March 8, 2001

The Reverend Jerry Falwell has already expressed his wish that federal money for the faith-based initiative not go to Muslim groups. In an interview with Beliefnet, Falwell maligned Islam as a faith that "teaches hate." Falwell suggests that Muslim groups be disqualified from seeking federal funds and that "Islam should be out the door before they knock." In a typical gesture of intolerance, Falwell is advocating the exclusion of six million Americans from partnering with their government to combat the social ills plaguing their society. Falwell's attempts to spread intolerance and misinformation threaten American pluralism and recommend a policy direction that is clearly unconstitutional. If the President's proposal is to succeed, it must embrace all faiths represented in the American fabric. The faith-based initiative need not become another political tool used to silence minorities. Now, President Bush must clarify his stand by stating his views on Falwell's bigotry.
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