Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Russell Shaw Headshot

Florida's Harris, Ohio's Blackwell: Disenfranchise Voters To Save The Babies?

Posted: Updated:

I have no problem with some office-holders whose beliefs are informed by their religious convictions- or lack thereof.

If Katherine Harris believes in her heart that a vote against Republicans is a vote for sin, that's her business.

If Ohio Secretary of State and current Ohio GOP gubernatorial hopeful Ken Blackwell believes that aborting a fetus brought into existence via the rape of a woman by a mugger-stranger is murder, that's his business.

Those beliefs are their business, but when they are the silent rationale for disenfranchising voters likely to prefer candidates that disagree with these positions, that's a crime.

The inconveniences, purged voting rolls, and in the minds of some- even worse actions brought upon Florida voters in 2000 and Ohio voters in 2004 happened under the watch of Ms. Harris and Mr. Blackwell, directly.

Actions that served to advance the election of an anti-choice President, who is now just one Supreme Court appointment away from consigning women in many states to forced pregnancy.

In light of Katherine Harris' pro-theocracy statements, and Blackwell's absolutist statements about abortion, is it only fair to ask whether their religious convictions are influencing more than just their ideals?

Plainly put, do office-holders such as these people view their mission as enforcing God's will on Earth- and if faced with a choice of questionable constitutionality, do they then rationalize acts of voter disenfranchisement on the basis that their ultimate allegiance is to the Laws of God (i.e. The Bible) rather than the Laws of Man (i.e. the United States Constitution)?

This is a fair question to ask people such as Katherine Harris and Ken Blackwell.

In 1960, then-candidate John F. Kennedy was asked a similar question:

Will your ultimate authority for decisions and policies made and enforced on your watch be the U.S. Constitution or the Pope in Rome? What if they are in conflict?

Kennedy answered this directly.

I would like to ask Florida Senatorial candidate Harris, Blackwell, and so many other Bible-thumpers a counterpart question:

Will your ultimate authority for decisions and policies made and enforced on your watch be the U.S. Constitution, or Scripture, as you interpret it? What if they are in conflict?