ADL Raises Questions About Ashcroft’s Emphasis On Religion After Reading
His Speech At Bob Jones University
New York, NY, January 12, 2001… As the organization that started a national
conversation on religion in politics during the 2000 Presidential campaign, the
Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today raised questions about how the religious
beliefs of John Ashcroft would impact on his carrying out his duties as Attorney
General, if confirmed. ADL spoke out today after reviewing a transcript of Mr.
Ashcroft’s speech at Bob Jones University, May 8, 1999, which it found very
troubling. ADL had called on then-candidates George W. Bush, Al Gore, Joseph
Lieberman and others to refrain from bringing overt expression of religious
values and beliefs into the political arena.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
We are troubled after having read Sen. John Ashcroft’s speech at Bob
Jones University, in which he characterized America as a country as being
different in the sense that "we have no king but Jesus." We question
whether his religious views will have an impact on his role as Attorney
General. While religion played a role in the founding of our Republic, and
continues to have a significant place in it, we take great exception to his
statement that "if America is to be great in the future, it will be if we
understand that our source is not civic and temporal, but our source is godly
Indeed, America is great, and will continue to be great because it includes
the secular and the religious, the civic and the godly. Recognizing that
America is the most religious country in the world and the most religiously
diverse, and because we respect and revere religious freedom, we call on Sen.
Ashcroft to assure the American people that his personal religious beliefs
will not dictate how he will carry out his duties as Attorney General, if
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.