By Kent Larsen
Larry King: Hinckley Opposes Bush Faith Initiative
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- In his weekly column in USA Today, Larry King says
that LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley is opposed to President Bush's
Faith-based initiative. While the LDS Chuch has no official position on the
proposal, King says that Hinckley told him the LDS Church isn't interested
because "once the government is involved, regulations follow."
King says that Hinckley's comments were made January 30th when King and his
wife Shawn visited with President Hinckley as King's stepson Danny was
leaving on an LDS mission. According to King, Hinckley said, "I am in favor
of complete separation of church and state, and while we appreciate the
offer of federal funding, we like to do ours on our own. Once the government
is involved, regulations follow."
Contacted by the Salt Lake Tribune in response to King's column, spokesman
Dale Bills reaffirmed the Church's neutrality on the proposal, saying that
whatever President Hinckley said in the private interview, the Church hasn't
taken a stand. But King told the Tribune, "If you don't take the money, you
are opposed to faith-based initiatives. I don't know what 'neutral' means in
this context. He never used that word to me."
King also says that President Hinckley showed him a press release that says
the Church will not accept any funding if the initiative passed Congress. If
King's account is accurate, then Hinckley joins many other religious leaders
who have expressed concern over the proposal because of its potential to
bring Federal regulation of religious activities.
But the Tribune also points out that Hinckley's remarks may put LDS
Republicans in a difficult position. Utah's Senator Bob Bennett told the
Tribune that the remarks "put me in an awkward position. ... I agree that
the Latter-day Saints do not need [federal money] and probably would be
better off without it," But he adds, "If other faith-based charities are
willing to accept federal strings that go with the money and have a
demonstrated record of success, they ought to be free to make the choice."
King also told the Tribune that President Hinckley is a "dear friend of the
family" and is being booked to appear on his show this spring.
Mormons, Reagans and good reads
USA Today 5Feb01 T1
By Larry King: USA Today
TV Host Says LDS Leader's Views On Charities Differ From Bush's
Salt Lake Tribune 6Feb01 T1
By Peggy Fletcher Stack: Salt Lake Tribune