Friday, April 15, 2005

Democrat's Filibuster is an Attack on Religion??

The New York Times reports:

Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as "against people of faith" for blocking President Bush's nominees.

There’s two disturbing problems with this effort. 1) It presupposes that people of faith are automatically Republicans. And 2) It creates the false impression that Democrats are only filibustering justices because of the nominees’ religious beliefs.

The first is patently false. There are plenty of people of faith who oppose Republican ideology. Check out Sojourners. Read The Interfaith Alliance’s opposition to ending filibusters on judicial appointments.

Secondly, Democrats are filibustering nominees for a variety of ideological reasons. And those reasons only occasionally include the issue of abortion.

The liberal judiciary watchdog group, Alliance for Justice lays out the complaints against all the filibustered Bush appointees. Here’s a sampling:

According to Alliance for Justice, Priscilla Owen is being filibustered primarily because she “consistently supports big business and special interests against the claims of ordinary Americans.”

Terrence William Boyle is being filibustered because he “has repeatedly ignored established law to dismiss discrimination claims.”

Richard A. Griffin is being filibustered because his “personal preferences favor a narrow reading of the rights and protections afforded to litigants who come before him, especially in the areas of civil and workers' rights.”

William H. Pryor, Jr. is being filibustered for a slew of reasons including being, “an ally of big tobacco and a fierce critic of what he calls ‘leftist bounty hunters (also known as trial lawyers),” and because he “made Alabama the only state seeking to strike down parts of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA). Thirty-six other states opposed Pryor on VAWA, eight others on CWA.”

Also, “Pryor called Roe v. Wade ‘the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history."

But Pryor’s rigid stance on abortion is not a common thread between the justices being filibustered. In fact, the only common thread seems to be that these justices have struck down or opposed laws designed to provide special protection to disadvantaged classes or have struck down or opposed laws designed to limit the powers of corporations. Positions on abortion are a factor but not a key player.

So why is a group claiming Democrats are opposed to people of faith? And why would the Senate Majority Leader grace these folks with an appearance?

The most conceivable answer is that many on the Religious Right have so blindingly polarized politics that they can no longer see anything but a select few issues: namely abortion and homosexuality—anything else is immaterial to them.

Whether the Democrat’s filibustering is proper or not is another issue. But it is clear that this religious group is subverting facts and creating blatantly false impressions through its ridiculous claim that Democrats are opposed to people of faith just because they won’t confirm several judicial appointees.

Senator Frist, by appearing, is making himself out to be a leader who’d rather pander to base political rhetoric than participate in an honest debate.


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