Thursday, April 21, 2005

Jewish Leaders Appalled by Frist Extremist Political Exploitation of Faith

From the National Jewish Democratic Council....

The radical right is doing everything in its power to threaten judicial independence -- at the risk of turning legitimate debate over judicial appointees into a religious war.

How does Senate GOP Leader Bill Frist respond? This Sunday, despite an outcry from Jewish and other religious leaders, he'll be raising the stakes and egging-on the far-right. But you can add your voice today -- and tell him that enough is enough (see below).

As you may have heard, the ultra-conservative Family Research Council will be airing a "Justice Sunday" telecast on April 24th linking churches across the nation, and Frist will be speaking. The topic? In the words of FRC's president: how to "stop this unprecedented filibuster of people of faith."

In trumpeting the telecast, FRC proclaims that the courts have been acting "like thieves in the night, to rob us of our Christian heritage and our religious freedoms." These "anti-Christian" judges -- and the Democrats who support them -- are responsible for such evils as "the legalization of abortion" and "the banning of school prayer." And Frist apparently thinks such rhetoric is just fine. In fact, Frist will be leading the charge, using this telecast to help divide Americans while exploiting faith and feeding religious discord.

Jewish leaders have been appalled. ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said that "playing the 'religious' card is as unacceptable as playing the race card." The president of B'nai B'rith International, Joel Kaplan, said, "Without doubt, the whole idea of judicial independence is under attack. ... I just don't know how far this will encroach on the separation of church and state before the electorate calls a halt to it."

And Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said, "When leaders of the Republican Party lend their imprimatur to such outrageous claims... it should be of deep concern to all who care about religion. ...[Frist's] association with the scheduled telecast is, in a word, shameful."

What Senator Frist refuses to acknowledge -- what we all know to be true -- is that the separation between church and state in America grants every American a level of religious liberty that is envied around the world. It is because of this separation of church and state that faith in America has flourished; this separation helps faith, while protecting Americans of all faiths from religious or governmental coercion.

But Frist chooses to stoke the fires of religious hostility by joining this telecast -- a telecast that will brand Democrats as "anti-Christian" for opposing dangerous judicial appointments.

Tell Senator Frist: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. No more religion-baiting, no more dividing. It is time for him to stand up and act like the leader he claims to be.

To send a message via e-mail,
please click here
To send a letter via fax, send it to 202-228-1264
To send a letter via postal mail, write to Senator Bill Frist, 509 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510

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