Justice Sunday II was an event, held on 8/14/2005, attended by religious and political conservatives from James Dobson and Tony Perkins to Tom Delay and Zell Miller.
Basically the speakers at the event whined and moaned about what they see as judges who don’t support their skewed view of the world. Any judge that doesn’t uphold the event participants religious beliefs in their rulings are seen as “unelected, unaccountable and arrogant,” as James Dobson told the crowd.
Audience member Mike Miller put it simply when he said, “Activist justices – we’re trying to find out what we can do to stop that activity. Our laws are based on the Ten Commandments.”
Of course he’s wrong but the supposedly educated participants ignore the fact that “our laws” aren’t based on the Ten Commandments.
If there were laws based just on the first three of the Ten Commandments [Have No Other Gods, Do Not Make Idols, Do Not Take The Lord’s Name In Vain], they would most likely be ruled unconstitutional if challenged in court today. They would bump up against the most important fundamental right in the Constitution: the absolute right to believe whatever one chooses that derives from the First Amendment’s free exercise and free speech clauses.
But this isn’t an old argument. Even during the time of this country’s founders, the claim that our laws are based on the 10 Commandments had to be answered. Thomas Jefferson spoke out against attempts to claim that the law incorporated the Ten Commandments when he criticized judges for “lay [ing] the yoke of their own opinions on the necks of others by declaring that [the Ten Commandments] make a part of the law of the land.” John Adams also questioned the influence of the Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount on the legal system.
The speakers at the event, calling for judges who rule based on their religious bias rather than rational logic, were a who’s who of the usual religious hypocrites we know and “love”. You had Tony Perkins who delusional believes that Christians are being persecuted because they can’t impose their beliefs on others through the hammer of the courts. There was Chuck Colson, convicted felon from the Watergate conspiracy speaking about preaching to prisoners. Conservative Phyllis Schlafly telling the crowd that “activist judges” are THE most dangerous thing facing Americans ignoring the political conservative mantra about terrorism and Osama Bin Laden are THE most dangerous thing. Former US Senator Zell Miller talking about government needing to remind us of the dangers of living a sinful life who, during an interview during the 2004 GOP Convention, challenged media talking head Chris Matthews to a duel. Not to mention several in the audience who want to keep gays from marrying to protect the sanctity of marriage while they are on their 2nd or 3rd marriage.
Luckily the Justice Sunday II charade was unmasked by those in the religious community who don’t agree with the likes of Dobson and Perkins.
“This is so Americans can see the ‘Justice Sunday’ sponsors and Tom DeLay don’t have any exclusive hold on religion,” said Glenn Smith, an organizer of “Community of Faith and Unity Gathering.”
Rita Nakashima Brock, founder of Faith Voices for the Common Good, said “Justice Sunday II” was calling for a theocracy instead of democracy.
“Those people meeting with Tom DeLay, Chuck Colson and Jim Dobson think they own the Bible and that God speaks only to them,” Brock said.
The Daily Show with John Stewart had another classic response to Zell Miller. It showed the clip of Miller telling the audience that while the government makes sure that signs are posted at gas pumps to warn people of the danger of smoking near gasoline, it doesn’t want to put up signs to warn people of living a sinful life. To which Stewart responded:
“That’s how it should be. No smoking signs at gas stations and no religion in the public square. I think the government should keep us from being engulfed in flames here on Earth and that’s pretty much it…”