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 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.