Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Religious Leaders Weighing in Against "Injustice Sunday"

Rev. Martin Marty, America's premier church historian, has written a scathing essay in Sightings entitled "Furious with Frist" that denounced Senate majority leader Bill Frist's participation in the Family Research Council's forthcoming Sunday telecast against filibusters. He said:
Most of the international religion stories these days have to do with theocratic suppressors of freedom, would-be monopolizers of religious expressions. We've been spared such holy wars here. But Frist and company, in the name of their interpretation of American freedom, sound more like jihadists than winsome believers. It would be healing to see them on their knees apologizing to the larger public of believers.

Rev. Brent Walker, Executive Director of the Baptist Joint Committee has also spoken out in an uncharacteristically forceful manner on this issue. He said,

"It is quite proper for people of faith to weigh in on the policy decisions of the day, including debates over parliamentary procedures like the filibuster rule in the Senate. But it is a shameful abuse of religion to suggest that God has taken up sides in the debate. There are people of faith on both sides; neither has God in their hip pocket on this issue."
Rev. Welton Gaddy, Executive Director of the Interfaith Alliance wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and raised a pertinent question:
With a religious conscience as enflamed as the conscience of anybody in the religious right, I oppose the election of judges who will, in the name of religion, make decisions that politicize religion and blunt the vitality as well as compromise the integrity of the rich religious community in this nation. Must my religious conviction be attacked as "anti-faith" simply because I do not agree with you when you attempt to destroy a democratic process that has been tried and true? If I feel that way as a person who is a member of your faith tradition, you only can imagine what people from other religious traditions and people within no religious tradition are feeling about such tactics and the implicit, if not explicit, endorsement of those tactics by you and other political leaders.
Rev. Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State urged Senator Frist to distance himself from the group saying:

"Sen. Frist should disassociate himself from the Religious Right's unseemly and increasingly shrill campaign to destroy the nation's independent judiciary. I am appalled that Sen. Frist would lend his support to this attack on our court system."

All of these men are persons of deep faith and conviction. None of them are "against people of faith." It is time for the religious right to stop denying the faithfulness of people who disagree with them.


Dr. Bonzo said...

Is anyone aware of any planned activity to protest the simulcast site in Louisville on Sunday? I know of many mainstream Christians here who would welcome an opportunity to let Dobson, Mohler, Colson, Frist and the rest know that theirs is not the only view of "faith" and its interaction with society.

Poppy Wells said...

There is a rally on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Central Presbyterian Church in Louisville, KY on Sunday April 24. Details can be found at their website or the Louisville Courier-Journal site.