In response to the news of Mrs. Terri Schiavo's death, some religious and political leaders showed their true colors by issuing disturbing statements. For weeks, U.S. Rep. Tom Delay and Focus on the Family's James Dobson have trumpeted their opposition to removing Mrs. Shiavo's feeding tube. But the rhetoric they used in responding to the Florida woman's passing was over the top.
Sadly these quotations are not an April Fool's Day joke; they are all too real.
DeLay's words were both cryptic and alarming. In his official press statement, he ominously declared that "the time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior." Perhaps he is threatening members of the federal judiciary with eternal damnation or perhaps he means something of a more corporeal nature. Regardless, it is peculiar for the majority leader of the House of Representatives to appear to threaten members of the court who fail join the lock-step right-wing march of his Congress.
Dobson issued a similarly odd statement in the following exchange with Wolf Blitzer on CNN.
DOBSON: ... But the aspect of it that concerns us the most is that all the great moral decisions in this country, whether it's the sanctity of life or the definition of marriage, or what we can do with the Ten Commandments, all of them are made by the courts. Our founding fathers intended that this would be a government of the people, by the people, for the people. But now the final arbiter of every significant moral issue comes down to unelected, unaccountable judges to the judiciary.
BLITZER: ... Isn't it the nature of the American legal system, the separation of powers between the executive branch, the judicial branch, the legislative branches? That there are these checks and balances that have guided this country for more than 200 years?
DOBSON: ... But neither of them check the courts. They're totally out of control. And there is, you know, almost a feeling of futility when it comes to the courts handing down decisions that contradict the will of the people.
You know, we saw it two weeks ago with regard to executing minors. Seventy percent of the people disagree with that. It doesn't matter what the people think and the -- neither the executive nor the legislature will step in.
Whether or not his statistic is accurate, Dobson seems to be saying that the courts should rule in accordance with public opinion to the point of executing 16-year-olds but protect "life" when it comes to Mrs. Schiavo and abortion. This is a curious position indeed but it gets stranger.
Dobson continued his tirade, saying:
"The Constitution, Article III, Section I, says that the Congress shall have the right to set up and provide jurisdiction for all the courts below the Supreme Court. They can cancel them at will. They can change them. They can -- they could take away the franchise, if you will, for, say, the 9th Circuit out in California and re-establish it the next day.
They've got all kinds of power in dealing with the courts. But they haven't had the political gumption to deal with it."
Not only does DeLay want to have judges "answer" for their rulings and Dobson wants them to bend to the "will of the people," they should also have their "franchise" revoked by the whim of Congress.
Americans are increasingly becoming aware of the radical agenda of DeLay and Dobson. With statements like these, the true extent of these men's extremism and disdain for the American political system have become apparent.