Man, after Frist’s “against people of faith” statement, the sh*t is really hitting the fan. It’s one of those evenings when I can’t wait to wake up in the morning to see what delightful commentary will come next.

In any case, below the fold, you’ll find my reaction.
With the latest twist in Bill Frist’s campaign to overturn hundreds of years of Senate tradition, I have to agree with the conclusion of Armando’s front-page dKos post:

It is time that moderate Democrats of good faith understand that war has been declared and shots are being fired.  It is time they recognized the threat to our national institutions and that the time for half measures has passed.  It is time for Democrats to stand up.

Of particular concern to me are these passages from the NYT article:

As the Senate heads toward a showdown over the rules governing judicial confirmations, Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as “against people of faith” for blocking President Bush’s nominees.

Fliers for the telecast, organized by the Family Research Council and scheduled to originate at a Kentucky megachurch the evening of April 24, call the day “Justice Sunday” and depict a young man holding a Bible in one hand and a gavel in the other. The flier does not name participants, but under the heading “the filibuster against people of faith,” it reads: “The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias, and it is now being used against people of faith.”

The telecast also signals an escalation of the campaign for the rule change by Christian conservatives who see the current court battle as the climax of a 30-year culture war, a chance to reverse decades of legal decisions about abortion, religion in public life, gay rights and marriage.

“As the liberal, anti-Christian dogma of the left has been repudiated in almost every recent election, the courts have become the last great bastion for liberalism,” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and organizer of the telecast, wrote in a message on the group’s Web site. “For years activist courts, aided by liberal interest groups like the A.C.L.U., have been quietly working under the veil of the judiciary, like thieves in the night, to rob us of our Christian heritage and our religious freedoms.”

Democrats accused Dr. Frist of exploiting religious faith for political ends by joining the telecast. “No party has a monopoly on faith, and for Senator Frist to participate in this kind of telecast just throws more oil on the partisan flames,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York.

But Mr. Perkins stood by the characterization of Democrats as hostile to faith. “What they have done is, they have targeted people for reasons of their faith or moral position,” he said, referring to Democratic criticisms of nominees over their views of cases about abortion rights or public religious expressions.

“The issue of the judiciary is really something that has been veiled by this ‘judicial mystique’ so our folks don’t really understand it, but they are beginning to connect the dots,” Mr. Perkins said in an interview, reciting a string of court decisions about prayer or displays of religion.

“They were all brought about by the courts,” he said.

I dunno about you, but I’ve had enough. It’s time Dr. Frist, James Dobson, the Family Research Council, et. al. heard from another side of the country.

So here’s the idea. I will be creating a page for Democrats to state, simply and directly, that they are not hostile to faith. You don’t have to be religious yourself; you just have to state that you are a Democrat, and you are not hostile to faith, in terms of judicial appointments or otherwise.

Perhaps by the time this video comes out on the 25th, we’ll have quite a few testimonials to let ’em know the fundies aren’t the only ones out there. (I’ll also work on a link to contact your Senators to let them know where you stand.)

Sorry, work in progress. In the meantime, here’s some general guidelines, and my own statement.

  • Give as much of the following information as you feel comfortable sharing: your name, your hometown, and whatever religious affiliation you may have. Include a picture of yourself if you’re brave enough.
  • State, in the simplest possible terms, that you are not hostile to faith simply because you disagree with the Republican agenda. Tell them why.
  • Conclude with a positive statement of your vision of what this nation could become, minus the fear, selfishness, arrogance, and general recklessness we have experienced in the past four years.
  • In your statements above, try to avoid profanity if at all possible. This is for public consumption.

Isn’t that easy?

Here’s mine:

I am the Rev. Daniel Schultz. I have been an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ since 1999, and a registered Democrat since 1988. I am not hostile to faith.

What I am hostile to are attempts to politicize my faith. I am no less a Christian for being a progressive.

I am no less a Christian for opposing Sen. Bill Frist’s attempt to overthrow hundreds of years of Senate tradition for partisan gain.

I am no less a Christian for opposing a handful of radical right-wing judicial nominees whom I believe will be harmful to American jurisprudence.

The attempt to identify Christian faith and practice with the agenda of the Republican party is disgusting politics and even worse faith.

My Christian heritage lies in those Americans who have fed the hungry.

My Christian heritage lies in those Americans who have given water to the thirsty.

My Christian heritage lies in those Americans who have welcomed the stranger.

My Christian heritage lies in those Americans who have clothed the naked.

My Christian heritage lies in those Americans who have cared for the sick.

My Christian heritage lies in those Americans who have visited the prisoner.

My Christian heritage lies in those Americans who have sought to end racial prejudice.

My Christian heritage lies in those Americans who have sought to end political oppression of those with unpopular views, or whose sexuality challenges perceived norms of one segment of the population.

My Christian heritage lies in those Americans who have sought equity for the poor.

My Christian heritage lies in those Americans who have sought peace at home and in the world.

My Christian heritage lies in those Americans who have hungered and thirsted for justice, that it might roll down like mighty waters.

And my political freedom lies in not being silenced.

I will not be silenced by those who cannot accept my political affiliations.

I will not be silenced by those who cannot accept the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ as I have heard it.

I will not be silenced by those who would pervert my faith for political ends.

I will not be silenced.

I will look, instead, to an America where justice, compassion, diversity, and the peace of God are allowed to live and flourish, and where we as a community can reach for our highest potential together, rather than our lowest common denominator, separated by ideology and mean-spiritedness.

I extend my hand in friendship and brotherhood to all those who will accept it, and call upon them to walk away from the so-called “culture war” by seeking that which unites us, rather than that which will divide us.

I do this in the name of Jesus Christ, who dreamed of us all “being as one,” and of whom I am proud to declare myself a servant.

In his name, Amen.

Obviously, you don’t have to use the same Christian rhetoric I’ve used here. But that’s where I’m from, and I want the Christianists to know I’m proud of it.

Think you can do it?

Post below, or e- them to me at: faithforward at verizon dot net.

Update: Some folks have objected that beginning “I am not hostile to faith” buys into the Republican frame. Can’t say as how I disagree. Start your statements with something positive, along the lines of “I am a Democrat of faith,” or “I am a Democrat who appreciates faith.”

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