Religious leaders James Dobson and Jerry Falwell and political leader Sen. Rick Santorum sought to rally conservative Christians to support confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito in a “Justice Sunday III” telecast Sunday night.

The rally was simulcast from Greater Exodus Baptist Church, an African-American congregation in Philadelphia, where Alito, whose Senate confirmation hearings began Monday, sits on the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said America’s freedom is at risk today “because of the actions of liberal activists judges on the Supreme Court,” according to a transcript.

“The Supreme Court has become the supreme branch of the government, imposing its unrestrained will on all of the people,” Santorum said. “The only way to restore this republic is to elevate honorable leaders like Samuel Alito, who want to replace the hubris of this court with humility and respected for the common sense of the American people.”

Hailing Alito as “a powerful intellect yet grounded in that common sense” and “a man of unparalleled legal knowledge and experience, yet appropriately unwilling to impose his views on the American people,” Santorum warned that “Democrats on the Judiciary Committee seem poised to drag these hearings into the gutter so they can continue their far-left judicial activism on the Supreme Court.”

“Are we going to stand by and allow the destruction of … the Constitution given to us some 290 years ago here in Philadelphia?” Santorum concluded. “If your answer is no, then join me to make sure the answer is yes on judge Sam Alito.”

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson said the effort to get Alito confirmed “may be one of the most important efforts that has occurred in recent history, because of the issue of judicial tyranny.”

Dobson blamed courts for taking away prayer in schools, the right to post the Ten Commandments in public buildings and for the “Nazi-esque” procedure called “partial-birth” abortion. He said judges now threaten to change the definition of marriage.

“Now, folks, the good news is that the president of the United States, George Bush, has nominated an outstanding judge to be a justice on the Supreme Court,” Dobson said.

“Samuel Alito has all of the qualifications,” Dobson said. “The American Bar Association, which I don’t agree with them on much, has given him the highest rating. He has more judicial experience than 105 out of 108 nominees to the Supreme Court, and he has made it very clear–and I believe him–that he will be an originalist. An originalist is one who will not legislate from the bench but who will interpret the Constitution, which is the limit of their ability.”

“And there’s going to be an all-out effort to defeat him,” Dobson said. “It starts tomorrow. And you’re going to hear all kinds of charges against him…. Do not believe it. This is a good man who will make right decisions.”

“I’m thankful that he’s been appointed and now I urge you, my friends and fellow Christians and neighbors and countrymen, I urge you to let your senators know how you feel about this. Tell them two things. One, do not filibuster,” Dobson said. “And give this man the courtesy of an up or down vote.”

Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell said Alito’s confirmation to the court would be the culmination of the work he started 30 years ago with the Moral Majority, “to mobilize people of faith and values in this country.”

“We were able to hold off Michael Moore and most of Hollywood and the national media and the Kennedy and other crowds, who fought so fiercely against the re-election of George Bush,” Falwell said. “That was just a year ago.”

“And now we’re looking at what we really started over 30 years ago–a reconstruction of a court system gone awry.”

Falwell said people should ignore talk shows saying Alito is bad and dishonest. “The fact is that he is a qualified justice, and all the president is trying to do is keep his promise to put on the court men like Scalia and Thomas, who will stand for a strict-constructionist application of the Constitution and stand for faith and family and all the things that this nation under God has for plus-200 years been,” Falwell said.

“I want to challenge every one of you watching by television. You have two senators. If you don’t know their names, you ought to repent first, and then call the U.S. Capitol and talk with whomever you can talk with and urge them to vote for the confirmation of this judge.”

Falwell said Alito’s confirmation could set the course for the Supreme Court for the next 30 years.

“What a wonderful thing that would be,” he said. “The wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, said violating God’s principles brings a nation to shame.

“Let’s confirm this man, Judge Alito, to the U.S. Supreme Court, and let’s make one more step towards bringing America back to one nation under God.”

A moderate Baptist ethicist, meanwhile, commented that “Justice Sunday” is really a misnomer.

“An authentically biblical Sunday emphasis on justice would center on both personal morality and social justice, underscoring the accountability of all to walk after God’s way,” said Robert Parham of the Baptist Center for Ethics. “‘Justice Sunday’ is a religious-right rally to bash Democrats and blame the courts. Justice Sunday is about imposing a political agenda through a controlled judiciary, nothing more.”

Parham said the event would do little to make America a more moral nation.

Bob Allen is managing editor of

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