Religious Community Divided Over Nomination of Ashcroft as Attorney General


America's religious community holds sharply conflicting views about President-elect Bush's nomination of Senator John D. Ashcroft of Missouri for attorney general.

The religious right supports Ashcroft, who has a long record of opposing abortion and homosexuality. The religious left opposes him because of his opposition to the separation of church and state.

Religious conservatives have reportedly lobbied for Ashcroft, who lost his senate re-election bid.

James C. Dobson, president of Focus on the Family, said, "If I were president-elect, John Ashcroft would be one of the people that I would be trying to find a spot for," according to the New York Times.

Another religious right leader, Chuck Colson, said he had known Ashcroft for more than 20 years. Colson, the president of Prison Fellowship Ministries, urged his radio listeners to contact their senators in support of Ashcroft.

Other Ashcroft supporters include California pastor Wiley Drake, who helped to launch the Southern Baptist Convention's boycott of Disney.

On the religious left, Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) expressed opposition to Ashcroft yesterday, urging the rejection of his nomination.

"Ashcroft is an avowed opponent of the separation of church and state," said Barry W. Lynn, AU's executive director. "He is likely to use his office to further a reckless mixing of religion and government."

Robert M. Parham is BCE's executive director.

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