White House Report On Faith-based 'barriers' Promotes Illegal Aid To Religion, Charges Americans United

Bush Administration Scheme Could Prompt Lawsuit, Church-State Watchdog Group Says

John DiIulio has announced that he will be stepping down as head of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, the controversial agency President George W. Bush created to direct greater public funding to religion.

In an interview with Cox Newspapers, DiIulio indicated that he was unhappy in Washington and grew frustrated by intense pressure from across the ideological spectrum. "We had every possible criticism from every possible side," he complained. "Left, right, all sides." He blasted the "nonsense" that he feels dominated Washington debates.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which has spearheaded opposition to the Bush faith-based scheme, said DiIulio's comments are revealing.

"Most people whose ideas are criticized by 'all sides' would probably think their ideas are the problem, not that everyone else is wrong," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United's executive director. "DiIulio prefers to condemn honest disagreement as 'nonsense' and then head out of town."

Lynn noted that DiIulio, a Democrat, has been increasingly marginalized in a Bush administration dominated by far-right conservatives.

"DiIulio was left out of the loop in recent weeks as Bush operatives manipulated the faith-based initiative to make the plan more palatable to the Religious Right," Lynn concluded. "I can't blame him for leaving. I wish he'd take the faith-based initiative with him."

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.