Washington, DC – In response to the attorney general’s announcement of what he calls The First Freedom Project, The Interfaith Alliance released the following statement by the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy:
“The Interfaith Alliance would welcome an initiative by the Bush administration to truly preserve and protect religious freedom in America, but their track record shows that they only believe in one of the First Amendment’s two religious freedom clauses.
How hypocritical and timely. Next week in Hein vs. Freedom From Religion Foundation, the administration will argue before the Supreme Court that taxpayers should be denied the right to legally challenge government spending that favors one religion. So this week they unveil an initiative that claims to protect our religious liberties. No administration in our history has trampled the First Amendment more than the Bush Administration.
Calling this program First Freedom is a typical strategy of the Bush administration. They assign a name to a program that hides its true purpose, just as they did with the USA PATRIOT Act, the Healthy Forest Restoration Act, and No Child Left Behind.
In the most religiously diverse nation in the world, freedom of religion is not the freedom to impose or even favor one religion over others. We invite everyone who cares about religious freedom to compare the attorney general’s First Freedom Project with First Freedom First (www.firstfreedomfirst.org), a joint initiative of The Interfaith Alliance Foundation and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Our program, First Freedom First, includes a petition that has already been signed by over 100,000 people which will be presented to political leaders throughout the nation to encourage their renewed commitment to the First Amendment.”
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.