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January 8, 2006
Justice Sunday III: Press Conference

3:01 ET - Activity has started to build in the media room at the Greater Exodus Baptist Church. It doesn't appear to be centered around the food table as it has been for the past hour, so it looks like we might get going soon ...

3:02 - Yeah, I know, the bloggers got to the table first, but that's the New, Younger, More Nimble Media for you ...

3:02 - Start is delayed for ten minutes due to a sound issue. Attention returns to the free food.

3:12 - Problem solved; we'll start in three minutes.

3:18 - Tony Perkins starts (President, FRC): Congregation excited about the opportunity to host JSIII. Runs down the list of grievances that "present a clear and present danger" to the exercise of free religion. Explicitly denies that he wants to impose a theocracy on the US.

3:23 - Dr. Herbert Lusk says the family in the US is "on the ropes" and says an alliance between GEPC and the FRC is obvious. "It's not about Herb Lusk ... It's about Jesus." He reminds the media that he played for the Eagles just long enough to be able to study for his mission. He loves the city; "I mean them no harm -- I mean them justice." Dr. Lusk spoke softly but eloquently, and spontaneously; he didn't have any notes for the presentation.

3:25 - Colin Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring: Says that this is not a political reality, but a demand for a return to the liberty of free speech. He spearheaded the effort for Chester County, PA to get the 3rd Appellate Circuit to unanimously rule that government entities could indeed display the Ten Commandments on public grounds.

3:33 - Charmaine Yoest, VP FRC: We have every right to speak out and we intend to do so. Dr. Lusk adds to his comments -- "This is not a right issue or a left issue; it's a righteous issue."

3:35 - Question about this site as the selection for JSIII. Perkins notes that Philadelphia is central to American liberty and they wanted to stage the event in that kind of setting.

3:37 - Tom Edsell from the WaPo says that the churches usually win the cases, so there should be no cause for the concern. Perkins replies that the cost and effort to win at the appellate level is so onerous as to intimidate people from expressing their religion.

3:45 - USA Today wonders why Jerry Falwell did not get invited to speak at the first two Justice Sunday rallies but got included in this. Perkins responded by noting what a nice man Falwell is -- "a big teddy bear", Perkins calls him.

3:47 - Kim Hefling wants to know how this will support Alito. Perkins notes that the FRC has taken no position on Alito's confirmation and won't prior to his confirmation. Perkins follows up by saying that the FRC hopes Alito gets a fair shake and an honest vote.

3:49 - Dr. Lusk interrupts, saying that his greatest hope will be to show those people who have never been in an African-American worship service how his community celebrates their faith. Stacy asks about the reported break-in from last night, but Dr. Lusk clarifies that the incident involved someone interrupting his service yesterday evening. He got a good laugh when he said, "Of course, when he spoke out, we laid hands on him -- and he soon departed." The intruder shouted something about the separation of church and state, but no one knows if the man represented an organization.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 8, 2006 2:00 PM

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