Save the Soul of Democracy, Save the Courts

Now comes the next step in the politicizing of the tragedy of Terri Schiavo–the battle for judicial nominees who will support the right wing agenda in the courts.

How do
we protect
the soul
of democracy
against bad
theology in
the service
of an imperial
state?
— Bill Moyers

The New York
Times
reports this morning that using this case as pretext
conservatives are preparing for a “bench clearing brawl” in Congress to get
their judicial nominees seated. Not exactly the language one would hope for when
talking about the rule of law.

Ignoring the fact that 19 judges
have adjudicated this case over a period of seven years, several court-appointed
physicians have examined Ms. Schiavo and concluded she is in a persistent
vegetative state, that a cat scan documented two years ago the atrophy of her
cerebral cortex and that her husband has reported she would prefer to be allowed
to die a natural death than linger like this, a conservative spokesperson
denigrates the whole court process because his narrow perspective has not been
upheld.

By any measure the justice
system has served Ms. Schiavo well. But justice was thrown to the wind and
replaced with special legislation that flew under the sanction of the rhetoric
of politicized religion.

This
ideology knows no limits. Bill Moyers, writing recently in Sojourners
about the whole range of issues that reveal religious arrogance,
issues a moving call to reclaim religious faith that is tolerant, prophetic,
seeks justice and, most of all, expresses the healing side of religion.

How do
we nurture
the healingl
side of
religion…?
— Bill Moyers

This
will require mature love which is more than mere sentimentality, he says.
Mature love (in the words of Reinhold Niebuhr) means being responsible; to our
family, toward our civilization and toward the universe of humankind. And such
love, Moyers says, “must lead on to justice.”

We need responsible leaders right now, leaders who express mature love and not political rhetoric. We need to end this political spectacle that is setting us against one another and denigrating to all of us, especially the sacred dignity of Ms. Schiavo.

We need a judicial system that stands straight against the winds of political ideology and does not bend under their pressure.

We
need political and religious leaders who speak and act courageously on behalf of
all of us and don’t seek political advantage in tragedies such as this.

We need justice. The soul of
democracy is at stake.

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