Son of Justice Sunday

This weekend (Aug. 13-14) on your NPR affiliate: The Revealer‘s Jeff Sharlet talks with Brooke Gladstone of “On the Media” about “Justice Sunday II.” Last April, Justice Sunday helped focus the faithful of the Christian conservative movement on “judicial activism”; it also afforded Senator Bill Frist an opportunity to declare Democrats the opponents of “people of faith.” This Sunday, Justice Sunday II will be broadcast on Christian radio and television networks reaching 61 million American homes. The story’s a bit different this time. Instead of going on the offensive, the Family Research Council is playing defense, protecting a “man of faith” — Supreme Court nominee John Roberts — from the “hostile” maneuvers of the secular media.

A spokeswoman for “Justice Sunday II” told The Revealer that this summer sequel blockbuster will be an even bigger bash than the last, featuring an all-star bipartisan line-up and speakers from a variety of faiths. “Variety,” in this case, means an almost entirely protestant cast (James Dobson, Ted Haggard, and Chuck Colson among them), plus guest star Bill Donohue, of the ultra-conservative Catholic League. Bipartisan means Zell “Zealous” Miller, the alleged Democrat who delivered the most conservative speech at last year’s Republican National Convention.

Organizers also insist that this won’t be a political event so much as a spiritual one. That’s why they’ve also invited Tom DeLay.

All for naught, perhaps — “Justice Sunday II” is garnering little of the mainstream press attention of the first. But does that matter? Is this really a summer ratings ploy for Christian TV, or is it a sort of grand video conference for the movement’s organizing cadre — that is, the thousands of pastors who are to show the program in their churches and encourage their congregations to order “Save the Court” kits from the Family Research Council?

Tune in this weekend — to “Justice Sunday II” or to NPR’s “On the Media” — to find out.

Special Bonus: Do you remember when Daisy Duke’s cut-offs almost covered her ass? “Justice Sunday II” host Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council fondly recalls those short shorts, decrying the new Dukes of Hazzard for desecrating the wholesome standard set by that virtuous TV program of yesteryear.