Monday, April 25, 2005

430 Pastors & Rabbis Protest Frist Exploitation of Religion

A letter (see link below) signed by 430 pastors and rabbis was sent to Senate majority Leader Bill Frist late last week, strongly denouncing his attempt to classify all who oppose his intentionally divisive political desires as "against people of faith."

The pastors and rabbis were mainly from congregations (Jewish, of course, and Presbyterian, Methodist, Congregational, Baptist and more) although a handful were from seminaries and church bodies (World Council of Churches, Chicago, Harvard).
From the Center for American Progress....

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and right-wing activist James Dobson have determined that God wants to install seven of President Bush's most extreme judicial nominees and that anyone who stands in the way is a religious bigot. Speaking before a conference organized to denounce opponents as "against People of Faith," Frist and Dobson called for Christian conservatives to back the GOP's efforts to kill the filibuster and confirm-for lifetime appointments-jurists who oppose basic civil rights protections and public interest regulations.

Right-wing political leaders debase all people of faith by claiming to have the ultimate truth about God's intentions on policy matters. A letter to Sen. Frist from 430 religious leaders across the country states, "We are gravely disappointed that you have lent support to those who are trying to create confusion and sow division with false charges of religious discrimination and persecution. Good people can and do differ on policy questions like the filibuster…[A]s one of our nation's highest elected officials, you have a responsibility to repudiate those who misuse religion for political purposes and who impugn the faith of any who disagrees with them."

Ninety-five percent of the president's judicial nominees have already been approved with bipartisan support-almost all of whom are people of faith. Contrary to the highly disingenuous and manipulative claims out there from right-wing leaders, nearly all of President Bush's nominees have been confirmed-most or all of whom are people of faith-and only a small sliver have been opposed based on their judicial record and temperament.

Senators have a duty to prevent the most extreme judicial activists from obtaining lifetime court appointments, regardless of religious manipulation by right-wing leaders. As Frist and his cohorts prepare a showdown on judicial appointments, they frequently point to Judge Priscilla Owen (singled out in yesterday's event) as someone being improperly opposed. However, Owen's record of extremist decisions is so well known that Alberto Gonzales, one of her former colleagues and now the nation's Attorney General, went so far as to describe one of her decisions as "an unconscionable act of judicial activism."

Click here to read the full letter to Sen. Frist from religious leaders across the country.

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