Printer Friendly

Faith Czar Jim Towey declares 'culture war' at White House event.

Jim Towey, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, told attendees at a recent conference that there is a "culture war" under way pitting believers against those who want a "godless orthodoxy."

Speaking at the "First White House National Conference on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives" in Washington, D.C., June 1, Towey blasted critics who oppose the faith-based initiative on church-state grounds.

"It's true that much attention is being placed on the war in Iraq, but there's another war that's going on," Towey said. "It's a culture war that really gets to the heart of the questions about what is the role of faith in the public square."

Towey said the failure of government to acknowledge the role of religion is an effort at "creating a godless orthodoxy."

Towey singled out Americans United by name, criticizing the organization for opposing a government grant to the Salvation Army in Janesville, Wisc. AU said the funding was improper because Army officials vowed to include religious content in the program. Towey called AU supporters "radical fundamentalist secularists."

AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn quickly fired back, telling the Los Angeles Times, "Towey's right, there is a culture war in America. But his army is battling for discriminatory hiring and government-funded religion, and my army is fighting for voluntary aid to the poor in churches and in secular groups, and an end to bigotry."

President George W. Bush also spoke at the event, which drew some 2,000 religious leaders and social service providers. During his remarks, Bush noted that Congress refused to pass his "faith-based" plan but then insisted that he has implemented much of it anyway through executive orders.

Arguing that faith-based programs "do a better job than government can do," Bush said, "We welcome the army of compassion. We understand the power of faith in America, and the federal government will assist--not discriminate--against you."

Some critics say Bush and Towey have also been working to politicize the faith-based initiative. Bush strategists hope the effort will enable the president to win enough African-American and Hispanic votes to make a difference in swing states. Meanwhile, Towey has been arguing that if U.S. Sen. John E Kerry is elected in November, the initiative will be forgotten.

"I would expect that Sen. Kerry, if he was elected, would stick the faith-based initiative in the Smithsonian," Towey told the evangelical magazine World.

Attorneys at Americans United are looking for a good test case to challenge the faith-based initiative in court. AU members are asked to send any useful information to the national office in Washington.

Things to look for include: religious discrimination in employment in taxpayer-funded programs; religious discrimination against those in need in taxpayer-funded programs; diversion of tax dollars for religious purposes; tax funds used to pay for religious worship and activities; religious coercion of beneficiaries in taxpayer-funded programs; taxpayer-funded social service programs that are available only to religious providers and taxpayer funding of buildings in which religious activities take place.

Send material such as this to AU via e-mail at legal@au.org. You may also call (202) 466-3234 or mail it to: Americans United Legal Department, 518 C St., N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Americans United for Separation of Church and State
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:People & Events
Publication:Church & State
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2004
Words:537
Previous Article:Doubting Thomas: don't trust this justice's church-state views.
Next Article:Religious groups oppose marriage amendment, as senate vote nears.
Topics:


Related Articles
Historic battle: Bush administration approves public funds for repair of historic churches, as faith-based initiative attempts 'revolutionary march'...
Faith czar's comments about 'fringe groups' draw AU criticism.
A letter to President Bush.
'Faith-based' aid at two agencies hits $1.1 billion, President Bush boasts.
Faith Czar Towey defends job discrimination by religious charities.
Bush pushes 'faith-based' initiative during meeting with black pastors.
Faith Czar Towey blasts 'militant secularism' at Catholic men's event.
Confessions of a blue state Christian: the only thing Americans are more weary of than discussions about "core values" is the lack of such values in...
'Faith Czar' Jim Towey denies political agenda, but facts show otherwise.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters