"Biblical law" attorney withdraws name

Controversial attorney J. Robert Brame III has asked the White House to
withdraw his name from consideration for a slot on the National Labor
Relations Board (NLRB), sources familiar with the situation have reported.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which had publicized
Brame’s ties to two extremist organizations that promote “biblical law,”
welcomed the development.

‘Mr. Brame’s ties to groups that oppose democracy and advocate theocracy
make him unsuitable for public office,’ said Barry W. Lynn, executive
director of Americans United. ‘He should never have been considered for this
post.”

Brame told The Washington Blade that he asked President George W. Bush this
week to remove his name from a list of possible NLRB nominees. He said he
has decided to pursue other endeavors. However, observers believe that the
national outcry sparked by Brame’s record is the real reason for his
withdrawal.

Americans United and a broad array of other civil liberties and progressive
groups rallied citizens across the country to contact the White House and
oppose the selection of Brame, whose nomination was considered almost
certain before the controversy erupted.

Brame has served as a top official of American Vision, an Atlanta-based
group that seeks to replace America’s secular democracy with a “Christian”
regime based on “biblical law,” including enforcement of the harsh legal
code of the Old Testament. He has also served as an advisor to the Plymouth
Rock Foundation, a Plymouth, Mass., group with similar views.

Brame recently resigned from the American Vision board after the group’s
controversial agenda became public. Though Brame served on the board since
at least 1994, he told The Wall Street Journal that he was unaware of
American Vision’s extreme views.

American Vision materials have described democracy as “the first step toward
fascism,” argue that women must be subordinate to men and insist that the
Bible requires the death penalty for gays.

Both American Vision and the Plymouth Rock Foundation are affiliated with
the so-called ‘Christian Reconstructionist’ movement, whose adherents seek
to replace American democracy with a theocracy based on their interpretation
of the Old Testament’s legal code.

Lynn cautioned that the situation must still be monitored. Although Brame
has said he is no longer interested in the position, media reports have
surfaced stating that Bush could still name Brame to the NLRB as a ‘recess
appointment.’ Under the terms of a recess appointment, Brame could serve on
the NLRB until the start of the next term of Congress in January of 2003,
without undergoing Senate confirmation.

Lynn said such a move would be a grave mistake.

‘President Bush should drop this nominee and find another candidate — and
this time it should be someone who respects America’s religious diversity
and understands the need to uphold individual freedom,’ Lynn said.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington,
D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the
importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.