Washington, April 18 – Today, in response to the resignation of James Towey as director of the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives, The Interfaith Alliance again called on President Bush to end his unconstitutional experiment in government funding of religion and to eliminate that White House office and similar offices in federal departments and agencies.
“Mr. President, for the sake of religious liberty, please stop mixing religion with politics in the appropriations process and stop violating the Constitution by sponsoring and funding favored religious groups,” said the Rev. Welton Gaddy, president of The Interfaith Alliance. “A past director and a past deputy director of the president’s faith-based office have testified that it is and has always been a program designed to gain political advantage rather than to increase help to those in need. While the president has talked endlessly about the need for federal funding of religious organizations, he has decreased total funds going to faith-based social service providers in recent years.
“Because the Congress wisely refused to approve the president’s programs to funnel money to organizations that discriminate in hiring and that proselytize recipients, the president issued several executive orders in his first term bringing in five years of public policy that have been bad for religion and bad for democracy.
“We believe that appropriate partnerships between religious organizations and the government for the purpose of helping those in need can be of great mutual benefit. For many decades, organizations like Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services and United Jewish Communities have performed invaluable services with financial assistance from the government. But they carefully separate religious activities from their 501(c) (3) social services programs. They follow all civil rights laws and they don’t discriminate in hiring based on religion. We encourage the continuation of federal support for such healthy partnerships, but neither job applicants nor recipients of assistance should have to risk the sacrifice of their religious freedom.”
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.