sunday justice sunday

Frank Rich addresses tomorrow’s big, evangelical, judge-hating extravaganza, “Justice Sunday”, in his column in the Sunday New York Times. His article is entitled “A High-Tech Lynching in Prime Time”, and it’s worth reading (and forwarding to others until your fingers cramp). Here’s how it starts:

Tonight is the much-awaited “Justice Sunday,” the judge-bashing rally being disseminated nationwide by cable, satellite and Internet from a megachurch in Louisville. It may not boast a plume of smoke emerging from above the Sistine Chapel, but it will feature its share of smoke and mirrors as well as traditions that, while not dating back a couple of millenniums, do at least recall the 1920’s immortalized in “Elmer Gantry.” These traditions have less to do with the earnest practice of religion by an actual church, as we witnessed from Rome, than with the exploitation of religion by political operatives and other cynics with worldly ends. While Sinclair Lewis wrote that Gantry, his hypocritical evangelical preacher, “was born to be a senator,” we now have senators who are born to be Gantrys. One of them, the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, hatched plans to be beamed into tonight’s festivities by videotape, a stunt that in itself imbues “Justice Sunday” with a touch of all-American spectacle worthy of “The Wizard of Oz.”

Like the wizard himself, “Justice Sunday” is a humbug, albeit one with real potential consequences. It brings mass-media firepower to a campaign against so-called activist judges whose virulence increasingly echoes the rhetoric of George Wallace and other segregationists in the 1960’s. Back then, Wallace called for the impeachment of Frank M. Johnson Jr., the federal judge in Alabama whose activism extended to upholding the Montgomery bus boycott and voting rights march. Despite stepped-up security, a cross was burned on Johnson’s lawn and his mother’s house was bombed.

The fraudulence of “Justice Sunday” begins but does not end with its sham claims to solidarity with the civil rights movement of that era. “The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias,” says the flier for tonight’s show, “and now it is being used against people of faith.” In truth, Bush judicial nominees have been approved in exactly the same numbers as were Clinton second-term nominees. Of the 13 federal appeals courts, 10 already have a majority of Republican appointees. So does the Supreme Court. It’s a lie to argue, as Tom DeLay did last week, that such a judiciary is the “left’s last legislative body,” and that Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Reagan appointee, is the poster child for “outrageous” judicial overreach. Our courts are as highly populated by Republicans as the other two branches of government.

The “Justice Sunday” mob is also lying when it claims to despise activist judges as a matter of principle. Only weeks ago it was desperately seeking activist judges who might intervene in the Terri Schiavo case as boldly as Scalia & Co. had in Bush v. Gore. The real “Justice Sunday” agenda lies elsewhere. As Bill Maher summed it up for Jay Leno on the “Tonight” show last week: ” ‘Activist judges’ is a code word for gay.” The judges being verbally tarred and feathered are those who have decriminalized gay sex (in a Supreme Court decision written by Justice Kennedy) as they once did abortion and who countenance marriage rights for same-sex couples. This is the animus that dares not speak its name tonight. To paraphrase the “Justice Sunday” flier, now it’s the anti-filibuster campaign that is being abused to protect bias, this time against gay people…

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12 Comments

  1. Posted April 23, 2005 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    jesus h. christ, it sure isn’t easy trying to find out which local churches will be showing the simulcast. They make you register and require a full name, physical address, and email, then they finally let you search for locations. It’s almost like they’re expecting trouble.

    anyhoo, this is the page you can search for your local church, and here in Ypsilanti the closest is:

    St. Luke Lutheran Church
    4205 Washtenaw Ave
    Ann Arbor, MI 48108-1005
    734-971-0550
    lstuhr@stlukeaa.org

    I’m supposed to also get an email about the event, but 20 minutes after registering, it still hasn’t arrived yet. I’ll leave another comment here if it does. They don’t really clarify when the simulcast is, I suppose you’d have to call the individual church.

    Who wants to carpool tomorrow morning?

  2. mark
    Posted April 24, 2005 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    I believe it starts at 7:00 tomorrow evening, but I think you’re right, we should probably get there bright and early to get good seats… Seriously, if you’re going, Brett, let me know. I think I might be able to get away for an hour or so.

  3. john galt
    Posted April 24, 2005 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    Remember Brett you have to dress nice to go to church, sure you can show up in you’re viva la revolution shirt if you want, but noone is going to think you’re cool, just disruptive. I love how you guys go on and on about being so sensitive towards muslims (actually any non-christian religion) and then show nothing but contempt (because of course you’re smarter than them) for christians. Maybe you can make a scene in church, that’ll be great for all the kids who are there with their parents, but then again maybe you’ll learn someting. You know you are going to a lutherine church.. do you know who Martin Luther was?

  4. Posted April 24, 2005 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Evening might be a bad time for me, as I tentatively have other plans; Plus i’ve been sitting here reading the ‘justice sunday’ website, and i think i have a pretty good idea of the points they’ll cover.

    It might be a slightly awkward reception we’d get, anyway, and i wouldn’t be able to shake the feeling that i’d be the physical equivalent of an internet troll.

    The FRC site has loads of great stuff, by the way. I especially like the sexy title of a brochure they publish called “Slippery Slope of Same-Sex ‘Marriage'”

  5. Posted April 24, 2005 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    holy shit. while i’m typing the last comment, i make a troll joke, and when i hit ‘submit’ i see that one has already shown up. now that’s what i call service!

  6. john galt
    Posted April 24, 2005 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    yes us lizardoids type faster than you do.

  7. mark
    Posted April 24, 2005 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    I was raised Lutheran… And, as for not showing respect to Christians, I’m not sure where you got that. I think I’m a pretty tolerant guy… until you start threatening to destroy the country I love. And, personally, I don’t think these people, the ones involved in “Justice Sunday” for instance, really are Christians, at least as I define the term. There is no charity, no love, no tolerance.

  8. mark
    Posted April 24, 2005 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    If I do go tomorrow, I won’t be exhibiting any troll-like behavior. I’ll just be sitting there, taking notes and snapping photos… I might sign in as “Charles Darwin” though. Would that count?

  9. Posted April 24, 2005 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    I just finished “Slippery Slope of Same-Sex ‘Marriage'”, and it wasn’t that good. It starts out with a fairly kinky passage about a man wanting to marry his horse, but goes downhill from there. Typical example of logic:

    “How Does Gay Marriage Harm Your Marriage? One might as well ask, “How does my printing counterfeit $20 bills hurt your wallet?” Or to use another example, can you imagine a building where every carpenter defined his own standard of measurement? A man and a woman joined together in holy matrimony is the time-tested “yardstick” for marriage. One cannot alter the definition of marriage without throwing society into confusion any more than one can change the definition of a yardstick.”

    …I guess that’s also supposed to be an indictment of the metric system.

  10. mark
    Posted April 24, 2005 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Someone had sex with a horse two weeks ago on the show Deadwood (so there is historical precedent)… Actually, speaking of Deadwood, I think that Jeff Kay’s going to be interviewed in today’s LA Times.

  11. john galt
    Posted April 24, 2005 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    once again mark distorts the facts, he said several times that he didn’t have sex with the horse, he just came on its leg. Its not like he was the queen of England or something.

  12. mark
    Posted April 25, 2005 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    … You have finally won an argument here, Mr. Galt. Congratulations!

    As for Jeff’s article in the LA Times, it won’t be in until next Sunday. Sorry if any of you ran out to the newsstand based on my comment.

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