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Reform Jewish Movement Calls on Senator Frist to Repudiate Claim That Judicial Nominees are Victims of a "Filibuster Against Faith"
In response to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s plan to join a telecast whose organizing theme is that those who oppose some of President Bush’s judicial nominees are engaged in an assault on “people of faith,” Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement noting, support for "Justice Sunday" event is disingenuous, dangerous, and demagogic.

Saperstein: Support for "Justice Sunday" Event is Disingenuous, Dangerous, and Demagogic

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WASHINGTON, April 15, 2005 –In response to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s plan to join a telecast whose organizing theme is that those who oppose some of President Bush’s judicial nominees are engaged in an assault on “people of faith,” Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

The news that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist plans to join a telecast whose organizing theme is that those who oppose some of President Bush’s judicial nominees are engaged in an assault on “people of faith” is more than troubling; it is disingenuous, dangerous, and demagogic.  We call on him to reconsider his decision to appear on the telecast and to forcefully disassociate himself from this outrageous claim. 

Senator Frist must not give legitimacy to those who claim they hold a monopoly on faith. They do not.  They assert, in the words of Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and organizer of the telecast, that there is a vast conspiracy by the courts “to rob us of our Christian heritage and our religious freedoms.”  There is no such conspiracy.  They have been unable to ram through the most extreme of the President’s nominees, and now they are spinning new claims out of thin air.  

Alas, this is not an isolated incident.  This past week, the Christian Coalition convened a conference in Washington entitled, "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith."  Their special guest speaker was the House Majority Leader, Rep. Tom Delay.  When leaders of the Republican Party lend their imprimatur to such outrageous claims, including, at the conference, calls for mass impeachment of Federal Judges, it should be of deep concern to all who care about religion.  It should also be of concern to President Bush whose silence, in the wake of the claims made both at the conference in Washington and in the upcoming telecast, is alarming.

The telecast is scheduled to take place on the second night of the Passover holiday, when Jews around the world gather together to celebrate our religious freedom.  It was in part for exactly such freedom that we fled Egypt.  It was in part for exactly such freedom that so many of us came to this great land.  And it is in very large part because of exactly such freedom that we and our neighbors here have built a nation uniquely welcoming to people of faith – of all faiths.  We believe Senator Frist knows these things as well.  His association with the scheduled telecast is, in a word, shameful.  We call upon to him to disassociate himself from the claim that the Senate is participating in a filibuster against faith, and to withdraw his participation from the April 24th event.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis. 



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