Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Interfaith Mandala... or War Banner?

This past Sunday, I attended an interfaith service in Louisville protesting the FRC-sponsored "Justice Sunday". The service was led by a group of liberal Christians who want the world to know that they, too, are 'people of faith', and they are tired of the Religious Right defining God as a Republican. There was one Jewish speaker, but no rabbi was available for the service due to it being Passover (a scheduling "accident" on the part of the 'Justice Sunday' planners). One of the attendees outside was displaying this flag, a sign I found encouraging.

Jim Wallis of Sojourners Magazine was the keynote speaker at the interfaith event. He said that it was time for progressive and moderate 'people of faith' to do more than express concern over the co-opting of religion in this country. It was time for them to act. His words were remarkably timely, since the U.S. government has chosen sides in the 'culture war' Pat Buchanan spoke of in his speech at the 1992 Republican Convention.

"Justice Sunday"
was a national broadcast FRC hosted at a Louisville megachurch with the intent of appointing more 'godly' judges to the bench. Bill Frist, head of the U.S. Senate, spoke via videotape about ending the filibuster, the only tactic the minority party has for self-defense against the tyranny of the majority. The filibuster, which successfully blocked the nominations of several egregiously anti-civil rights and even unqualified candidates during Bush's last term, is on the legislative chopping block as I write this. The filibuster is more important now than ever, especially when Janice Rogers Brown, one of the Bush nominees, claims that people like me, simply trying to defend ourselves against discrimination, are at war with 'people of faith'.

It doesn't matter that the Religious Right can claim ownership of the Republican party, which controls both the presidency and Capitol Hill. It doesn't matter that most federal judges are already appointees of that party. And it doesn't matter that the government has become a henchman in their plans to take control of the third branch of government. It's not just in eliminating the filibuster, a safeguard installed by the Founding Fathers. In a recent low-profile meeting hosted by Dobson and the FRC, and attended by Tom Delay and Bill Frist, the idea of simply stripping liberal judges of the funds they need to run their courts was suggested. It fell on sympathetic ears; Delay told the press later, "We set up the courts. We can unset the courts. We have the power of the purse".

They are the victims here. Christians are being persecuted, just like in the old days, by those Godless Democrats. And the secular humanists, and the gays... you get the picture. They are suffering just like the martyrs of old.

Their definition of 'war', and victimization, of course, includes any disagreement with their agenda. If you disagree with them on government policy, you are attacking them. If you support a group they disapprove of, you are attacking them. If you even want to keep them from mistreating gays, you are attacking them based on their faith. After all, as the 'godly', they have a right to treat sinners badly... don't they?


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