No Religious T-Shirts Allowed

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The top officer for FEMA said one of the agency’s videographers was “absolutely wrong” to ask Mississippi church volunteers not to wear religious T-shirts for a video about tornado cleanup.

Angelia Lott and Pamela Wedgeworth, who are sisters, told The Associated Press that the FEMA worker videotaping the cleanup on Saturday in the small town of Ebenezer asked them to do on-camera interviews but requested that they change out of their T-shirts because of a Salvation Army logo.

“He said, ‘We would like to ask you to change your shirt because we don’t want anything faith-based,'” Lott said Tuesday.

Lott said she asked him why he didn’t want to feature faith groups.

“All he said was, ‘We’ve done that hundreds of times,'” Lott said.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate said in a statement issued Monday that the man’s actions “in no way reflect FEMA’s policies or priorities.”

“The photographer in question was absolutely wrong,” Fugate said.

Lott and Wedgeworth attend a small rural church in Smith County. They volunteered through a ministry of Crossgates Baptist Church in Brandon.

Wedgeworth said of the photographer’s request: “It kind of hurt my feelings. I think I made the comment, ‘I think that’s the reason we’re all here, is by faith.'”

The sisters said they changed their T-shirts and did brief on-camera interviews.

Fugate also apologized to Crossgates Baptist and to the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army and Jackson television station WJTV helped sponsor the “Caring for Mississippi – Community Work Day.” Volunteers helped remove tree limbs and clean up other debris from an April 24 tornado that left a 149-mile path of destruction through the state.

“We are proud of the work that is done by our volunteer and faith-based partners and we are proud to work side by side with them in disaster recovery efforts across the country,” Fugate said. “FEMA is not the team, FEMA is only part of the team, and critical members of that team are the voluntary and faith-based organizations we work with every day.”

U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., is a member of Crossgates Baptist and said he was distressed to hear volunteers had been asked to hide expressions of their faith.

Harper said Fugate called to assure him that FEMA does not discriminate against religious groups.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_FEMA_RELIGIOUS_T_SHIRTS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2010-05-18-23-25-17

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One Response to No Religious T-Shirts Allowed

  1. Lynn says:

    Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me “There is no help for him in God.”
    But YOU oh LORD are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the Lord with my voice, and HE heard me from His Holy hill.
    I lay down and slept and I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of the ten thousand people who have set themselves against me all around. Salvation belongs to the Lord. Your blessing is upon Your people!
    SELAH!
    Psalm 3: 1-3, 5-6, 8

    “Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rabies take counsel together against the Lord and against His Annointed saying “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us.”
    HE who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The LORD shall hold them in derision!”
    Kiss THE SON!!
    Psalm 2:1-4, 12

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