HARRISBURG -- May 5 -- As the "nuclear option" clock runs down and Senate Republicans prepare to make good on their threat to dismantle our system of checks and balances by eliminating the filibuster, Republican leaders have called on the religious right to whip up fundamentalist fervor. But this morning Pennsylvania religious leaders gathered in Harrisburg to let it be known that Pennsylvanians of faith do not support silencing the minority in our Senate and do not support overturning our system of checks and balances.
"A few days ago the people of this country were told by a colleague of yours, Senator Frist, that People of Faith are ALL of the same political point of view," thundered Rabbi Carl Choper who leads the congregation at Temple Beth Shalom in Mechanicsburg and serves as the convener for the Interfaith Alliance of Pennsylvania. "More to the point, Senator Frist told the nation that People of Faith all held HIS point of view. Senator Specter, we are here today as Faith Leaders to say to you that this sort of intertwining of politics and religion is not good for politics or religion in this country."
At the news conference, Rev. Dr. Bruce Bouchard, Rabbi Carl Choper, Rev. Sandra L. Strauss and Kathleen Daugherty called on Senator Specter to protect the filibuster and religious liberty and minority rights. The religious leaders launched a Pennsylvania clergy petition that will be circulated and delivered to Senator Specter the next Tuesday. More than 38,000 Pennsylvanians have already signed petitions in opposition to the nuclear option.
"People have often said that we have the best Congress that money can buy," said Rev. Dr. Bruce P. Bouchard, chair of the Public Advocacy Team of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches and minister to the congregation of Grace United Church in Hanover. "Many members of Congress struggle hard to vote their conscience and to do what is right. But, it is true that powerful money interests and political whim deeply influences how the Congress votes. As people of faith, who honor the law of God. We insist that our Senators continue with a tradition of voting that promotes the rule of law, not the rule of money."
Reverend Dr. Bouchard and Rabbi Choper were joined by Rev. Strauss who is the Director of Public Advocacy at the Pennsylvania Council of Churches and Kathleen Daugherty who is the Director of the Pennsylvania Lutheran Advocacy Ministry.
The Interfaith Alliance (TIA) is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the positive and healing role of religion in the life of the nation and challenging those who manipulate religion to promote a narrow, divisive agenda. With more than 150,000 members drawn from more than 75 faith traditions, and 47 local alliances, TIA promotes compassion, civility and mutual respect for human dignity in our increasingly diverse society.