The DailyKos has an essay by Rabbi David Saperstein, of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. It’s nice, because I didn’t know exactly what to say about this event, but Saperstein’s comments on Exactly Such Freedom are right on:
The news that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist plans to join a telecast whose organizing theme is that those who oppose some of President Bush’s judicial nominees are engaged in an assault on “people of faith” is more than troubling; it is disingenuous, dangerous, and demagogic. We call on him to reconsider his decision to appear on the telecast and to forcefully disassociate himself from this outrageous claim.
Senator Frist must not give legitimacy to those who claim they hold a monopoly on faith. They do not. They assert, in the words of Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and organizer of the telecast, that there is a vast conspiracy by the courts “to rob us of our Christian heritage and our religious freedoms.” There is no such conspiracy. They have been unable to ram through the most extreme of the President’s nominees, and now they are spinning new claims out of thin air. […]
The telecast is scheduled to take place on the second night of the Passover holiday, when Jews around the world gather together to celebrate our religious freedom. It was in part for exactly such freedom that we fled Egypt. It was in part for exactly such freedom that so many of us came to this great land. And it is in very large part because of exactly such freedom that we and our neighbors here have built a nation uniquely welcoming to people of faith — of all faiths. We believe Senator Frist knows these things as well. His association with the scheduled telecast is, in a word, shameful. We call upon to him to disassociate himself from the claim that the Senate is participating in a filibuster against faith, and to withdraw his participation from the April 24th event.
Religious people of any kind should be mad as hell that Frist will be using a church to promote his petty agenda. I think it’s pretty obvious that this is not about faith, it’s about what judges will get a life term on the federal bench. They ought to be acceptable to the entire nation, not to just enough people.
The Bush administration and its allies in Congress have governed like this all along. Make a Medicare bill that has just enough to pass. Put just enough into an education bill that it’ll pass. Get just enough support behind your candidate to get elected. Move to the center just enough that you get re-elected, and write bills that do just enough to get passed.
I think we deserve better. I want government that works for as many people as possible, that does as much as it can for us all.
As Chris Mooney says, “I hope that this action will silence any protests about how today’s Republican Party still reflects aspects of its more moderate roots.”
I suspect that Bill Frist got on the tiger’s back at some point, and he’s only just starting to notice that he can’t get off until there’s enough blood to sate the religious authoritarians. He’s committed himself to the nuclear option, and even if a handful of Republicans defect, and he knows that he can’t win, he still has to hold the vote.
His presidential hopes can be dashed if we can put together just enough opposition.