Monday, May 23, 2005

Opening the Door to Theocrats on the Bench?

A few weeks ago, top leaders of the Christian Right distinguished themselves by claiming that those who oppose some of President Bush's judicial nominations are opposed to people of faith, even anti-Christian. This rhetorical campaign culminated in a rally for religious bigotry led by Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council which was Orwellianly titled "Justice Sunday."

The insulting claims outraged Christians and members of other faith traditions who opposed some of the president's extreme judicial nominees -- and placed into sharp relief the attitudes and intentions of the Christian Right and its allies in Congress.

At issue of course, was the effort by the GOP majority in the Senate to end the filibuster, a tactic that allows the minority to block votes on nominations and legislation that they consider to be particularly eggregious. The issue comes to a head this week, and all sides are making a final effort to influence Senators to take thier side in the final showdown.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has a good summary report on whats at stake. It concludes that the current fight "... has everything to do with what type of country we’ll leave the next generation. Will it be a multi-faith republic where people of all faiths (and none) live together in peace thanks to the separation of church and state or will it be a quasi-theocracy where the Religious Right has been handed the power by federal courts to meddle in everyone else’s lives? We must make every effort to see that it is the former, not the latter."

FaithfulAmerica.org -- the advocacy arm of the National Council of Churches (NCC) is urging mainstream Christians to speak up and to speak out.

The NCC is urging people to "SEND A MESSAGE to your Senator saying the filibuster is NOT anti-faith and that preserving it is an important way for every voice to be heard. We must never allow social and religious fundamentalists of any faith to silence the voices of those holding different beliefs."

The Interfaith Alliance is holding various events in Washington, DC over the next few days.

Click here to take action in support of the filibuster.

The key swing votes in the Senate are said to be Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, John Warner of Virginia, Mike Dewine of Ohio, and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.

For more on mainstream religious responses to the filibuster battle and the nominees at issue, check out this report by Chuck Currie.

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