Justice Department and the Religious Right
From today's WaPo
The White House approved the firings of seven U.S. attorneys late last year after senior Justice Department officials identified the prosecutors they believed were not doing enough to carry out President Bush's policies on immigration, firearms and other issues, White House and Justice Department officials said yesterday.
Well what could some of these other issues be? How about this: the DOJ's new project entitled "First Freedoms Project". Its a new program whose purpose is to protect religious freedom in the U.S. Read a discussion of this program at Talk to Action.
Of course protecting religous freedom is a good goal. But did our beloved AG announce this at an interfaith meeting, of course not. He chose a meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee.
US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales sought out a meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee as his venue to unveil the new religious liberty initiative of the Department of Justice during a speech in Nashville on Tuesday. The "First Freedom Project" touts the Administration's record arguing religious freedom claims through its Civil Rights Division, provides resources on free exercise rights, and a new "Report on Enforcement of Laws Protecting Religious Freedom." The project also invites tips on potential discrimination the DOJ might investigate. Gonzales made special mention of this near the end of his talk:[M]ake no mistake, I am here to ask the Southern Baptist Convention, and all of you in this room, for your help. The Department of Justice has many tools to protect religious freedoms in this country, and we are using them. But even with all of our passion and our dedication to this cause, we cannot do it alone.
From the Tennessean
Gonzales's announcement was met with skepticism by local civil libertarians.
If the First Freedom Project was meant to protect the religious freedoms of all Americans, why was it was announced only to a room full of Southern Baptists, asked Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the Tennessee branch of the American Civil Liberties Union.
"Why was just one particular religious community there?" she said. "Religious freedom is a right all of us hold dear...You'd think you'd want the rainbow of religious beliefs represented."
Rather than protecting the religious freedom for all and upholding the non-establishment clause it seems to me that this is just another small step in helping the Dominionists gain yet even more political power. Just another step towards a fundamentalist fascist state. They keep chipping away at our freedoms.