The Interfaith Alliance held a press conference on Monday to offer reaction from religious leaders to the “Justice Sunday” event held over the weekend. “Justice Sunday” was sponsored by conservative religious organizations in concert with the Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist with a stated intention of painting democrats and those who oppose the president’s judicial nominees – most of whom oppose basic civil rights protections for minorities – as “people against faith.”
Moderated by the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of The Interfaith Alliance (www.interfaithalliance.org), the panel included the Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, President of the Chicago Theological Seminary (www.ctschicago.edu); the Rev. Dr. James Forbes, Jr., Senior Minister, The Riverside Church in New York City (www.theriversidechurchny.org); Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (www.rac.org); and the Rev. Carlton Veazey, President of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (www.rcrc.org).
"Make no mistake, that in the debate now underway in this nation, nothing less is at stake than the vitality of our democracy and the integrity of religion," Gaddy said. “Senator Frist had an opportunity to disavow himself of the message of Justice Sunday; instead he implicitly gave his stamp of approval.”
“I was shocked at how sacrilegious the event was,” Thistlethwaite said. “The radical religious right turned a sanctuary into a political platform. We are the religious mainstream. We support the Constitution and we will not turn a church into a political action committee.”
Gaddy said that the religious right believes in the inerrancy of the Bible and they equate that with a belief in the inerrancy of the Constitution. Unfortunately, he said, they believe that only they know how to interpret the Bible and the Constitution.
“I don’t doubt the sincerity of Albert Mohler and other fundamentalist ministers who say that the Bible is the inerrant source and that they and they alone know what the Bible says and means,” Veazey said. “But most of us don’t go along with this. Christians have strong differences of opinion on the meaning of scriptures and we don’t want to see a particular brand of Christianity held up as the only real Christianity. We certainly don’t want a particular brand of Christianity enacted as the law of the land.
“Justice Sunday was not about religion; it was part of an ongoing power grab to take over the courts and reverse decades of progress for minorities, women, the environment, workers’ rights, and other issues and groups that have been relatively powerless,” Veazey said. “We must not compromise on our rights and freedoms.”