Religious Right, Santorum Sing Praises of Alito at Phila. Church Rally

Church & State, February 2006 | Go to article overview

Religious Right, Santorum Sing Praises of Alito at Phila. Church Rally


Religious Right groups sponsored a nationally televised rally Jan. 8 to press for the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito Jr., insisting his vote on the high court will help reverse judicial decisions upholding church-state separation.

"Justice Sunday III," as the event was dubbed, took place at the Greater Exodus Baptist Church in Philadelphia on the day before Senate confirmation hearings for Alito began in Washington. The rally, sponsored by the Family Research Council, drew an array of Religious Right activists and their allies, including the Rev. Jerry Falwell, James Dobson of Focus on the Family and U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).

Rhetoric in the pulpit was shrill and often partisan. Falwell, for example, depicted the fight to confirm Alito as an extension of three decades of Religious Right work on behalf of the conservative Republicans.

"We were able to hold off Michael Moore," he thundered, "and most of Hollywood and most of the national media ... who fought so fiercely against the reelection of George Bush. Now we are looking at what we really started 30 years ago: the reconstruction of a court system gone awry."

Falwell implored listeners to call the Senate and demand Alito's confirmation.

"Get on the telephone, write your letter, get to your U.S. senators," the controversial Lynchburg evangelist demanded. "Let's confirm this man, Judge Alito, to the U.S. Supreme Court. And let's make one more step toward bringing America back to one nation under God."

U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) told the crowd that liberal judges are intent on "destroying traditional morality, creating a new moral code and prohibiting dissent."

Santorum, who faces a tough reelection campaign this year, is apparently trying to rally his Religious Right base. He continued, "The only way to restore this republic our founders envisioned is to elevate honorable jurists like Samuel Alito. Unfortunately, the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee seem poised to drag these hearings into the gutter, so they can continue their far-left judicial activism on the Supreme Court. …

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