The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 21:30:26 -0500
From: Not In Our Name <>
Subject: Immediate Action: Protest Rightwing Attacks on Independent Judiciary


April 20, 2005

Dear Friends of the Not In Our Name Statement of Conscience:

This Sunday, April 24th, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will be joining major Christian fundamentalist leaders in a national telecast from Louisville to challenge the independence and legitimacy of the court system, calling the courts “out of control”. As the NY Times put it 4/16/05: "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.” [See article links at end of message.]

Bold opposition to Frist and these moves could galvanize much wider opposition. We are witnessing here moves to destroy the whole system of checks and balances, to destroy the separation between church and state, and to cement in place one-party, theocratic rule. See the Family Research Council website ( ) for information on Sunday’s event. Contact Not In Our Name ( ) for information on counter protests in Louisville. Join in if you possibly can.

If you can’t get to Louisville, there are other avenues to speak out on this issue:
-- Send this e-mail out to family, friends. Post it to bulletin boards and blogs.
-- Pass out the Not In Our Name Statement of Conscience (NION SOC) at churches, synagogues, temples and mosques; work places, union halls, organization meetings. Pass the statement out at a church in your area that will be part of the simulcast. (download the whole statement at ).
  --Write to the editorial page of your local newspaper (and send a copy to us for posting, and to post on the internet.

And especially,

-- Contribute generously to the NION SOC and encourage friends, family, co-workers and everyone you meet to do so too. The cost of "free speech" in this country is very high and as e-mails we have received testify, people need to and want to see this statement. There’s nowhere else that people are finding what is in their heads and their hearts. The suggested contribution is $200, but all contributions are very welcome. Because there are thousands of signers, not all names can appear in the printed ads, but the names of all signers are posted on the web site. Contribute on line at  or  make a check payable to Not In Our Name and mail to: Not In Our Name,  305 West Broadway, #199,  NY, NY 10013.

We are continuing to raise money to publish the NION SOC in Colorado, Florida and in the Columbia University newspaper, the Columbia Spectator. The publication of the NION statement in Colorado, Florida and at Columbia University will bring powerful voices of conscience and hope to those areas where progressive academics have been threatened by campus crusades led by right-wing groups.  Many people have written to us about the need to reach out to different audiences with this statement. Here is a chance to do just that and in places where the need to see this statement is great. We encourage you to contribute generously to make this happen.

With warm regards and urgency,

Janet Yip
>From the Not In Our Name Statement of Conscience Staff

Here are a couple of articles to look into:

** Writing about this on-going, relentless power grab, Frank Rich pointed out (NYT 3/27/05 ): "an ABC News survey last weekend found that only 27 percent of Americans thought it was 'appropriate' for Congress to ‘get involved’ in the Schiavo case and only 16 percent said it would want to be kept alive in her condition. But a majority of American colonists didn't believe in witches during the Salem trials either -- any more than the Taliban reflected the views of a majority of Afghans. At a certain point -- and we seem to be at that point -- fear takes over, allowing a mob to bully the majority over the short term.  (Of course, if you believe the end is near, there is no long term.)… The Harvard Law School constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe pointed out last week that even Joe McCarthy did not go so far as this Congress and president did in conspiring to 'try to undo the processes of a state court.' But faced with McCarthyism in God's name, most  Democratic leaders went into hiding and stayed silent. Prayers are no more likely to revive their spines than poor Terri Schiavo's brain."

  ** An article by Clark Kissinger,  <>  Taking Down the Courts:
"A coalition of Christian fascists and more traditional reactionaries is now threatening to exercise what Senator Trent Lott has dubbed 'the nuclear option.' The proposal is to force through a change in the rules of the Senate to outlaw filibusters by the minority for the first time in U.S. history. Make no mistake about it. This is a very serious matter that could pose the potential for a constitutional crisis. Not only does this 'nuclear option' attempt to pack the judiciary, it also attempts to break the traditional restraining power of a minority of the Senate as well. This would effectively end the much vaunted system of checks and balances, and transfer effective power to the presidency."

** From The Nation <>
  April 25 editorial:
"If the nuclear option is invoked, Congress will become an altered branch of government. In the absence of rules that require the consideration of minority views and values, the Senate will become little different from the House, where the party out of power is reduced almost to observer status. That's why Robert Byrd, dean of the Senate and the most ardent champion of the chamber's rules, called the nuclear option 'a legislative bomb that threatens the rights to dissent, to unlimited debate and to freedom of speech.'"

*** NY Times 4/16/05  David D. Kirkpatrick: Frist Set to Use Religious Stage on Judicial Issue

**** The January 2005 Not In Our Name Statement of Conscience <>:
"The Bush government seeks to impose a narrow, intolerant, and political form of Christian fundamentalism as government policy. No longer on the margins of power, this extremist movement aims to strip women of their reproductive rights, to stoke hatred of gays and lesbians, and to drive a wedge between spiritual experience and  scientific truth. We will not surrender to extremists our right to think. AIDS is not a punishment from God. Global warming is a real danger. Evolution happened. All people must be free to find meaning and sustenance in whatever form of religious or spiritual belief they choose. But religion can never be compulsory. These extremists may claim to make their own reality, but we will not allow them to make ours."

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