Sunday, February 04, 2007



One of the great things about intelligent design theory is that long-suffering secular types like us get to be lectured on morals by convicted felons like Chuck Colson.

Colson, for those who don't remember, is the man who drew up Nixon's enemies list. He also "sought to hire Teamsters thugs to beat up anti-war demonstrators, and he plotted to raid or firebomb the Brookings Institution," according to Slate's David Plotz.

"I'd walk over my own grandmother to re-elect Richard Nixon," Colson once bragged.

When the Nixon administration's cover up of the Watergate scandal finally was unraveled, Colson was disbarred. He served seven months in the Maxwell Correctional Facility in Alabama.

No longer employable in government and barred from the practice of law, Colson reinvented himself as a born-again evangelical who now advises the rest of us on what is right and what is wrong.

In his new occupation as a stern enforcer of Old Testament morals, Colson informs us that maybe he's "an idealist, but going back to law school, I have always respected judges."

Only the terminally naive will take Colson's protestation of respect for judges seriously. Just last year, Colson was a prominent speaker at Justice Sunday II, a far-right fundamentalist prayer session and political rally designed to whip up a frenzy against an “activist” judiciary that's trying to “silence” people of faith.

Colson regularly rails against so-called activist judges on his BreakPoint website and in opinion pieces published at where he rages against " judges whose animus for the electorate knows no bounds."

Now, Colson is going after Judge Jones for his ruling in the Dover intelligent design case and he's using the long discredited Discovery Institute charge that Jones plagiarized his decision and a commencement speech at Farleigh Dickenson.
The Old Testament warns judges: “You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality.” Cutting and pasting from one side’s brief does not say much for impartiality—something for you to point out next time someone throws the Dover decision in your face.
The second great thing about intelligent design and its prophets is that they -- and they alone -- get to pick and choose which Old Testament injunctions they will follow. God's commandment that "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour" is, apparently, optional for those who work in the radical right's moral enforcement division.

The none-too-subtle message that Colson, the Discovery Institute, and others on the radical right are sending to their followers is that the law and judges rulings need not be obeyed.

The death threats that Judge Jones received following his ruling -- threats that required protection of the judge and his family from the U. S. Marshals Service -- demonstrates that Discovery and Colson's followers get the message loud and clear.

Attacks on the judiciary by some Republican leaders pose a direct threat to our constitutional freedoms, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said in a speech at Georgetown University reports NPR's Nina Totenburg .
Pointing to the experiences of developing countries and former communist countries where interference with an independent judiciary has allowed dictatorship to flourish, O’Connor said we must be ever-vigilant against those who would strongarm the judiciary into adopting their preferred policies. It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, she said, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings.

Colson's conversion to fundamentalist Christianity hasn't changed his character. He is still the sort of man who would walk over his grandmother to get what he wants. Nowadays, he'd walk over the courts and the Constitution, too.

If you got in his way, he'd walk over you. And as he put his boot in your face, he'd lecture you about your moral failings.


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