Monday, April 25, 2005

Paging Dr. Frist

Senator Frist to the rally of the “faithful” at Louisville last night:

“Emotions are running high on both sides, and it reveals once again our country’s desperate need for more civility in political life,” he said in his taped message, part of the program simulcast to churches, homes and organizations from a 6,000-member Baptist church east of Louisville.


Frist’s comments were more moderate than those of several religious leaders headlining “Justice Sunday: Stopping the Filibuster Against People of Faith.”

Charles W. Colson, head of Prison Fellowship Ministries, also appeared by videotape. He said Senate Democrats are trying to use the filibuster “to seize what they lost at the ballot box and to prevent the appointment of judges, holding the judiciary hostage.” Their actions, he said, “are destroying the balance of power, which was a vital Christian contribution to the founding of our nation.”

James Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family, spoke from the church’s pulpit and criticized the Supreme Court, seven of whose nine members were named by Republican presidents. The court’s majority, Dobson said, “are unelected and unaccountable and arrogant and imperious and determined to redesign the culture according to their own biases and values, and they’re out of control.”

The court’s majority does not care “about the sanctity of life,” he said. Pornography is a growing problem, he said, “plus this matter of judicial tyranny to people of faith, and that has to stop.”

Dobson said the Senate has “six or eight very squishy Republicans” who have not committed to helping change the filibuster rule. Throughout the program, the names and phone numbers of senators scrolled across the screen, and speakers urged listeners to call and demand that the filibusters be stopped. Among the senators whose photos were shown were Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.).

If Senator Frist wants “civility” in this debate, perhaps he should examine his own party first. It wasn’t the Democrats who warned judges that their lives may be in danger for following the law and that it would be understandable if violence against them occurred. It wasn’t the Democrats who drove the federal government through the walls of Terri Schiavo’s hospice room, and it wasn’t the Democrats who re-shaped the House Ethics Committee rules to guarantee that their House majority leader could still run the show while he was under indictment, and then removed their own members from the panel who balked at the change, replacing them with toadys who had received campaign contributions from the leader’s PAC. You want civility, Dr. Frist? Physician, heal thyself.