I’ve been thinking about other things, and so haven’t had the time or the energy or anything particularly incisive to say about the brouhaha stirred up by secularists and the religious Left regarding Senator Bill Frist’s participation in the Family Research Council’s Justice Sunday. But in this morning’s WaPo, Colbert King finally got to me. Here is merely the most offensive line in an inflammatory column:
They [religious conservatives] are not now and never will be the final arbiters of Christian beliefs and values. They warrant as much deference as religious leaders as do members of the Ku Klux Klan, who also marched under the cross.
I assume that Tony Perkins and James Dobson have thick skins, but this kind of invective has no place and shows only how desperate opponents of President Bush’s judicial nominees are.
The Interfaith Alliance’s C. Welton Gaddy actually goes further than the offensive Colbert King, arguing that the President’s judicial nominees are in fact incipient theocrats:
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.
I’ll let his misstatement of the judicial nomination process pass, but not his attempt to claim that these nominees are making religious rather than constitutional or legal judgments.
In his letter, Gaddy also resurrects a meme that I thought was restricted to anti-Semites and anti-Catholic bigots, accusing religious conservatives of loving their country only when it serves their religion, i.e., of being unpatriotic (unlike Gaddy and his supporters: true patriots oppose religious conservatives, who put love of God above love of country). I could say more, but you probably don’t want an exposition of Augustine’s City of God right now.
I’ll restrict myself to saying this: all the efforts to try to intimidate Bill Frist, accusing him of fanning the flames of religious bigotry or pandering to religious bigots by appearing on the FRC program, suggest a fear that his appearance, and the program itself, will actually be effective in mobilizing those values voters. Yes, the FRC and Focus on the Family are religious groups. But what they are asking for is an up-or-down vote on judicial nominees, not a religious test for office-holding. Whatever faith or reasons move them, the position they’re actually supporting is consistent with long-standing Senate practice (actually voting on nominees). Yes, there’s a slippery slope somewhere, and the judiciary may be the only remaining bastion of secular liberalism, but the alternative is not theocracy, but rather sober constitutional jurisprudence.