WASHINGTON -- April 21 -- Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace movement, strongly criticized Sen. Bill Frists participation in the upcoming Justice Sunday, on April 24, saying that the event is a partisan attempt to narrow the definition of faith to fit a conservative political agenda.
There is a huge problem when politicians and religious leaders manipulate the teachings of their faith to force people to vote a certain way, said David Robinson, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA. What were seeing in Justice Sunday is a partisan attempt by religious conservatives to declare war on judges that dont rule in accordance to a right-wing political agenda. Shamefully, in their attempt to bring down those they label as activist judges, they are also branding as unfaithful anyone who disagrees with them. This is disingenuous and dangerous, and an insult to people of faith who view many of the positions supported by the Bush administration whether it be the death penalty, the war in Iraq, or economic policies that favor corporations over people as contrary to their moral values.
Justice Sunday is being organized to lend support to a mounting effort in the Senate to eradicate the practice of the filibuster, so that Democrats cannot block any of President George W. Bushs judicial nominations. Justice Sunday will consist of a live, national simulcast at 7:00 PM EST on Sunday, April 24, that will air in numerous churches across the country to criticize as unfaithful those who oppose any of President George W. Bushs judicial nominations. The April 24 event follows comments by several high-ranking Republicans chastising activist judges, including Sen. John Cornyns harsh words to the U.S. Supreme Court after they declared the juvenile death penalty unconstitutional. Speaking on the Senate floor after the Supreme Court ruling, Cornyn said, It causes a lot of people, including me, great distress to see judges use the authority that they have been given to make raw political or ideological decisions.
Whats ironic in all of this is that members of the right are criticizing judges of partisan and ideological behavior, and then going out and practicing partisan and ideological behavior in the pews to promote their own agenda, said Robinson. When the Christian right narrows the breadth and depth of Christianity down to one or two isolated issues, they do a disservice to all, and thats whats happening with Justice Sunday. As Catholics and as Christians, we are held to higher standards. We are called to evaluate leadership on the full range of issues that impact the common good.
Justice Sunday is being organized by the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, two staunchly conservative faith-based organizations, to generate a backlash against what they allege as an activist federal judiciary.
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Pax Christi USA is the national Catholic peace movement, reaching more than half a million Catholics in the U.S. Our membership includes more than 130 U.S. bishops, 800 parish sponsors, 650 religious communities and 300 local groups. Pax Christi USA is a section of Pax Christi International, the international Catholic peace movement with consultative status at the Untied Nations.