Friday, July 15, 2005

Rally for a Theocratic Judiciary

The theocratic Christian Right, this time led by the Family Research Council are portraying opponents of President Bush's judicial nominations -- as well as the Supreme Court -- as opponents of "people of faith" in announcing Justice Sunday II, a rally for theocratic judicial nominees to be held in a church in Nashville on August 14th. The rally, led by such veterans of the Christian Right as James Dobson, Phyllis Schlafly and Chuck Colson will be simulcast to churches and they hope on cable networks.

Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council and the principal organizer of the event told The New York Times that the rally will focus on "the court's hostility toward religion and Christianity in particular."

The nadir of the Christian Right's rhetorical assault on the religious character of their fellow Americans was the first Justice Sunday in April. At the time fliers for the event claimed that those who oppose the Christian Right's most extreme judicial nominations were "against people of faith."

"As the liberal, anti-Christian dogma of the left has been repudiated in almost every recent election, the courts have become the last great bastion of liberalism," Perkins wrote on the Family Research Council web site. "For years, he continued, "activist courts, aided by liberal interest groups like the A.C.L.U., have been quietly working under the veil of the judiciary, like thieves in the night, to rob us of our Christian heritage and our religious freedom."

The ugly attack on the religious faith of the opponents of the theocratic right, drew outrage and sparked a mobilization in response.

The New York Times editorialized against what they called Bill Frist's "religious war":

"Right-wing Christian groups and the Republican politicians they bankroll have done much since the last election to impose their particular religious views on all Americans. But nothing comes close to the shameful declaration of religious war by Bill First, the Senate majority leader, over the selection of judges for federal courts.... Frist is determined to get judges on the federal bench who are loyal to the Republican fringe and, he hopes, would accept a theocratic test on decisions."

Numerous editorial writers and columnists agreed.

I wrote at the time: "The Christian Right has framed it's battles as against the supposed religion of "secular humanism," but this was always a straw man. It was and is a war of agression being waged by a certain coalition of rightist Christians who hold to overlapping notions of Christian theocracy. They share a common cause in their desire to demolish the wall of separation between church and state, and to be able to utilize taxpayer money and public institutions and infrastructure to build their movement to a position of unassailable and permanent power in the United States."

Once again, the theocratic Christian Right is making a big show of conflating the notion of "people of faith" with membership in he Christian Right of the Republican party. The rhetoric is a tad less strident, but the message is the same.

But the preach-fest of last time has been replaced with a more dramatic production, that will include three country music stars. Notably Lee Greenwood, the singer-songwriter best known for his patriotic hit, "God Bless the USA." This song has been an anthem at Christian Right rallies for years, and no doubt it will be the emotional highlight of what we can expect will be a carefully choreographed program.

Like last time, religious leaders who do not share the theocratic agenda of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and his allies can be expected to be outraged. The first to speak out was the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of The Interfaith Alliance:

"Here we go again!" Rev. Gaddy said. "And, this time the imagery and the implications of the message advanced by leaders of the religious right are more offensive, sacrilegious, and undemocratic than those so integral to Justice Sunday I."

"Right now, the most serious threats to the fundamental rights and liberties in our nation are not coming from a lack of God's interest but from a small group of religious right leaders who have assumed the mantle of national religious authorities and seek to impose on the whole nation and its constitution their particular views on religion, the courts, politics, and justice."

Its my sense that the Christian Right's power is cresting, and that with the fortunes of President Bush and the GOP plummeting in the polls, if they want to get more theocrats nominated and confirmed to the federal bench, they will have to pull out the stops. This is just the beginning.

[Crossposted from]


Blogger Sunfell said...

The NYT link doesn't work.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Frederick Clarkson said...

I just checked. Links to both Times references work just fine.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Frederick Clarkson said...

Well, the link seems to work OK now.

3:31 PM  

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