March 8, 2001

The Reverend Jerry Falwell has already expressed his wish that federal moneyfor the faith-based initiative not go to Muslim groups. In an interview withBeliefnet, Falwell maligned Islam as a faith that "teaches hate." Falwellsuggests that Muslim groups be disqualified from seeking federal funds andthat "Islam should be out the door before they knock." In a typical gestureof intolerance, Falwell is advocating the exclusion of six million Americansfrom partnering with their government to combat the social ills plaguingtheir society. Falwell's attempts to spread intolerance and misinformationthreaten American pluralism and recommend a policy direction that is clearlyunconstitutional. If the President's proposal is to succeed, it must embraceall faiths represented in the American fabric. The faith-based initiativeneed not become another political tool used to silence minorities. Now,President Bush must clarify his stand by stating his views on Falwell'sbigotry.