Saturday, April 23, 2005

Where's the Justice in "Justice Sunday"? (From NARAL Pro-Choice America)

The Reverend Katherine Ragsdale on Frist's shameful ploy to use religion to pack the courts

This Sunday at 7:00 pm EDT, Senator Bill Frist is partnering with radical conservatives like James Dobson and Tony Perkins to launch "Justice Sunday" - a national telecast to churches across the country which claims that opposing the far-right's "nuclear option" is tantamount to discrimination against "people of faith."

NARAL Pro-Choice America asked me - a lifelong Christian and Episcopal priest - what I thought about "Justice Sunday." Frankly, I don't recognize the God Senator Frist and company speak of.

The God I know does not ask the government to impose one person or group's moral beliefs on all others. The God I know would not have us pit believers against one another in the service of a purely political agenda.

The God I know is less concerned with our bedrooms than with seeing our faithfulness and love reflected in our budget, our foreign policy, our social and economic policies.

Sen. Frist and others certainly have the right, even the responsibility, to let their judgment about who and what they support be informed by their own values and faith commitments. You and I may wish that those values more closely mirrored what we understand to be spiritual and democratic principles. Nonetheless, as irrational and unfaithful as some of their positions may appear to others of us, they have the right to them. What they do not have the right to do is to impose them on us all - and most certainly not to destroy our democratic system in order to do it.

Frist and Dobson's "Christian" objection is not to the filibuster, but to its outcome in this case - the refusal to confirm some judges. They argue that these judges are Christians, and are being opposed because of their faith. I'd argue that we're opposing these judges because of their policies and history, and many of us oppose those policies and that history precisely because we are faithful, spiritual people of many religions.

These judges have histories of rulings that dilute the rights and protections afforded to various categories of disadvantaged people (elderly, poor, people of color, disabled, immigrants, women, gay and lesbian). People within many religious traditions are charged to care especially for just such people.

Are you a person of faith?
Tell Senator Frist that you have religious values AND you support a moderate, independent judiciary that respects the religious freedom upon which this country was built and will continue to oppose any attempt to impose one group's beliefs on others. Send the message to Senator Frist, and we'll send a copy to your senators, too:

A message to Senator Frist from pro-choice people of faith...I am a person of faith, and I oppose the nuclear option. I am outraged that you would manipulate the Christian faith to alter 200-year-old Senate rules with the goal of rubber-stamping all of President Bush's judicial nominees - many of whose records indicate they would use the bench to force their religious views on others. I urge you to unequivocally oppose the use of the "nuclear option."
Send it here!

Although our opponents like Sen. Frist may continue to use religion to divide our country, you and I can show America that it's okay to speak out against the injustice being spread by the Bush Administration.

~ The Reverend Katherine RagsdaleNARAL Pro-Choice America board member


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