Remember the Shiavo memo? It said this:
“This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue.”
In another move to define legal issues as moral issues that the pro-life base would be excited about:
“LOUISVILLE, Ky., April 24 – In a Sunday telecast organized by Christian conservative groups to denounce the Democrats as “against people of faith” for blocking judicial nominees, Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee stepped up his threats to change Senate rules to circumvent those blockades while simultaneously calling for “more civility in political life…
About 2,000 people packed into the Highview Baptist Church here for the telecast, and organizers said it was broadcast to several hundred churches by satellite, thousands of people over the Internet and 61 million households over Christian radio and television stations.”
While I don’t appreciate the way the New York Times wrote the story:
“In a short videotaped statement included in the telecast, which was called Justice Sunday and emanated from a packed Baptist mega-church here, Dr. Frist, the Senate majority leader, neither referred to religious faith nor addressed criticism that the event was inappropriately dragging religion into a partisan battle.
Instead, he focused on accusations by Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, that Dr. Frist was a “radical Republican” for participating in the telecast, which aimed to build conservative Christian support for his threat to eliminate the filibuster of presidential nominees – a parliamentary tactic that allows at least 41 senators to reject a nominee by indefinitely forestalling a vote. Democrats, who hold 44 Senate seats, have vowed to virtually shut down Senate business if Dr. Frist follows through.”
…which reads like an editorial rather than a news story, I am amazed what some Republican leaders will do to get their judges nominated. I find this a highly inappropriate means of gathering support. Now, if church leaders want to stump for Republicans in church, then go ahead. But if Frist wants to stump for Republicans in church, he sends a confusing message: rally the Christian conservative base to get Republican judges who are fair and unbiased on the bench.
I am also amazed that while the GOP disavowed the Shiavo letter, especially in light of the quote above, they pull the same tactic in trying to stop Democrats from filibustering. Both the Shiavo Memo and the Frist Appeal are attempts to define a legal procedure as a moral issue and to get the Christian conservative base excited about Senate politics.
The more some Republican leaders use religion as a political wedge, the less credible they become.