Just Above Sunset
May 1, 2005 - The Oppressed Minority - Christians in America and Conservative Republicans

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The Oppressed Minority

Christians in America and Conservative Republicans

That Powerless Group of Outsiders



Last weekend the weekly Just Above Sunset was posted, or went to press as it were, with some comments on James Dobson’s Family Research Council’s “Justice Sunday” - where Senate leader Bill Frist spoke on aligning all “people of faith” against Democrats and liberals. The immediate issue was judges who care more about the constitution than they care about God. We just have to make sure we have none of those. That was briefly covered in The Christians are going after the Christians as to who are the real Christians....

The event took place some hours after Just Above Sunset was put to bed, as the newspapermen say, so there was no report on what happened.  But as anticipated Frist insisted the rules of the senate just had to be changed to eliminate the filibuster, which was, it seems, going to be used to oppress true Christians and these people of faith by keeping overtly religious judges from deciding questions of law – you know, those judges who, when faced a difference between what is in the constitution and what is in the Bible, rule from what they think is in the latter.  That’s what the Republicans want now.

One of these judges whose confirmation was recently up in the air is California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown.  Is she an oppressed minority – a Christian in America and a conservative Republican – that powerless group of outsiders?

You bet.  And she whined about it in last Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times -

Faith 'War' Rages in U.S., Judge Says
A Bush nominee central to the Senate's judicial controversy criticizes secular humanists.
Peter Wallsten - Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Just days after a bitterly divided Senate committee voted along party lines to approve her nomination as a federal appellate court judge, California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown told an audience Sunday that people of faith were embroiled in a "war" against secular humanists who threatened to divorce America from its religious roots, according to a newspaper account of the speech.

… Her comments to a gathering of Roman Catholic legal professionals in Darien, Conn., came on the same day as "Justice Sunday: Stop the Filibuster Against People of Faith," a program produced by evangelical leaders and simulcast on the Internet and in homes and churches around the country. It was designed to paint opponents of Bush's judicial nominees as intolerant of believers.

… "There seems to have been no time since the Civil War that this country was so bitterly divided. It's not a shooting war, but it is a war," she said, according to a report published Monday in the Stamford Advocate.

"These are perilous times for people of faith," she said, "not in the sense that we are going to lose our lives, but in the sense that it will cost you something if you are a person of faith who stands up for what you believe in and say those things out loud."


Poor baby!  (Those are my emphases.)  And we are told a spokeswoman for the California Supreme Court, Lynn Holton, said no text was available because "it was a talk, not a speech."  But Brown's office did not dispute the newspaper's account.  She’s serious.

What else the judge said?


"When we move away from that [our religious traditions], we change our whole conception of the most significant idea that America has to offer, which is this idea of human freedom and this notion of liberty," she said.

She added that atheism "handed human destiny over to the great god, autonomy, and this is quite a different idea of freedom…. Freedom then becomes willfulness."


Say what?  Freedom is NOT autonomy?

You can puzzle that out, but know that Gary Bauer, president of advocacy group American Values, sent out an email that, according to the Times said this - "No wonder the radical left opposes her. Janice Rogers Brown understands the great culture war raging in America.  That is why the abortion crowd, the homosexual rights movement and the radical secularists are all demanding that Senate liberals block her confirmation."

Yes, that is exactly why, one supposes.


Democrats blocked Brown's confirmation by the full Senate, charging that she held extremist views that interfere with her ability to render objective judgments. She has a history of delivering provocative speeches.

Democrats have questioned speeches in which she called the New Deal the "triumph of our socialist revolution." She has described herself as a "true conservative" who believes that "where the government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates…. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible."


Government?  Bad.  It destroys community and civility.

Or government is supposed to establish that – as the other side believes.

There is no way to deal with the gap here – and, by the way, the speech we learn was delivered at a breakfast following the Red Mass, an annual spring gathering of lawyers, judges and other legal professionals sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut.  She was invited to speak by Bishop William E. Lori, the head of the Bridgeport diocese.

A Red Mass?  Sounds communist to me.

Here at The Carpetbagger we get this comment: “Part of being a qualified judicial nominee is an ability to show some judicial temperament and restraint. Janice Rogers Brown, clearly one of Bush's worst would-be judges, obviously doesn't understand that.”

Judicial temperament and restraint are overrated?  One thinks back to the words of Barry Goldwater – something about extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, moderation is.  Or something like that.

The Carpetbagger adds that the Brown nomination sounds more like some kind of bizarre joke than a serious move to fill an appellate court vacancy.  And adds that if the Republican Party still had any sense of decency left, Democrats wouldn't have to filibuster Brown's nomination - GOP senators would have the sense to vote against her.

Yeah, dream on.

