Council.

But members of her longtime congregation, Valley View Christian Church in Dallas, say the White House counsel's strong character and faith are clear from her dedication to their community.

Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht, Miers' friend for 30 years, said he brought her to the church, which he attended, when she expressed interest in "a deeper commitment to faith."

After a childhood attending both Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, she underwent a full-immersion baptism at Valley View in 1979, and later taught Sunday school classes. Hecht said Miers has given the church more than the 10 percent tithe asked of congregants. She also served on the missions committee and took a deep interest in its programs in central India, according to minister Barry McCarty, inviting him and an Indian mission director to lunch at the White House last March.

About 150 of Valley View's 1,200 active members recently left to create their own congregation and Hecht says he and Miers are among those leaving. Valley View is changing its governance and worship to a more contemporary style under McCarty, who was hired in March 2004 and wants to attract young families. The breakaway group favors a more traditional approach, Hecht said.

When in Washington, Miers attends St. John's Episcopal Church near the White House, which President Bush also attends.

McCarty said Miers has not sent official word that she is leaving Valley View and he said she has many friends and supporters there. She most recently attended services there about a month ago. "Even after moving away to Washington, she was always very faithful in coming back," McCarty said.

But church involvement alone may not be enough to assuage Christian conservatives.

John Green, an expert on religion and politics at the University of Akron, said that despite Miers' religious credentials she's failing to gain unequivocal support from some evangelicals partly because they feel burned by past nominees such as Justice David Souter, who was selected by the first President Bush and turned out to be more liberal on the bench than they wished.

But even more, Green said, evangelicals are acutely aware of the diverse beliefs within their own movement; someone who shares their faith may not necessarily hold the same political outlook. "Does she connect her beliefs up to politics in the way that they would like? I think the answer is they just don't know," Green said.

Valley View is part of a movement known as Christian Churches and Churches of Christ. These conservative congregations grew from a 19th century reform movement that aimed to break down denominational barriers among Christians.

The churches tend to be more focused on evangelizing than social issues, although Valley View ministers have preached about the sanctity of marriage and against abortion from the pulpit, and the congregation has provided voter registration information to members.

"We probably aren't a real capital "A" activist church," said Ron Key, a longtime Miers friend who recently left as Valley View minister and now leads Sunday services for the breakaway group. "That does not mean we don't believe strongly in pro-life. We take a public stance, but we believe this is sort of a grass roots, individual thing."

Valley View's mission statement says the church believes the Bible is the infallible word of God and salvation can be found only through Jesus. But, reflecting the movement's historic rejection of creeds, states "we try not to be dogmatic about matters on which believers hold divergent views."

Doug Foster, an Abilene Christian University historian who specializes in the independent Christian church movement, said it would be "highly unlikely" for a member of a congregation like Valley View to support abortion rights. Still, he said some congregants do hold that view "but just wouldn't say anything about it."

"The overall sentiment is that this is not something that a true Christian can support," Foster said. "Yet, there are people who sit in the congregation and think, `I don't buy that.' I know that for a fact."

None of the Valley View leaders interviewed for this story said they had spoken with Miers about her views on abortion, but Hecht insisted, "she is pro-life."

And while Miers was a pioneer in legal circles, serving as the first woman president of her law firm, the Dallas Bar Association and Texas Bar Association, Valley View does not allow women to serve as church elders, although it does allow women to lead prayers.

Jack Straus, an attorney who is chairman of the Valley View church council and met Miers on church singles retreats, said he never heard her challenge that restriction.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

To pacify right wing religious nuts, being Christian isn't enough - Miers is clearly as Christian as they come. She must be their sort of Christian - political ideologue.

What are Miers religious beliefs? I don't know, don't care and it's none of my business. Right wingers think they MUST KNOW she's one of them - and the constitution be damned.

What's her interpretation of the Constitutional? That's what she should be judged on - not her religion or her political ideology. The right wing is clear - politics is more important than religion or the constitution.