Today’s New York Times features a scary full page ad. The bold type headline, over large photos of Reverends Falwell and Robertson and James Dobson, reads: “Meet America’s Most Influential Stem Cell Scientists.” The ad is sponsored by DEFCON–a new and valuable online grassroots movement designed to combat the religious right ‘s threat to American democracy.

This campaign is needed now more than ever. Our health is being held hostage by an extremist minority. It’s been a year since the bipartisan Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act was passed by the House. Since then, it’s been blocked in the US Senate– held hostage by political opportunists like Majority Leader Frist, who seem to care more for their political health than that of millions of American children and families. Polls show overwhelming support for stem-cell research.

Even more important, at a time when our Constitution is under daily assault, it’s worth remembering that we elect leaders to put their hand on a Bible and swear to uphold the constitution–not the other way around.

As DEFCON’S ad starkly tells us: “Not since the Dark Ages have religious zealots held such dangerous power over scientific research.”

It’s time to end this immoral and unhealthy obstructionism. Go to DEFCON’s site and tell Frist and these religious extremists like Falwell and Dobson what you think.