Frist and his side, including Scalia over the weekend, say they have never seen such obstructionist stuff going on – it’s “unprecedented” of course – except for the times the Republicans have done it, as with their four-day successful filibuster against Abe Fortas back in 1968 when Johnson was president.  (Actually, that was probably good for the country.)

How obstructionist is this band of Democratic God-haters?  Of the 214 judges nominated by Bush so far, 205 were approved.  Ten were blocked.  Bush just reappointed seven – the other three decided they’d rather not be nominated again.  One of these remaining seven has said "Slavery was a blessing to white people."  (Scorecard here).

So the Democrats offered a compromise – and said the would accept five of the seven if two could be dumped.  No go.


Reacting to a Democratic offer in the fight over filibusters, Republican leader Bill Frist said Tuesday he isn't interested in any deal that fails to ensure Senate confirmation for all of President Bush's judicial nominees.


Oh well, all or nothing.

And that’s probably good according to Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, who points out this about minority leader Henry Reid’s gambit –


Reid just engaged Frist in a game of chicken, and Frist blinked first.

… in order to avoid looking like obstructionists, Democrats had to make efforts to "find a compromise", lest the chattering class get the vapors from such Democratic intransigence.

Had Frist accepted the offers for compromise, Bush would've gotten the majority of his judges through, and Democrats would've gotten -- who knows what. All published compromise offers didn't seem to give our side anything.

… It was one heck of a gamble, but the Senator from Nevada played his cards right.

Frist painted himself into a corner, having whipped up the forces of wingnuttery into a froth, he could not back down without damaging his White House aspirations for 2008. He's banking on the crazies to get him the nomination.

So Reid got the Democrats to look conciliatory, forcing Frist and his Republicans to look even more inflexible than before.


Yeah, except that just how they want to look.

So, returning to James Dobson’s Family Research Council’s “Justice Sunday” – just what DID happen there?

Vince in Rochester on Monday morning –


Today I wake up to learn that Frist used his weekend to proselytize hate campaigns in churches throughout America.

You know I spent a spiritual moment this weekend communing with a naturally metaphysical force... I think!

Evidently others attended neocon hate rallies. Who says this doesn't mimic the late 30's in Europe?

Every day I wake to this Republican leadership slipping into sleazier and even sleazier behavior.


Oh, it wasn’t THAT sleazy.

What Vince missed because he went to the wrong church?

Words like these - "We are not calling for people to be moral, we want them to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ."

Okay. Fine.

Michelle Goldberg in SALON.COM on Monday reported on the event


One of the most telling moments of Sunday night's Justice Sunday rally and telecast came right after Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, bellowed, "We will be disobedient altar boys! We won't be told to shut up and give it over to the secular left! Who are they to say that I don't have a right to freedom of speech?"

At the rally, held at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., the crowd jumped to its feet, whistling and clapping. In the small Long Island, N.Y., Christian youth center where I watched Justice Sunday with a dozen or so believers, people murmured their assent, as if Donohue had bravely spoken truth to power. Apparently, many ordinary Christians believe that some nefarious "they" is saying that believers don't have a right to freedom of speech.

Almost everything uttered at the rally stoked this deeply held feeling of persecution, giving a righteous cast to some of the speakers' vows of vengeance. "Those people on the secular left, they say, 'We think you're a threat,'" said Donohue. "You know what? They're right." This brought laughter, and more cheers.


You get the idea.

Other detail?


For an hour and a half, these right-wing eminences spun a political line that was blithely untethered from reality. Priscilla Owen, for example, one of Bush's blocked judges, was held out by Frist as a jurist admired across the partisan spectrum. No mention, of course, was made of the words of one of her colleagues on the Texas Supreme Court, who accused her of an "unconscionable act of judicial activism" in a case dealing with a minor seeking an abortion. The godless leftist who hurled this charge was none other than Alberto Gonzales, now the attorney general.

In one case in which Owen dissented from the majority of the court in an abortion case, her colleagues, Republicans all, wrote that opposition to abortion "does not excuse judges who impose their own personal convictions into what must be a strictly legal enquiry."

What's fascinating, then, is that Owen, a judge known to put her politics before the law, is being held up as the cure for a supposedly ideological judiciary. For the orators at Justice Sunday, judicial activism in defense of biblical literalism is no vice.

Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, angrily recalled something that Judge Charles Pickering, one of the appellate court nominees that Democrats blocked, was asked during his hearings. "He was asked about something he said as president of the Mississippi Baptist Convention. He said, of all things, that Christians ought to base their decision making on the Bible ... that is normative Christianity! There's what it means to be a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and to be a Christian incorporated into the body of Christ!"

Of course, the concern about Pickering's comment at the hearings had to do with the implication that when the law contradicts his reading of the Bible, he sets the law aside. In the rhetoric surrounding Justice Sunday, though, expecting judges to put the law before their personal theology constitutes discrimination that threatens all Christians. "If it's Judge Pickering now, it can be you tomorrow," Mohler warned.


