Frist Embraces Radical Right’s Religious McCarthyism


Contact: Josh Glasstetter, Halle Czechowski at People For the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202-467-4999

Letter Urges Frist to Repudiate ‘Dishonest, Destructive, Despicable’ Tactics

Senator Bill Frist is joining forces with radical right religious groups using malicious charges of religious bigotry to build support for Frist’s plan to dismantle checks and balances that prevent one-party domination of the federal judiciary. People For the American Way today called on Frist to repudiate such tactics.

“Senator Frist’s desperation to achieve partisan domination over the federal judiciary is showing,” said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas. “His embrace of such dishonest, destructive, and despicable tactics demeans the Senate and his office. We call on Senator Frist to withdraw his support for this event and apologize to his colleagues and the American people.”

Frist is pulling out all the stops to build support for his radical plan to break Senate rules so he can eliminate the filibuster on judicial nominations and undermine the Senate’s role in our constitutional system of checks and balances, said Neas. Frist’s latest gambit is to embrace far-right groups’ outrageous claims that the filibuster — used to block a handful of President Bush’s most controversial judicial nominees — is being used to keep Christians out of public office.

“Men and women of deep faith can and do differ politically. But this event is clearly an attempt to manipulate religious faith for political purposes, and that is an outrage,” said Neas. “Americans value religious tolerance and respect, and attempts to use religion to stir up partisan, political rancor are unconscionable.”

Frist is a scheduled speaker for Justice Sunday, organized by the Family Research Council and supported by other far-right leaders like James Dobson, who are campaigning to intimidate and impeach federal judges whose rulings they disagree with, and who are demanding that Frist impose right-wing political dominance over the federal judiciary if he wants their political support for a 2008 presidential bid.

“It is sad and disheartening, as well as reprehensible, that you would lend your name and position to such ugly and divisive political tactics,” says PFAW’s letter to Frist.