Friday, April 22, 2005
Just Us Sunday: The rest of you get the hell out.
How shall we interpret "Justice Sunday," the
Christian nationalist megachurch telethon scheduled for this Sunday around the truly outrageous notion that Democrats oppose some of President Bush's judicial nominees because they're "people of faith"? That lie itself would be noxious enough, but in his bid to be the next Republican presidential nominee Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist — who has signed on as one of the telethon's marquee participants — seems to think nothing of playing to a bunch of Evangelical triumphalists by pretending that he agrees. And that really is unacceptable.
Do I object to politicians coddling their political base? No. But there comes a point when political leaders should draw a line and not cross it. Characterizing one's political opponents as treasonous crosses that line, for example. Characterizing one's political opponents as "enemies of people of faith" crosses that line, too. Why? Because it's flagrantly false.
What the Evangelical triumphalists are really saying, of course, isn't that all people of faith are right-wing Republican Evangelicals. They're saying that only right-wing Republican Evangelicals — and their political allies among traditionalist Catholics and perhaps small groups of Jews and Mormons — are "people of faith." Mainline Protestants, moderate or liberal Catholics, Jews who vote Democratic, religious but non-Christian Americans, and anyone who doesn't share Antonin Scalia's judicial doctrines — all the rest of us, in other words — are enemies of the faith. A politician has no business in that business. When the subtext of an event becomes "This country ain't big enough for the both of us," a politician ought to go the other way. Just Us Sunday is bad politics, even it seems like good church to some people.
If you haven't already, tell Senator Frist how appalling it is for him to encourage this kind of deceitful misrepresentation of millions of people of faith and good will who simply don't share the radical Christian right's views. Call him (politely but firmly) at 202-224-3344, fax him at 202-228-1264, or send him email.
Look, I'm no fan of the filibuster, but the danger in what Frist has signed up for has little to do with the legislative maneuvering around judicial nominations. It has to do with a poisonous mischaracterization of a difference of political opinion. Democrats oppose some of President Bush's nominees not because of their faith but because of their jurisprudence. Furthermore, some of Frist's colleagues — like House Majority Leader Tom Delay, who all but said judges had it coming to them if they pissed off conservatives — are radically undermining our constitutional system of checks and balances, not to mention quietly nudging people toward acts of violence.
The rapidly reviving religious left is responding to Just Us Sunday in a number of ways:
Meanwhile, people who believe that justice belongs to everyone and not just to right-wing Republican Evangelicals are sponsoring "Social Justice Sunday." Sponsors include the Clergy and Laity Network, Faith Voices for the Common Good, and the Texas progressive group DriveDemocracy. Sojourners has set up its own mechanism to tell Senator Frist how you feel about "Justice Sunday." And UCC minister Pastordan's blog FaithForward is collecting statements from a much broader spectrum of people of faith — a moving tribute to a better and less divisive America.
Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 22 April 2005 at 6:36 PM