Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Taking on the Demagogues of Justice Sunday

"A focal point of Justice Sunday II apparently will be to underscore the argument that the court has been anti-faith," writes Melissa Rogers at TomPaine.com. [Family Research Council head Tony] "Perkins has said that the Nashville event will focus on the Supreme Court’s 'hostility toward religion and Christianity in particular....'"

Rogers is an attorney and visiting professor of religion and public policy at Wake Forest University Divinity School.

"It has become fashionable," she continues, "to say that the court is demonstrating hostility toward faith when it prevents the government from promoting faith for us. But those who make this argument are either ignorant of or willfully blind to the rationales expressed in Supreme Court precedent in this area. The court traditionally has refused to promote or to interfere with religion not because it is anti-religious, but because it wants to leave people free to make choices in matters of faith and to ensure that religious people and organizations may worship as they see fit, rather than as the government sees fit. Further, anyone who suggests that the court has scrubbed religion from the public square is inexplicably missing the rich religious landscape all around us--a landscape that has thrived in the midst of the Supreme Court’s so-called 'hostility' toward religion."

"Family Research Council has every right to hold this event. The precise role religion should play in public life, the exact place where the court should draw the church-state line, and the morality of abortion as well as other policy and legal matters are all legitimate topics for public debate. Religious citizens have the same rights as non-religious citizens to argue their side. But disagreement with those positions is not automatically anti-religious bigotry or hostility to faith."

Rogers is right on the money. There is no attack on faith, people of faith or religious institutions going on in America. Not by anyone, and certainly not by the courts. This is the strawman that partisans of the Christian Right has been relentlessly knocking down for a generation -- abetted by some religious progressives who, attempting to occupy an equally false middle ground, denounce the so called "secular left" in the same terms used by the Christian Right.

This bogus crisis of faith under seige is the gasoline thrown on the fires continuously stoked by both the protestant and Catholic wings of the Christian right in the U.S. -- and it will be on spectacular display next Sunday in Nashville.

Crossposted from FrederickClarkson.com]


Blogger Liane Allen said...

I am glad to see a strong response to the so-called Justice Sunday events.

The leaders of the dominionist wing of the Cristian Right desperately need people to believe that there is a morality lottery and that they hold all the tickets.

Unfortunately, belief in a particular religion is not an instant-win ticket in a morality lottery. People who follow a particular religion must work as hard as anyone else to live moral lives.

It seems the dominionists are attempting to sell the false hope of easy salvation to people who are tired and afraid, run down by the hard realities of daily life.

5:23 PM  

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