[RRE]a uniter not a divider

From: Phil Agre (pagreat_private)
Date: Thu Apr 19 2001 - 08:40:41 PDT

  • Next message: Phil Agre: "[RRE]pointers"

    [Reformatted to 70 columns.]
    This message was forwarded through the Red Rock Eater News Service (RRE).
    You are welcome to send the message along to others but please do not use
    the "redirect" option.  For information about RRE, including instructions
    for (un)subscribing, see http://dlis.gseis.ucla.edu/people/pagre/rre.html
    One Committee Member Tapped By House GOP Conference Called Jews 'Dirty
    And Wicked'
     Americans United for Separation of Church and State has asked members
    of the Republican congressional leadership to remove controversial
    religious leaders who have used bigoted language from a panel
    assembled to craft "faith-based" legislation.
     The U.S. House Republican Conference, chaired by Rep. J.C. Watts
    (R-Okla.), announced earlier this month that 32 religious leaders have
    been appointed to serve on an advisory committee for the House-Senate
    Republican Faith-Based Leadership Summit planned for April 25.
     Americans United research shows that several of the committee's
    members have made insulting and intolerant comments about religious,
    ethnic and other minority groups.
     "It is absolutely shocking to see some of the people who have been
    chosen to help create federal policy on church-state partnerships",
    said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United,
    who wrote to members of Congress about the matter today.  "Some of
    these selections reflect remarkably poor judgment on the part of the
    House GOP Conference.
     "While many of the committee members are respected religious leaders,
    too many are terribly divisive", Lynn added.  "Giving them a role
    in this initiative is deplorable.  I hope these are not the kinds of
    religious leaders the Bush administration plans to give public funds
     Among the most controversial of the committee's members:
     Bishop J. Delano Ellis -- Ellis was fired from serving as Cleveland's
    police chaplain in March 1995 after delivering a sermon in which
    he said Jews were "carnal, selfish...dirty and lowdown and wicked",
    according to a report in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  His sermon,
    which was broadcast over the radio, also said Jews had mistreated
    others through the years and "God allowed Hitler to rise up and make
    you all suffer".  Although he added "Hitler was wrong", Ellis went on
    to criticize Jews and Muslims for not recognizing Jesus Christ as the
    son of God.
     Ellis, pastor of the Pentecostal Church of Christ in Cleveland, also
    criticized African Americans who convert to Islam, concluding that
    Islam is "as bad as Israel" and "a chance which you just don't want to
    take".  Ellis had similar difficulties with Islam later that year when,
    in a letter to his congregation, he called Islam "false" and said that
    at its worst, the religion was "bloody and dangerous".
     The Rev. Louis P. Sheldon -- Sheldon, as head of the Traditional
    Values Coalition, frequently offers extreme anti-gay rhetoric.
    In recent years, he has written monthly fundraising letters on
    imagined threats from gay people.  In August 1997, for example,
    Sheldon notified his supporters of a "homosexual conspiracy".  His
    January 2001 fundraising letter predicted a "homosexual invasion",
    which could result in the "stealing of our children".  In 1985,
    Sheldon even supported quarantining persons with AIDS in so-called
    "cities of refuge".
     Sheldon's inclusion on a panel to help implement Bush's faith-based
    initiative is particularly ironic in light of Sheldon's call for
    the resignation of John DiIulio, head of the White House Office of
    Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
     The Rev. Reggie White -- White offended virtually every ethnic group
    in America during a speech to the Wisconsin State Legislature in
    1998.  White sparked outrage by calling attention to crass stereotypes,
    saying that blacks "like to sing and dance", while whites "know how
    to tap into money".  He went on to say that Hispanic people are "gifted"
    because they "can put 20 or 30 people in one home", while Asians know
    how to "turn a television into a watch".  American Indians, he added,
    were spared slavery in the U.S. because they "knew how to sneak up on
    people".  White also said the nation has strayed from God by allowing
    homosexuality to "run rampant".
     According to a press release from the GOP Conferences, these
    religious leaders will join others in playing "a critical role" in
    helping Congress develop faith-based legislation.
     "An influential honor, such as working with Congress to develop
    legislation, should not be bestowed on those who use language
    that divides and denigrates Americans", Lynn said in his letter.
    "It was wrong for these men to make bigoted remarks; their offense
    is only exacerbated when the United States Congress rewards their
     Lynn also noted the disregard for diversity within the panel.  Of the
    32 committee members, only two are women, only one represents a Jewish
    congregation and there are no representatives from other minority
    faith traditions, including a total absence of Muslims, Buddhists and
     "The only appropriate solution to this controversy is to promptly
    remove the three aforementioned individuals from the summit's advisory
    board", concluded Lynn's correspondence.  "As George Washington said
    in 1790, 'To Bigotry, No Sanction'.  It would serve us all well to use
    those wise words as a guide today."
     Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in
    Washington, D.C.  Founded in 1947, the organization represents 60,000
    members and allied houses of worship in all 50 states.
    April 17, 2001
    Contact: Joseph Conn Rob Boston
    AU's Letter To Congressional Leaders
    Also See:
    AU's Top 10 Reasons Bush's 'Faith-Based' Plan Is Wrong
    Bush's 'Faith-Based' Initiative: An AU Special Report
    Church & State | AU Chapters | Speakers Bureau | Religious 
    Community | Churches & Politics | Legal Information| Legislative 
    Update| About AU | Press Releases
     Americans United for Separation of Church and State 518 C Street, NE
    Washington, D.C. 20002 202-466-3234 telephone 202-466-2587 fax
    For comments on this page, please contact the AU Webmaster.
    (c) Americans United for Separation of Church and State, 2001.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Thu Apr 19 2001 - 08:47:54 PDT