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GROUP ISSUES APOLOGY TO FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

Rocky Mountain News (CO) – Friday, June 24, 2005
Author/Byline: Clayton Woullard , Rocky Mountain News
Edition: Final
Section: News
Page: 5A
A national religious organization apologized to Focus on the Family Thursday for two Colorado members who likened the group to an “American Taliban” and “the Gestapo.”

The Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, sent a letter of apology to James Dobson and his Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, saying the comments did not “accurately represent the nature and work of the Interfaith Alliance.”

Gaddy referred to a news conference at the state Capitol on May 10 at which the Revs. Bill Kirton and Peter Morales, members of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, applauded Sen. Ken Salazar’s blocking of conservative judges and denounced religious groups critical of the senator’s filibuster.

“This, my friends, is the Gestapo,” said Kirton, a minister at the Cameron United Methodist Church in Denver. “I said Gestapo, and I meant it.”

Morales, a senior minister at the Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden, condemned attacks on Salazar by religious groups such as Focus on the Family as those of “an American Taliban.”

“The language used to describe religious groups critical of Senator Salazar’s support of the Senate filibuster was not the language that the Interfaith Alliance deems appropriate for public conversations,” Gaddy said in the letter.

Both Kirton and Morales were reported out of the state Thursday and could not be reached for comment.

Dobson said in a statement that he accepts the apology.

“I trust that I’ll have an opportunity to know my critics personally someday,” Dobson said. “I welcome them to Focus on the Family for a visit.”

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