Some religious leaders yesterday criticized this weekend's evangelical rally on judicial issues, arguing that the event suggests an imposition of faith on matters of U.S. public life.
"Those in public office must never make religion the lens" through which constitutional matters are decided, said the Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance.
The Justice Sunday II rally in Nashville is the second in a series of televised church demonstrations organized by the Family Research Council to pressure legislators to follow evangelical positions on the judiciary. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) is scheduled to speak.
"It is entirely inappropriate to assume that a person's ideology is a barometer of their personal faith," said the Rev. Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches USA and a former Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania.
An FRC spokeswoman said last week that one of the rally's primary purposes is to encourage confirmation of John G. Roberts Jr., President Bush's nominee to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court. Roberts has come under some criticism from evangelicals after news reports that he had done pro bono work as a lawyer on behalf of gay rights activists for a 1996 Supreme Court case.