Pubdate: Mon, 19 Feb 2001
Source: Des Moines Register (IA)
Copyright: 2001 The Des Moines Register.
Contact:  P.O. Box 957, Des Moines IA 50304-0957
Fax: (515) 284-8560
Author: Sarai Schnucker Beck


In the Feb. 13 article on the new Face It Together antidrug 
initiative ("New AntiDrug Plan is Unveiled"), the Register reported 
that "clergy will be asked to help identify substance abusers in 
their congregations . . . . "

 From this statement, readers might infer that pastors will be asked 
to turn over to the authorities members with substance-abuse 
problems. As a pastor and a member of the Face It Together coalition, 
I want to assure members of the religious community in Iowa that this 
was not said by either Senator Charles Grassley or Gov. Tom Vilsack 
and is not true.

The intent of the first step of Face It Together's faithbased 
initiative is that pastors and other religious professionals receive 
training in issues of substance abuse including how to recognize 
users - so they might more effectively offer pastoral care to 
individuals and families.

The confidential nature of conversations with pastors is 
longstanding, well-recognized and vital to any pastor's work.

The Face It Together coalition is not proposing that this 
confidential relationship be changed.

Sarai Schnucker Beck, executive director, Ecumenical Ministries of
Iowa, 3816 36th St., Des Moines.
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