Bush 'faith-based' Initiative Clears House Ways And Means Committee

Measure Is Deeply Flawed, Says AU's Lynn

FAITH-BASED INITIATIVE HEADED FOR FLOOR VOTE IN U.S. HOUSE

AU'S LYNN ASKS AMERICANS TO URGE REPRESENTATIVES TO REJECT MISGUIDED SCHEME

Sources on Capitol Hill have indicated that President George W. Bush's faith-based initiative is headed to the floor in the House of Representatives, with a vote happening as early as Wednesday, July 18.

The Bush initiative, introduced in the House as H.R. 7 by Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.), cleared the committee process this week. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the nation's leading opponent of the initiative, is urging all Americans concerned with religious liberty to contact their representatives and ask that lawmakers reject the plan.

"The faith-based initiative represents an outrageous assault on religious liberty and civil rights," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "This is easily one of the most reckless and dangerous measures considered by Congress in many years. Anyone concerned with church-state separation should contact their House members and urge them to reject this misguided scheme.

"H.R. 7 is burdened with a series of dramatic flaws that will do lasting damage to religious liberty," added Lynn. "Bush's crusade is one of those rare proposals that harms virtually everyone affected by it. The initiative advocates publicly funded employment discrimination, it threatens the religious liberties of those in need, it jeopardizes the freedom and independence of America's faith communities and undermines the rights of all taxpayers.

"H.R. 7 is a disastrous step in the wrong direction," Lynn concluded. "I encourage everyone who wishes to protect the future of religious liberty to contact their representative and deliver a clear and simple message: Vote 'no' on H.R. 7."

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.