ADL Urges Sen. McCain to Withdraw Statements Describing U.S. as a 'Christian Nation'
Update: (October 2, 2007): In a letter to ADL, Senator McCain said his remarks were misconstrued. "I did not assert that members of one faith have a greater claim to American citizenship than another. In fact, I stressed the opposite ..." he wrote. "Read in context, the inverview makes clear that I believe people of all faiths are welcome here and entitled to all the protections of our Constitution, including the unfettered right to practice their religion freely."
In response, ADL welcomed Sen. McCain's clarification, but added, "Nevertheless, we are deeply disappointed that you did not expressly retract your statement that "the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation." Read the Letters
New York, NY, October 1, 2007 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today urged Senator John McCain to reconsider and withdraw his statements describing the United States as a "Christian nation" and a "nation founded on Christian principles." The remarks were made in an interview posted on Beliefnet.com.
"Senator McCain's statements were disappointing and disturbing to say the least," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "We would have thought that a senator as experienced and respected as John McCain would place himself above such divisive appeals to religious intolerance. His remarks were inaccurate and ill-advised for any candidate seeking to lead a nation as religiously diverse as ours."
In a letter to Senator McCain, ADL said that he was correct to note in the interview that the Founding Fathers unequivocally believed in the separation of church and state.
However, the letter went on to say, "Absolutely nothing in the Constitution establishes that the U.S. is a Christian nation, nor is it accurate to say that this nation was founded on Christian principles." The League called on McCain to reconsider and withdraw his statements to that effect.
"Appeals to voters based on religion are invariably divisive and contrary to the democratic ideals upon which our nation was truly founded," the letter said.
As a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization, ADL is non-partisan and does not endorse or oppose any candidates for political office.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.