Clinton Sees Clergy Role in Helping Immigrants

Article excerpt

President Clinton yesterday urged the nation's clergy to take the lead in forming the character of an American citizenry now faced with increased racial and ethnic diversity.

"We know what we're going to look like - the demographers can tell us that," Mr. Clinton said in breakfast remarks at the White House to 130 clergy of several faiths. "But they can't tell us what we're going to be like."

He said the nation will be better if that decision "is informed by, driven by, embraced by and advanced by people of faith in our country."

Mr. Clinton, who has gathered clergy at the White House once or twice a year since his 1992 election, urged them to support his racial reconciliation efforts begun this year. He also touted the administration's accomplishments in the area of religious liberty.

These included passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which the Supreme Court overturned this year, guidelines for student and teacher religious expression in public schools, and allowance for federal employees to retain their religious convictions in the workplace.

"I'd also like to thank so many of you for the work you've done with us on public issues," Mr. Clinton said.

Going into the private meeting, some church leaders said they would express concern to Mr. Clinton that the United States not take action against Iraq, even in the form of an embargo that might hurt its innocent citizens. …