Well, logical consistency and facts were not the order of the day.  And it was Mohler who uttered the words - "We are not calling for people to be moral, we want them to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ."

What to make of all this?

Rick, The News Guy in Atlanta –


And on behalf of many on the so-called "secular left" -- and possibly even some on the "secular right," assuming that doesn't describe, in reality, what some logicians would nowadays call a "null set" -- I'd just like to say that it doesn't much matter one way or the other if you pretend to be a "believer in the Lord Jesus Christ," just as long as you try your best to be moral.

I know, I know, you guys think that if one places one's faith in our Lord Jesus, everything else will fall into place, am I right?

But historically, it hasn't really worked out that way, has it -- what with those on the so-called "religious right" once arguing that God favors enslaving "inferior" races, and later working overtime and weekends to keep all them niggers away from us "God-fearing" white folks, now and then even lynching them -- and for some inexplicable reason, in the proximity of a burning cross which somehow was supposed to cast the whole evil act as being "in the name of Christ" -- and more recently, with you so-called "people of faith" carrying signs that say "God Hates Fags"? I mean, I know you may "hate fags," but are you really so freaking cocksure of yourselves that you want to be telling God who He should be hating?

Because if you really believe in a real God, you have to believe He wants His flock to behave themselves; otherwise, once they get into heaven, they might, like a bunch of rowdy redneck frat boys, think they can get away with trashing the joint and leaving it strewn with empties and used condoms and even -- with ears and noses missing, having been taken as souvenirs -- the carcasses of people who crossed them, imagining you're somehow protected by "powerful friends" of your father's. Say what you will about them, but liberals, God knows, don't carry that kind of baggage.

So while I may be some secular zero, I'm enough of a believer to think that on the unlikely chance that your true-believer-wannabe asses get up there at all, you will learn to your horror and consternation that not only does God NOT "hate fags" one goddamn bit, but neither will there be a herd of virgins awaiting your arrival, to do with whatever it is you might have wished you could have gotten away with doing down here on earth, had you the nerve to try. (No, no, I'm not confusing you with someone else. To me, you're all part of the same great big group of worldwide killer clowns.)

So please, put down your Bibles for a minute and look inside your souls and ask yourselves this simple question: Why is it that you on the "right," with all your claims to a special connection to the one and only God in heaven, always seem to be siding with the bad guys down here on planet Earth?


Don’t know.  Because it’s more fun?

But yes, people do make a BIG mistake here, thinking the evangelicals have any concern with morality, doing the right thing, comforting the poor, feeding the hungry and all that crap.  Like the current Pope and his fury at "Liberation Theology" (the Church doing things for the oppressed and all that) you find things like this on the evangelical side:


Most people are under the assumption that in order to get to heaven, all they have to do is live as good a life as they can and hope for the best. They believe that if they sin too many times, they'll be sent to hell and be separated from God. They don't realize that when Christ came to earth and died for our sins, He paid the price for our forgiveness and opened the door for us to enter into God's "family". No "works" could ever get us to heaven - the only way is to trust Christ as our Savior. Works are done after salvation - like icing on the cake - not to get saved, but because we are saved! For us to keep trying to "earn" our salvation is the same as someone who buys something, pays for it in full, and yet keeps going back to the store to try to pay for it over and over again!

Also, once we are saved, we become an adopted member of God's family. There is nothing we can do that will cause Him to turn His back on us or expel us from His family. ...


So lynch a nigger or molest little boys?  If you believe in and trust God - hey, no problem!

Whatever made you think doing good and being kind and all that stuff was on the table here?  God don't care.  That's been taken care of.  Jesus fixed it all.

And Rick replies –


Every few years, dating back to when Jesus was executed, some new group of lazy bastards comes up with a new version of Christ's death giving them a get-out-of-hell-free card, usually with the added bonus belief that the statute of limitations has long ago expired on Jesus' comment about the camel fitting through the eye of the needle.

It doesn't take a pointy-headed intellectual, does it, to understand that the son of God would not have come down to Earth, spent most his life running around urging people to behave themselves, only to get himself killed as some sort of cockeyed bargain with God that allows mankind to commit all the sins it feels like committing? I mean, what the heck would be the point of that?

They can believe that if they want, but whether they listen to reason or not, somebody's got to clue these blockheads that they're juggling brimstone if they do. And that somebody might just as well be me.


Amen, I guess.

And the Christians really are going after the Christians as to who are the real Christians – and I’m glad to be on the sidelines.

On the other hand, when these people do get on the bench, no one will be on the sidelines.  Should you find yourself in court, and feel you have the facts on your side, and the law on your side, the judge may very well rule from a “higher law” as it has been revealed to that judge when he or she was saved and reborn.  And facts?  Faith matters more.

Well, that is one way to run the country.  That is where we are heading.


Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
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