Insisting that God “certainly needs to be involved” in the Supreme Court confirmation process, three Christian ministers today blessed the doors of the hearing room where Senate Judiciary Committee members will begin considering the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito on Monday.
Capitol Hill police barred them from entering the room to continue what they called a consecration service. But in a bit of one-upsmanship, the three announced that they had let themselves in a day earlier, touching holy oil to the seats where Judge Alito, the senators, witnesses, Senate staffers and the press will sit, and praying for each of the 13 committee members by name.
“We did adequately apply oil to all the seats,” said the Rev. Rob Schenck, who identified himself as an evangelical Christian and as president of the National Clergy Council in Washington.
Lots of people have posted this story since it appeared in the Wall Street Journal last week. Most have posted it in the spirit of "look at the weirdoes." It's interesting enough from that perspective.
From another perspective, let's consider the efficacy of their anointing. Shouldn't this have rendered the chair seats pure and holy? Consider the impure and unholy nature of some of the seats that were going to inhabit those chairs. Depending on your politics, you should have expected Orrin Hatch's hypocritical and lying butt, or Ted Kennedy's adulterous and lying butt to have gone up in flames. But, with a full day's hearings over, neither butt seems any worse for the wear. Admittedly, I get most of my theology on matters like this from watching Buffy and Angel. I might have missed a few of the subtler points. In any case, Rev. Schenck won't have to bear responsibility for anything worse than a few dry cleaning bills.
I'm actually more interested in the ease with which they accomplished the anointing. If they could just walk in and splatter the furniture with oil, what's to stop them from splattering something nastier, say anthrax spoors? Maybe the Capitol Police should consider locking the doors when no one is around. I admit I'm no more of a security expert than I am a theologian, but it makes sense to me.