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Filibuster fight has former pastor Rick Scarborough in spotlight

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Rick Scarborough’s name may not be as well-known as James Dobson’s, but he’s been getting plenty of attention in the midst of the debate over judicial filibusters.

Scarborough, a former Southern Baptist pastor and the president of the pro-family group Vision America, has been an outspoken advocate of a Senate rule change that would ban judicial filibusters. Both Time magazine and The Washington Post have profiled Scarborough in recent days.

“Like so many of his preaching peers — from D. James Kennedy in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Rod Parsley near Columbus, Ohio — Scarborough believes that ‘activist’ judges have imposed their personal beliefs by creating new rights on abortion, gay marriage and pornography that aren’t expressly stated in the Constitution,” Time’s Daniel Eisenberg writes in the May 23 edition of the magazine.

Scarborough, 55, served as pastor of First Baptist Church of Pearland, Texas, from 1990 until 2002 when he resigned to devote all of his time to Vision America (online at www.visionamerica.us). Through the organization, Scarborough seeks to build a network of pastors who will engage the culture. It has seen a growth spurt of late and has some 5,000 members, according to The Post.

“While [Scarborough] lacks the name recognition of more prominent religious activists, such as James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and evangelist Pat Robertson, Scarborough is a potent force with close ties to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and influential Senate conservatives,” The Post’s Shailagh Murray wrote in a May 8 story. “… Now that he is in the thick of the filibuster controversy, Scarborough’s op-ed pieces are being picked up by major newspapers, and copies of his nine-year-old book, ‘Enough is Enough,’ which discusses judicial overreach, are in big demand.”

Even liberal groups have taken notice.

“He [Scarborough] has made himself a major player,” Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State told The Post.

A graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, Scarborough also serves as acting chairman of the Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration (JCCCR, online at stopactivistjudges.org), an organization that works toward reforming the federal judiciary. Among its executive committee members are Phyllis Schlafly, Jerry Falwell and Ray Flynn — the former mayor of Boston who fought “gay marriage” legalization in Massachusetts.

In April USA Today published an editorial by Scarborough written on behalf of JCCCR.

“We are defending the Constitution and liberty,” he wrote. “By regularly exceeding their constitutional authority — in effect, legislating from the bench — liberal judges are destroying representative government. An amendment to the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of Congress and ratification by three-quarters of the states. But the Supreme Court has taken to routinely ‘amending’ the Constitution to suit the whims of a shifting majority of justices, often with dire consequences.”

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