Frist Will Not Appear On 'Justice Sunday II' Following Stem Cell Comments

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist was not invited to the upcoming "Justice Sunday II" evangelical rally, following what many conservatives are calling an about face on the the stem cell issue.

Earlier this week, the senator said he would support additional funds to expand human embryonic stem cell research.

Event organizer, President Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council called the Senator's stance an "unwise" choice; House Majority Leader Tom Delay, R-Texas, was invited to speak at the August 14 event.

Justice Sunday II will be the second event this year designed to draw attention to the judicial system. The first event focused on preventing Senators from filibustering conservative judicial nominees. The second event will continue that focus, according to a spokeswoman for the FRC.

On the first Justice Sunday, Frist had argued for changing Senate rules to prohibit filibustering if it impeded the judicial nomination process.

Organizers of the second event hope to show support for current Supreme Court Nominee John Roberts, who many conservative Christians view favorably.

Scheduled to attend the rally will be Focus on the Family President James Dobson via videotape. He has said that Frist's position on the stem cell research is "the worst kind of betrayal," adding that Frist's support of additional embryonic stem cell funding would reduce his chances of receiving conservative Christian support if he decided to run for president in 2008.

A spokesman for Focus on the Family also spoke about Sen. Frist's apparent change of position.

"Our views have not changed; Sen. Frist's views have evidently changed," said spokesman Paul Hetrick to AP.

Frist maintains that his views on expanding embryonic stem cell research funding do not contradict his opposition to abortion.

The August 14 event will take place at the 3,400 seat Two Rivers Baptist Church. Expected to attend are Senator Zell Miller, (D-GA); Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council; Dr. James Dobson (by video tape) of Focus on the Family; Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship Ministries; Bill Donohue of the Catholic League; Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum; Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Family Research Council; Dr. Jerry Sutton, Two Rivers Baptist Church; Bishop Harry Jackson, Hope Christian Church; Ted Haggard, National Association of Evangelicals; and Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) House Majority Leader.