Democrats, who have been taking a crash course in the language of religion in hopes of winning some "values voters" away from Republicans in time for the next election, are agitated about a telecast scheduled for Sunday, April 24.
The event will feature not only some prominent religious conservatives, but also Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. The announced purpose of "Justice Sunday" is to pressure senators to do away with the requirement of a "super majority" of 60 votes before a filibuster against President Bush's judicial nominees can be broken. The sponsors of the telecast, a coalition of Christian conservative groups, want a simple majority, improving the likelihood that most of Bush's nominees would be confirmed.
Democrats claim the telecast, which will be distributed to churches, Christian TV and radio stations and the Internet, will suggest members of their party are against "people of faith." They charge Republicans with exploiting religion for partisan ends. The New York Times and Washington Post published lead editorials last Saturday (Times) and Sunday (Post) criticizing the gathering.
The Times editorial was titled "Bill Frist's Religious War" and claimed the group sponsoring the telecast is guilty of "intolerance." It also asserted the judges Democrats may wish to filibuster are "unqualified."
Apparently the American Bar Association endorsement of these judges is no longer sufficient for the Times, which once believed ABA approval was the gold standard for determining the qualification of a candidate for the federal bench.
The Times, which needs to take some medication and lie down for a while, also charged Frist with trying to confirm judges who would "accept a theocratic test on decisions."
Sen. Richard Durbin, Illinois Democrat, must not have been paying attention to "progressive Christian" Rev. Jim Wallis, who has been trying to teach Democrats the language of faith.
Durbin said, "I cannot imagine that God - with everything he has or she has to worry about - is going to take the time to debate the filibuster in heaven." Gender confusion about God won't play well in red states, Senator, where the deity is regarded as "Father."
This isn't really about religion. It's about results. Liberals have been happy to align themselves with clergy and congregants who preached a social gospel that mostly followed the Democratic Party line.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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