After Initial Refusal, South Carolina Gov. Endorses Local Religious Diversity

December 12, 2003

Source: The Herald

On December 12, 2003 The Herald reported, "Gov. Mark Sanford has bestowed the state's official blessings on Parrotheads, the martial arts, poultry and former President Ronald Reagan, so his refusal to issue a proclamation celebrating the state's religious diversity mystified a University of South Carolina professor. At a public forum earlier this week, Dr. Carl Evans, chairman of USC's Religious Studies Department, expressed disappointment that Sanford turned down repeated requests to designate Dec. 7-13 as 'Inter-faith Awareness Week.' The governor has issued almost 400 proclamations since taking office in January. The document Evans asked Sanford to sign encourages citizens 'in the spirit of community' to learn more about the many diverse faiths observed by South Carolinians. Many state churches support the international interfaith education movement, and the mayor of Columbia readily signed an almost identical proclamation. Evans wondered whether Sanford feared a subtle endorsement of interfaith principles might offend religious fundamentalists. Some fundamentalists reject the validly of other faiths, believing them 'incapable of offering salvation,' he said... But Sanford spokesman Chris Drummond said the rejections were due to errors and confusion among staff members. The governor issued the proclamation as soon as the errors were discovered, Drum-mond said."