Bush Official Suggests that Pagans and Other "Fringe" Groups Won't Benefit from Faith Based Initiative

December 12, 2003

Source: Americans United for Separation of Church and State


On December 12, 2003 Americans United for Separation of Church and State published an article criticizing "White House 'Faith Czar' James Towey for suggesting that 'fringe' religious groups won’t get funding under the Bush administration’s 'faith-based' initiative. During a Nov. 26 online 'Ask the White House' question-and-answer session, Towey was asked about the possibility of Pagan groups getting tax funding to provide services to the poor and needy. According to the White House transcript of the session, Towey replied, 'I haven't run into a pagan faith-based group yet, much less a pagan group that cares for the poor! Once you make it clear to any applicant that public money must go to public purposes and can't be used to promote ideology, the fringe groups lose interest. Helping the poor is tough work and only those with loving hearts seem drawn to it.' In a letter delivered to Towey today, Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn asked the administration official to apologize to members of the Pagan community and reaffirm his support for the principle that government will treat all religions equally."