Sunday, April 24, 2005

Topic of the Week - The Christian Right and our Judicial Branch of Government

The past few weeks have resulted in some interesting quotes and actions from The Christian Right leaders regarding our Judicial Branch of Government....

* Tony Perkins, President of The Family Research Council issued the following statement -- "A day of decision is upon us...As the liberal, anti-Christian dogma of the left has been repudiated in almost every recent election, the courts have become the last great bastion for liberalism. For years activist courts, aided by liberal interest groups....have been quietly working under the veil of the judiciary, like thieves in the night, to rob us of our Christian heritage and our religious freedoms. "There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s more than one way to take a black robe off the bench.”

* House Majority Leader Tom DeLay stated he would make sure that the GOP-controlled House "will look at an arrogant and out of control judiciary that thumbs its nose at Congress and the president. "We set up the courts. We can unset the courts. We have the power of the purse...”

* James Dobson, Founder of the Conservative Group Focus on the Family stated -- “Very few people know this, that the Congress can simply disenfranchise a court,” Dobson said. “They don’t have to fire anybody or impeach them or go through that battle. All they have to do is say the 9th Circuit doesn’t exist anymore, and it’s gone.”

* Vice-President Dick Cheney a speech to the Republican National Lawyers Association in Washington -- marked the first time the White House has explicitly outlined the role it is willing to play in ending the filibuster. "If the issue is presented to me in my elected office as president of the Senate and presiding officer, I will support bringing those nominations to the floor for an up-or-down vote," Cheney said, winning applause for explaining how the rule change could occur.

* Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is participating in The Family Research Council simulcast event this evening, Sunday, April 24th with a speech supporting the FRC event dubbed "Justice Sunday," will be an evening full of Religious Right activists screeching about our nation's federal judges and demanding that far-right fundamentalists stand up to take back their country. According to the FRC ad for the event, described in the Times piece and available on FRC's web site, the Senate filibuster rules are being used "against people of faith."

Hey Christian Right....what is going on here? Can you step back and look in the mirror for just a few seconds and realize that you and your people are trying to circumvent our system of checks and balances....all because you have a religious belief that you think should be indoctrinated into our public policies?

We have seen this religious "nationalism" throughout 20th century history....all founded upon people like yourselves who believe their belief system is "right" and everyone else's beliefs are "wrong." You have every right to your religious beliefs but do us all a favor and keep it to yourselves.

And, quit this victim stance....that "people of faith" are being downtrodden upon. Obviously your leaders like Perkins, Dobson, DeLay, etc. are manipulating you in stating that people of faith are "victims." It's like saying that the Nazi's were victims of Jewish persecution....seriously, that is how ridiculous your victim mentality and belief is.

I make no apology in attacking you on this issue....when you push for mixing your religious beliefs into our public policies and use rhetoric that is hateful in attacking people who support our system of checks and balances, I say "go home and say a few prayers and ask your Higher Power to help you see the Light, OK?"

Any comments? Click on 'Post a Comment' below.


At 1:19 PM, Blogger commonwealth said...

Please read Frank Rich’s column in the NY Times today to understand my post.

The current attack on judges for their activism is specifically for their support of civil rights for gays. Why is this dangerous?

From Italy and Germany to today's Islamic countries, every government determined to consolidate or keep power has used one tried and true technique: they find a vulnerable minority and target them as the source of all the woes the citizens are experiencing. Today’s American middle class is being threaten by financial insecurity from the disappearance of jobs with high paying salaries and guaranteed pensions to the rapidly rising costs of housing, childcare and health care. This administration’s highly pro-business agenda is not pro-family but they do not want the citizens to see that. The bankruptcy bill is a perfect example. The majority of those who declare bankruptcy do so because they have been overwhelmed by a medical catastrophe. This bill was created by and for the financial servicing industry. Amendments to limit usurious rates to under even 30% were defeated as were exclusions for medical disasters.

Republicans are using their religious brethren as cover.
I doubt if too many members of congress actually have a Godly fear of same sex marriage. Most would also probably be willing to providing civil rights for gays, but if bashing gays will keep them in power by getting religious conservatives to the polls it is amazing how quickly they can find Jesus.

So what? Politics is a dirty business and you do whatever you need to win. Suckers are indeed born by the tens of thousands in every generation. Using them is a politician’s stock-in-trade. So these past few years it has been religious fundamentalists they have been using to not only bring in votes but also distract citizens from their real agenda of consolidating power.

Politics has always been a business of hawking your wares for money. The biggest and deepest pockets today are in corporate America where the biggest salaries go to those CEOs and those companies that makes the biggest profits. This is why all but a few Wellstonian politicians ignore the real needs of citizens and sell out to the highest corporate bidder. Hey, its just politics as usual, ain’t it? Yes and no.

The attack on gays is more than politics as usual in this country. Every time we sink this low we risk losing our democracy. Ben Franklin, when ask what form of government the Constitutional Convention had chosen, said, “ a Republic--if you can kept it.” We are losing it. The win-at-all-costs tactic of scapegoating a minority debases us and appeals to our worst instincts. That is what conservatives in power are hoping.

It is a right of every American to hold and practice his or her religious beliefs. We were founded as a country by those seeking freedom from religious suppression. Our Constitution strictly forbids the establishment of one religion over all its citizens. The pushing of this anti-gay agenda is an attempt to “establish” a Fundamentalist religious belief as the rule of the land. This alone makes the anti-gay-based attack on judges a danger to our Republic, but it is even more insidious than that.

