Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Christians and Congress, Take 2

"Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone." Thomas Jefferson

There it is, from the horse's mouth. Religion should be a private subject for the soul, not a public forum for partisan politics. Yet faith-besotted Conservative Christians, led by Senator Bill Frist have turned the political process into a game of religious oneupsmanship on the floor of the U. S. Senate.

Let's review.

President Bush has sent judicial nominees for the federal bench to the Senate for confirmation. Democrats -and some clear-eyed moderate Republicans- see most of the nominees as extremists who would favor corporate interests and right-wing fringe groups over the rest of the country's welfare. These potential judges represent a major threat, not only to hot-button issues like Roe V. Wade, but also to the future of environmental protection, our right to privacy, basic workers' rights like minimum wage and the 40-hour work week, and much more.

As the minority party in the Senate, Democrats will need the filibuster to keep those judges off the bench.The filibuster rule -unlimited debate- is a hallowed Congressional tradition in which the minority party attempts to block a vote until more review and, ideally, bipartisan cooperation can be achieved. It's not always used by the good guys (it was tried as a tactic to block civil rights laws). But it's the system the Constitution's framers put in place to address what they feared might become the "tyranny of the majority" -- especially if one party held both the White House and Congress.

Which is the case now. The framers must be spinning in their (predominantly Christian) graves. And it just gets worse. Which will surely send them rocketing right out of the ground.

The "Christians" in the Senate are threatening to exercise the "nuclear option" loophole to stop the minority party "Anti-Christians" from using the filibuster on judicial nominations. If they get away with it, Right Wing Tyranny will reign supreme in our federal courts, imperiling many of our most cherished freedoms for years to come.

Because federal judges are appointed for life. Let's all thank God that senators and congressmen are not.

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