EDITORIAL: Menges plays victim card

The York Dispatch Editorial Board
Matt Menges, candidate for Court of Common Pleas Judge, speaks to community members in New Freedom, Saturday, April 13, 2019. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Let's get something out of the away: Local attorney and Christian conservative Matt Menges is no victim.

Menges, one of three candidates for a judgeship at York County Court of Common Pleas, this past week joined the deafening chorus of affluent white American men claiming victimhood because of their "religious beliefs."

It's bull. 

You know it.

We know it.

Menges should know it, too.

Here's the background: The York County Bar Association released a poll of its members rating the qualifications of judge candidates — pretty standard stuff.

It would be fair to say York County's attorney class isn't too high on Menges. Just 22.5% of respondents rated him at least "qualified."

Cue the whining. 

More:York County Bar Association biased against Christian conservatives, candidate says

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More:Poll: Voters open to candidates who aren’t very religious

The York City-based attorney's persecution complex is all the rage among the right-wing, with the GOP's standard bearer, President Donald Trump, perhaps the most regular offender. 

Day after day, the most powerful man on the planet whines about how he's picked on, even as he jostles the ultimate levers of power.

The religious right is chock-full of those making disingenuous allegations of oppression, while they populate the top tier of government and industry.

For example, U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, earlier this month said he better understood the suffering of Jesus Christ because — get this one — he'd been stripped of his committee assignments after repeatedly spouting white supremacist talking points. 

The man is a member of one of the most powerful legislative bodies on the planet. 

Ironically, at a statistical level, the religious right is heavily over-represented in U.S. government. 

"Evangelicals" comprise just 25 percent of the total U.S. population, according to Pew Research Center. Yet, that group dominates the Republican Party. For comparison, the non-religious — "nones" — make up more than 22 percent of the U.S. population, says Pew. And its member are effectively powerless throughout government. 

The religious right's sway in Congress is hugely disproportionate to its relative size.

Its political clout in the White House is second-to-none, as it's the only group that consistently has Trump's back.

And, as a result, it's remaking the federal courts in its own oppressive image, a dangerous politicization with no interest in the centrist predilections of most Americans. 

For almost two decades, the same people now claiming victimhood stoked anti-Muslim sentiment. Suddenly, a young Muslim woman gets elected to Congress and the Fox News bubble has a veritable meltdown.

Make no mistake, persecution exists in the U.S, just not among the group most loudly claiming it. 

Synagogues are under attack. Women are being stripped of the power to make their own medical decisions. Scientists are discounted and denigrated for merely practicing rationalism. 

And that brings us back to candidate Menges. The fact that he's touting his right-wing bonafides suggests members of York County Bar got it right.

His is a signal of his intentions to those who think like him. It's a not-so-subtle declaration that Menges considers impartial jurisprudence an anachronistic limitation that bars judges from unjustly imposing personal views on others. It's a political rallying cry in a race for a job that should, in a perfect world, be isolated from politics. 

No, Matt Menges isn't a victim of political nor religious persecution. There just might be more qualified candidates in the race.