Filibuster not a 'faith' issue, says pastor

Friday, April 9, 2021
Steve Jordahl (

U.S. Capitol 1A Southern Baptist pastor in Texas says the call by a group of "progressive" religious leaders to do away with the filibuster rule in the U.S. Senate is off the mark and ignores the fact that the rule is designed to allow those in minority to have a say.

Historically, the filibuster was meant to ensure that those in power in the Senate had to work with the minority when crafting legislation. Both sides needed to cooperate – at least a little bit – if it took 60 votes for a bill to become a law.

These days, however, bipartisan cooperation on Capitol Hill is at a premium – and now a coalition of liberal faith leaders is asking the Senate to get rid of the procedural tool that makes any bill take 60 votes to pass. The coalition is calling the filibuster "immoral" – but Dr. Robert Jeffress of First Baptist-Dallas begs to differ.

"We need to be very clear that the idea of the filibuster is a political issue. It is not a biblical issue, by any stretch of the imagination," he tells One News Now.

Speaking for the coalition, Rev. William Barber stated:

"Today we come because we as clergy – pastors, imams, rabbis, people from the Hindu community and the Muslim community – are challenging the immorality of the filibuster. We can no longer have an impoverished democracy because a minority group of senators want to shut down open debate and shut down bringing issues to the floor, address the critical issues that face us as a people in this nation."

Jeffress points out that the 60-vote threshold has been used – and misused – by both political parties when they are in the minority. "Conservatives used the very same language when they accused the filibuster as being pro-abortion and allowing for the dissolution of religious liberty," he shares.


But he acknowledges the filibuster does have its place.

"I think at first glance it seems to be anti-democratic. We've lived under this idea that the majority rules," the pastor notes. "But I also think there may be some wisdom in allowing people who are in the minority – and today it's Republicans – to have some type of voice in the shaping of legislation."

As for the progressive faith leaders? "Unfortunately," says Jeffress, "some who term themselves as 'progressive' clergy have progressed beyond the Bible – and that's always a dangerous place to be."

Abolishing the filibuster – or even modifying it – would be difficult at this time because it would require not only Republican support but also that of some Democrats who are reluctant to change the rule. The Senate is currently split 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote.

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