Interfaith Leaders Ask Governor to Boycott Prayer Breakfast

March 2, 2006

Source: KBCI TV

On March 2, 2006 KBCI TV reported, "Despite a letter from local religious leaders urging him to stay away, Gov. Dirk Kempthorne says he will attend Saturday's State Prayer Breakfast as he has in the past... The local religious leaders urge the governor not to attend Saturday's Idaho State Prayer Breakfast because they say keynote Pastor Hormoz Shariat's primary mission 'is to convert Muslims to Christianity through a ministry steeped in hatred of Muslims.' Gov. Kempthorne told Local 2 News he had yet to receive the Interfaith Alliance letter, but still plans to attend the prayer breakfast. 'I don't select the speaker, this is the state prayer breakfast,' Kempthorne said. 'I'm invited every year, and asked to make comments. I don't know what this individual is going to say.' But the Interfaith group says the governor's presence makes it a state-sanctioned event. 'The invitations come out of his office, he attends and speaks, to me it says that's the governor's prayer breakfast,' said The Rev. Dr. Susan Watterson, one of 14 members of the Religious Leaders Network who signed the letter. By attending, Watterson says the governor sends the wrong message... But the governor says staying away also sends the wrong message. 'We live in a world now that we encourage everyone to be a little more understanding, to show a little bit of tolerance for those who may not believe absolutely as you do,' Kempthorne told Local 2 News. 'Now we're saying don't go to this? I really think I'm supposed to keep reaching out.'"