Justice Sunday

You may have already heard about "Justice Sunday," an event planned by Family Research Council and several other Christian groups. It will be a simulcast this Sunday night, shown in a thousand churches, in which we'll be asking Christians to call their senators next week and demand that the rules of the Senate be changed, so that judges can no longer be filibustered. The mere announcement of this simulcast created a firestorm. Senators Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Reid (D-Nev.), among others, want to know what right people of faith have to speak out on this area. My response is, what good reason could there be for people of faith not to get involved in public issues? Augustine said, "We are to be the best of citizens," because we do out of love for God what others do only because they are required to. That includes speaking out on issues of importance in the public square. And who injected religion into this debate over judges in the first place? When Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor -- one of the most decent men I have known in my life and a great public servant -- was nominated for the Eleventh Circuit Court, his nomination was filibustered to death. Why? Because, as a believing Catholic, he is pro-life and made no excuses for his position. It was blatant bigotry on the part of filibustering senators. So it was as well with Judge Charles Pickering, from Mississippi, when he was nominated for the Eleventh Circuit. One of Pickering's offenses, according to groups that opposed him, was to tell a defendant after he was sentenced that he ought to look up Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship when he got to prison and straighten his life out. For that and other equally heinous charges, he was denied his seat on the Appellate Court. All of this is reminiscent of what happened in England in the latter part of the eighteenth century. William Wilberforce was conducting the campaign against the slave trade when Lord Melbourne stood on the floor of the Parliament and said, "Things have come to a pretty pass . . . when religion is allowed to invade public life." Well, thank God religion did invade public life, because it brought an end to slavery. And as for that charge that you hear all the time that we religious believers are trying to impose our will on others -- we can't impose anything. We can simply speak out as citizens. It might interest you to know where that charge of "imposing your will" came from -- not from the days of the Moral Majority in the eighties, but rather from the 1860 presidential campaign, when Lincoln's detractors charged that he was trying to impose his moral views upon society. Again, thank God he succeeded in changing the nation. So Christians have a right -- indeed a duty -- to call their senators and tell them that what is going on is outrageous. These nominees are being opposed by a minority, not because they are unfit, but because the minority does not agree with their views. They are constitutionally entitled to an up or down vote. Filibusters have never been used with judicial nominations. If you belong to a church that has signed up for the simulcast, watch it Sunday night. It begins at 7:00 P.M. (ET). If not, you can get it at the same time at Whatever you do, understand the arguments and speak out next week. If Christians are not heard from this coming week, it would mean that those who would silence us have won the victory.


Chuck Colson


  • Facebook Icon in Gold
  • Twitter Icon in Gold
  • LinkedIn Icon in Gold

Sign up for the Daily Commentary