Friday, April 22, 2005

It's "Justice Sunday" This Weekend

Remember when "playing the race card" was a big no-no in politics? You don't hear much about that any longer, but it is now apparently de rigueur to play the religion card.

For those of you who have not heard of this – through the din of Tom DeLay's ethics-violation festival and the ongoing coverage of Popeapalooza from the Vatican – there's a nationally-televised political event being held in a Louisville church this weekend.

To anyone scratching your head over the notion of a political event in a house of worship: Where have you been lately?

The extremely right-wing Family Research Council will be hosting a gala event in which FRC President Tony Perkins, Dr. James Dobson, Dr. Al Mohler and Chuck Colson will meet at Highview Baptist Church to discuss the technical aspects of filibuster use in the Congress.

Well, not really. What Perkins says is that the event is designed to "... reach as many people as possible and to engage values voters in the all-important issue of reining in our out-of-control courts and putting a halt to the use of filibusters against people of faith."

(And here I thought the filibuster was a political mechanism used to ensure some degree of checks and balances in Washington and that judges were actually intended to interpret law.

But that's not the big item. The big deal is that the FRC has secured none other than Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to speak. You would think a United States Senator would be pretty familiar with the old separation of church and state thing, but that would be terribly naive.

You see. Frist understands that the Religious Right helped push the Bushman over the top last year. In addition to paying them back for that favor, Frist also understands that conservative religious folks can be moved very easily to support anything that is "attacking religion" or supportive of things they consider immoral.

Not all religious folks agree.

"To attack those with a different judicial philosophy and policy viewpoint as religious opponents is the worst form of intolerance and demagoguery," said Phyllis Snyder. president of the National Council of Jewish Women.

Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism called the news of Frist's appearance "disingenuous, dangerous and demagogic."

September 12, 2001, when we were all so united, seems very far away indeed.