We are pitting Americans against Americans for votes. If religious conservatives truly believed in Jesus’ admonishment to love one another they should recoil from this attempt to stigmatize and “stone” an American minority. They do not have to acknowledge gays in their churches, they do not have to even associate with them, but they have no right to actively deny them equal treatment under the law because they disapprove of homosexuality.

A deeper risk is also inherent in this attack on gays and it is one that brings in big rewards for the instigators.
Democrats may fall victim and that is what people live Karl Rove are hoping will happen. Democrats have their own agenda and it includes everything from healthcare to the environment but with the talk of gay marriage drowning out almost every other issue there is a rising level of frustration on the left. Soon they may say to themselves that supporting gays is too costly. They want other issues on the front burner. But Democrats fall for this and try to appease the other side by sacrificing gays they will find another burning religious issue wills suddenly flames forth just as brightly. The Terri Shiavo theatrics was one such flame, but when it was doused by a majority of Americans it was quickly set aside.

Frist et al are playing a dangerous game. True believers should not be trifled with or, as some of my religious friends might say, there will be the devil to pay. Religious fervor is best left to holy places. We have created our court system and judges to cool passion with reason and the rule of law. Attack the judiciary and you give rise to mob rule. Our Republic is indeed at risk and I call on religious conservatives to focus their passions inward towards making their own peace with God. Do not go down this road for all our sakes.

At 8:21 AM, Anonymous JR Australia said...

Do give some space to the basic conservative point that the separation of powers is a bedrock principle of the US constitution and that separation requires that judges judge -- not legislate.

THAT is the quintessential complaint that conservatives have about SCOTUS and the lower courts that bob in its wake. If you don't acknowledge that point you are just being another Goebbels and I think you are better than that.

At 8:25 AM, Blogger PWB said...


Once again, you miss the point. There are liberal, moderate and conservative judges....just because some judges rule on decisions that do not agree with the conservative viewpoint does not mean that you conservatives have the right to try and change, actually try to transform, the system.

Its amazing to me on how you conservatives have a hard time in seeing the 'big picture' on these issues.

At 11:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW.........I didn't think that commonwealth could babble on and on after smoking bowl after bowl. Nice tie in commomwealth, the bankruptcy bill with gay rights. Only on the left, you gotta love it !!! As for PWB, talk about missing the point. What do you think that the Liberal left courts have imposed on us folks on the right for years upon years now. Why do we have to stand for your viewpoint imposed upon us who oppose it, while at the same time we can't try to win our way through the same process ?? Giving up power after 40 - 50 years is a hard thing to swallow isn't it ???

At 11:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anonymous:

Giving up power after 40-50 years IS a hard thing to swallow, but in my opnion it seems clear that Republicans fear their pending loss of power by trying to cram in as many controversial issues in as little time as they can. They know they don't speak the mind of the majority. They know that their mission will only benefit a select few. They know they won't be around long enough to make gradual changes. They are on their way out.

It's like being in a box that blows money around on a game show...try and grab as many dollar bills as you can before the buzzer rings.

Your buzzer will ring one day. Soon. And you won't have had much luck grabbing those dollars.

Good night.

At 4:48 PM, Blogger commonwealth said...


If we want to talk about activist judges it is hard to compare having the Supreme Court "elect" Bush. They determined that he was being harmed by counting all the votes. Counting votes--it is one of those liberal concepts you must want to purge from our system. Conservatives have been mad ever since the Voting Act of 1965 ensured blacks could have their votes counted and, of course, that whole Brown v. Board of Education decision that let negroes get so uppity as to fight for their right to vote.

Let's also talk about the make up of these suppossedly liberal courts you rant about. SCOTUS is dominated by conservatives. Of the next tier, the Appeals Courts,
11 of the 13 have conservative majorities. State Courts, like Massachusetts, who you hate as activist have to face voters. Their "liberal" opinion determining that gays are being discriminated against if they cannot marry will require voter approval in 2006. They interpreted the law, voters will choose. If MA chooses to protect gays that is the choice of majority of those who live in that state just as other states have what I would consider to be reactionary laws on their books supported by their voters.

"Activist Judges" is just another made up term on the right. (You guys are a wiz at that: partial-birth, death tax, etc). The senate has already confirmed 204 of 215 of Bush's court nominees. They did turn down 9 in their role to "advise and consent." Yes, the minority did use the filibuster to stop those nine. Bush-unlike any previous president—renominated them and want the Senate rules changed to get them. The minority plans to use the filibuster just as it has done since 1804. Today’s senate minority is a minority in one way only. Democratic senators represent an aggregate majority of Americans. Those voters--a majority in number but lacking a majority in the senate--must accept Bush’s conservative picks, but they do not accept his radical ones. (Example: a senator fro California represents 17,500,000 voters, a senator from Wyoming represents only 250,000.) No president has had all his nominees passed by the Senate. If the framers of the Constitution wanted a president to have all his choices they would not have required senate approval. If the minority has no means to offer that challenge then the majority wins all the time and we would have one-party rule. I know that that is what Karl Rove would like to engineer. Conservatives who are railing against “activist judges” are attempting to undo our careful system of checks and balances. One Party Rule is not a democracy and One Party Rule that imposesthe ones smoking dope, people like you, anonymous, are apparently hoping to be smelling incense in the halls of capitol hill.


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