I’m rushing to finish an appeal I’m working on…
…while there are still courts. Because fundamentalist christians — they often refer to themselves as “evangelical” or “born-again” christians — are anxious to shut down those courts.
For the same reason, even though it’s incredibly difficult to get reliable information from mainstream publications, I try to stick to them as much as possible, because I know most Americans haven’t figured out yet how the press is deliberately being used and how the news is being filtered. (Another reason I try, as often as possible, to link to official documents, but the problem there is they’re usually long and dense — yes, even more so than my own posts! — and no one wants to read them.)
Evangelical Christian leaders, who have been working closely with senior Republican lawmakers to place conservative judges in the federal courts, have also been exploring ways to punish sitting jurists and even entire courts viewed as hostile to their cause. — Peter Wallsten, “2 Evangelicals Want to Strip Courts’ Funds” (April 22, 2005) Los Angeles Times via Yahoo! News.
The discussions over this occurred at a meeting last month in Washington, where House Majority Leader Tom DeLay — famous (finally) for his ethics violations — and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist — famous for his ability to diagnose neurological problems (not formerly his specialty) from years old videotape snippets thanks to messages he’s received from God — spoke to a group of evangelical christians.
An audio recording obtained by the Los Angeles Times features two of the nation’s most influential evangelical leaders, at a private conference with supporters, laying out strategies to rein in judges, such as stripping funding from their courts in an effort to hinder their work. — Peter Wallsten, “2 Evangelicals Want to Strip Courts’ Funds” (April 22, 2005) Los Angeles Times via Yahoo! News.
As Tom DeLay told the group, “We set up the courts. We can unset the courts. We have the power of the purse.” No one even laughed when he added, “We usually only use it to line our own pockets, but we can use it against judges we don’t like.” (Okay, he didn’t say that last part, but he was no doubt thinking it.)
Some of the most amazing parts of the story to me are these:
Both leaders chastised what Perkins termed “squishy” and “weak” Republican senators who have not wholeheartedly endorsed ending Democrats’ power to filibuster judicial nominees. They said these included moderates such as Sens. Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. They also grumbled that Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and George Allen of Virginia needed prodding.
“We need to shake these guys up,” Perkins said.
Said Dobson: “Sometimes it’s just amazing to me that they seem to forget how they got here.”
Even Bush was not spared criticism. Dobson and Perkins encouraged their supporters to demand that the president act as aggressively on the judiciary as he has for his Social Security overhaul. — Peter Wallsten, “2 Evangelicals Want to Strip Courts’ Funds” (April 22, 2005) Los Angeles Times via Yahoo! News. (Emphasis added.)
How fanatical are these folks? Not only do the moderates need to be punished, in their opinions, but also President George Bush! We’re not talking about a moderate there! Even people in their own party are just not safe from their fanaticism.
And they’ve become so focused on their own overblown sense that the universe revolves around them, that they accuse even the elected representatives of “forget[ting] how they got here.” (Hint: It was still a democracy when most of these guys ran for office. “They got here” because of votes.)
There’s a lot of noise these days about how politicians couldn’t get elected without evangelical christian support. Yet for all the power they currently wield, they’re actually a minority of the American population. What’s happened is that Americans and their politicians have been hoodwinked into believing nothing can happen without the support of self-important yokels.
Apparently, many politicians are even worse at math than I am. (And I’m not very good at it.) They went from, “Wow, if we could get one more vote, we could win the election” to “the dumbest and most easily tricked voters are the ignorant” to “no one is more ignorant than a christian fundamentalist” to “we can’t win without the christian fundamentalist vote.” Somewhere along the way, someone got twisted around. They went from “if we could get just one more vote” to “we must ignore all the other votes, because we need that one.” And to get that vote, they’ve begun making Faustian deals that threaten us and our constitutional form of government.
Why? Because the “christians” they’re dealing with turn out more often to be little devils bent on establishing their own form of theocracy. It’s no accident that they’re able to vote for the likes of Tom DeLay, Bill Frist and George Bush. (It helps that evangelicals largely tend to be poor, uneducated and willing to do whatever one or two charismatic leaders like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson or, maybe, James Dobson, tell them to do.) Take note of the point I made above: Even other Republicans aren’t considered good enough by them. Even other Republicans aren’t safe. What do you think will happen to your church when the fundamentalists have enough power? There’s only one brand of Theocracy in their minds. And that’s the Falwell-Dobson-DeLay brand.
But the truth of the matter is that any political party needs more than just the votes of a few fundamentalists. Remember above when it was “if I could get that one more vote”? From there, as I said, we’ve gone to “no other vote matters but that one.” So all the others get ignored. Sane Christian voices. Sane non-Christian voices. Jews. Educated people. Asians. Mexican-Americans.
It’s time for the rest of us to become a little vocal about this. It’s time to make our voices heard. Call your congressional representatives. I’ve done it. It takes just a few minutes and you should do it each time you hear about something like what I’ve described above.
For the reality is that although they currently have Congress’ ear, they are the minority. Ever noticed how when there’s a crowd around, everyone can be talking normally, but if you want to be heard, you’ll have to talk louder? Unlike them, we don’t have to shout to be heard. There are more of us.
Talk, quietly and sanely, to your congressional representative today.