Religious group raises concerns on Ashcroft
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A multi-denominational religious organization has raised questions on whether former Sen. John Ashcroft regarding religious liberty and civil rights -- specifically the rights of religious minorities and his willingness to use the Department of Justice to promote or advance his personal religious beliefs.
The Interfaith Alliance held a news conference Monday in Washington where representatives from the Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jewish and Christian communities said they neither opposed nor supported the President-elect George W. Bush's selection of the former Missouri senator as attorney general.
However, they said they would continue lobbying senators to vigorously question
Ashcroft about his position on issues such as hate crimes, the use of secret
evidence in immigration proceedings and the separation of Church and State.
Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, executive director of the Interfaith Alliance
said, "I have grave concerns about Senator Ashcroft's ability to serve as
Attorney General of the United States, a position in which he would be charged
with upholding and fully enforcing the constitutional rights and liberties to
faith groups that he clearly judges to be wrong and in need of correction."
Gaddy said a decision to oppose or support Ashcroft as the choice for
attorney general would be made after questioning in the Senate confirmation
hearings to be held this week.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will convene hearings on Ashcroft's nomination Tuesday afternoon. Three days of hearings are scheduled.
The Interfaith Alliance, formed in 1994, is a nonpartisan clergy-led grassroots organization "dedicated to promoting the positive and healing role of religion in the life of the nation."