PFAW’s Neas Criticizes Continued Religious McCarthyism
Statement by People For the American Way Foundation President Ralph G. Neas:
There couldn’t be more of a misnomer for what happened tonight than “Justice Sunday.”
Tonight’s program paid lip service to civility, but showed none. Indeed, it was truly sad to see so many prominent religious and political leaders manipulating religion and misrepresenting the truth in order to achieve a desired political outcome.
The big lie that was used to promote “Justice Sunday” – that the filibuster is being used to target nominees because of their faith – was repeated by several speakers. “Stop Filibustering People of Faith” appeared repeatedly on the television broadcast.
It is false and inflammatory to suggest, as speakers did tonight, that supporters of the Senate’s checks and balances are trying to keep people of faith off the courts.
It is equally false and inflammatory to suggest, as speakers did tonight, that federal courts or senators are somehow trying to silence conservative Christians or deny them the right to participate in public life.
These charges are meant to incite, not inform. They are the same kinds of charges that have already been denounced by hundreds of religious leaders from around the country.
I think people of many faiths and political persuasions would cringe at the sound of James Dobson calling for the courts to be “reined in” and praising Tom DeLay’s recent campaign of intimidation against judges and threats to judicial independence.
It is time for U.S. senators to set aside the deceptions and distractions of “Justice Sunday,” and focus on the real issue: preserving judicial independence and our Constitution’s system of checks and balances.