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FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Bill Frist's jihad on U.S. Senate myopic

Until recent years, the U.S. Senate was our legislative house of manners. While Republicans and Democrats disagreed on many issues since the two-party system evolved, they did so in the Senate with courtesy, with respect and within the rules.

But Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., wants to change all that. Because Democrats have used the long-standing procedural tool of the filibuster threat to block a fraction of President Bush's most conservative federal judicial nominees, Sen. Frist wants to change the Senate rules and eliminate the filibuster during judicial confirmation proceedings.

To promote his agenda, Sen. Frist has indicated he will participate in a national telecast Sunday, sponsored by the Family Research Council and originating from Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., with evangelical leaders Dr. James Dobson and Chuck Colson.

The simulcast, being offered to churches and other groups nationwide, is billed as "Justice Sunday" and its message, organizers say, is that the filibuster is being used by Democrats as an attack on people of faith.

Religion, which should be the one institution that can unite men and women of diverse backgrounds, is being used as a tool of political divisiveness that promotes contention.

While the Family Research Council has every right to broadcast its views on the judicial nomination process, and churches have the right — however unwise — to show the broadcast in their buildings, Sen. Frist's participation in the simulcast is disturbing.

It lends legitimacy to those who claim to have a monopoly on faith and who would stamp out political dissent in the name of God.

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