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 is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.