Friday, April 15, 2005
A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious.
Having failed to best the Minority Leader’s knowledge of traditional Senate rules, the Senate Majority Leader has taken a cue from his President and House Majority Leader to wrap himself deeper within the downy folds of the extreme right wing’s version of religious piety.
According to this morning’s New York Times, Bill Frist will speak to what is being called a “Justice Sunday” teleconference originating at a Louisville, Kentucky “mega church” to claim that Democratic use of the filibuster against President Bush’s extremist judicial candidates is really an attack upon what he calls “people of faith”:
Fliers for the telecast…depict a young man holding a Bible in one hand and a gavel in the other…Some of the nation's most influential evangelical Protestants are participating in the teleconference in Louisville, including Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Chuck Colson, the born-again Watergate figure and founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries; and Dr. Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary…The telecast also signals an escalation of the campaign for the rule change by Christian conservatives who see the current court battle as the climax of a 30-year culture war.
That the hopelessly rule-muddled Majority Leader would hitch his star-crossed political wagon to the version of religious governmentalism espoused by SpongBob’s arch nemesis and one of Dick Nixon’s dirty tricksters shows the futility of his tradition-defying cause.
I was intrigued by the term “mega church” which I promptly Googled along with “Justice Sunday” and “Louisville”.
I got some interesting results.
While the Google-impaired New York Times failed to identify the organizing church, a Family Research Council document posted on the Free Republic site stated that Frist’s sermon on the mount would take place at the Highview Baptist Church in Louisville.
The webpage for the Highview Baptist mega church proudly markets itself as “one church two locations” and displays images of two mammoth facilities on opposing sides of Louisville, photographs of a huge ministerial staff and endless lists of church-related activities including 27 separate activities occurring on the April 24th date separate from the Frist-Dobson event.
The Highview Baptist mega church webpage does not indicate the size of its multichurch congregation, however, an online story from Louisville Magazine describes another local mega church (Southeast Christian Church) and provides clues to Frist’s real political interest in the mega religious marketing concept:
Its members drop about $250,000 onto the collection plate every week. Including building-fund donations, they have given $63 million over the past four years…The sanctuary of its new $78 million church complex…will seat 9,000 people, 3,000 more than a full-capacity Louisville Gardens. The new complex has 50 acres of parking (about 4,800 spaces), 402 toilets and more floor space than National City Tower in downtown Louisville…[The church has] 12,000 members and an average weekly attendance of 10,500.
Modified Image: senate.gov, Google