Washington, D.C. – Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement today following the release of the final report of the White House office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives:
“Maybe today’s final report from the White House on the faith-based initiative is the final act in an eight-year long charade, the true intent of which remains un-acknowledged. Indeed, nowhere in this wrap-up narrative on President Bush’s faith-based initiative will you find an admission that Congress never approved or funded the office, a note about the initiative’s divisiveness in local communities in which various religious groups were not treated equally, or a confession of the rank politicization of the office by electioneering politicos in the White House not to mention the threat to religious freedom as guaranteed by the constitution. As some former workers in the faith based office have pointed out, the zeal of the office was most apparent in so-called faith-based rallies held in swing states in election years and through unfettered government intrusion into sectarian organizations as federal funds were poured into the offering plates of religious organizations. The Bush Administration used this controversial office to direct money to friends on the religious right pretending that no constitutional boundaries exist between institutions of religion and agencies of government. We should all be thankful the charade is over.”
“While I would have preferred that the incoming Obama administration close down this office, I am pleased by the transition team’s willingness to listen to concerns raised by those of us who have been critical of the office over the years. I await Mr. Obama’s proposal for the future of the faith-based initiative with cautious optimism.”
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.