The head of the leading ecumenical organization in the United States on Tuesday decried a campaign labeling opponents of President Bush’s judicial nominees as being against “people of faith.”

Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, wrote a letter to the editor at major newspapers urging Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and the Family Research Council to reconsider their plan to rally religious people to support change of Senate filibuster rules in a campaign called “Justice Sunday” this weekend.

Edgar, a United Methodist minister, said the event “should properly be called ‘Just-Us’ Sunday.”

“Their attempt to impose on the entire country a narrow, exclusivist, private view of truth is a dangerous, divisive tactic,” Edgar said. “It serves to further polarize our nation, and it disenfranchises and demonizes good people of faith who hold political beliefs that differ from theirs.”

“To brand any group of American citizens as ‘anti-Christian’ simply because they differ on political issues runs counter to the values of both faith and democracy,” Edgar said. “It is especially disheartening when that accusation is aimed at fellow Christians.”

“The National Council of Churches encompasses more than 45 million believers across a broad spectrum of theology and politics, who work together on issues important to our society,” Edgar continued. “If they disagree with Senator Frist’s political positions, are these 45 million Christians now considered ‘anti-Christian’?”

Edgar asked Frist and the Family Research Council to reconsider their plan “in the spirit of” First Timothy 6:3-5, a passage warning against “false doctrines” and unhealthy interest in “controversies and quarrels about words.”

“We will be praying for the Lord to minister to them and change their hearts so that they will not continue to take our nation down this destructive path,” he concluded.

Bob Allen is managing editor of

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