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WASHINGTON - Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., lashed out at Focus on the Family on Thursday, saying the group is using "un-Christian" political tactics in the fight over White House judicial appointments.
Salazar defended Democrats' right to filibuster what they consider objectionable nominees and blasted the Colorado Springs-based evangelical Christian group for recent ads urging him to "STOP the nonsense."
"I do think that what has happened here is there has been a hijacking of the U.S. Senate by what I call the religious right wing of the country," Salazar said at a Capitol Hill news conference Wednesday.
He singled out Focus on the Family by name, objecting to full-page newspaper ads that the ministry's political arm recently placed, targeting 20 senators in 15 states.
"I think what has happened is Focus on the Family has been hijacking Christianity and become an appendage of the Republican Party," Salazar said in an interview. "I think it's using Christianity and religion in a very unprincipled way."
A Focus on the Family spokesman fired back, saying Salazar was siding with liberal Democrats who have questioned some judicial nominees about their strong religious views and stalled nominations.
"I'm flabbergasted the senator would call our Christianity into question," said Tom Minnery, the group's vice president of public policy.
WASHINGTON — Sen. Mark Pryor lashed out Wednesday at the Christian evangelicals who have joined the attack on Democratic filibusters of President Bush’s judicial nominees.
Their tactics threaten "to make the followers of Jesus Christ just another special-interest group," Pryor said in a conference call with Arkansas reporters. "It is presumptuous of them to think that they represent all Christians in America, even to say they represent all evangelical Christians," added Pryor, 42, a first-term Democrat who has considered himself an evangelical Christian for 25 years.