April 16th, 2011
10:11 PM ET

Defiant U.S. ambassador rebuked for faith-based writing asks to resign

Douglas Kmiec, center, at a 2006 U.S. Senate hearing.

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - The U.S. ambassador to Malta has submitted his resignation, just over a week after he was called out in a State Department report for allegedly devoting time to writing about religion at the expense of his official duties.

Douglas Kmiec told CNN that he notified Malta's foreign ministry on Saturday about his intention, the same day he submitted his resignation to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and three days after he tendered a similar letter to President Barack Obama.

"With my reputation impugned by the recent ... report, I can no longer be certain that I am in a position with my government to have your needs and perspectives heard in the best possible light," Kmiec said in an e-mailed statement.

The State Department had no immediate comment Saturday on the ambassador's submitted resignation, including whether or not it had been accepted.

Kmiec, the former dean of the Catholic University of America's law school, defended his actions in his official letters and statement. He was appointed in 2009 - a year after the "Kennedy Democrat and Reagan Republican," as he'd described himself in his letter to Clinton, spearheaded Obama's outreach to Catholic voters in the 2008 presidential campaign.

Kmiec was very critical of the report, released last week from the U.S. State Department's inspector general, which criticized him for spending so much time writing and speaking about faith-related issues.

Since his appointment, the inspector general's report claimed that Kmiec has "devoted considerable time to writing articles for publication in the United States as well as in Malta," given his belief that he had a "special mandate" to promote Obama's interfaith initiatives.

"His approach has required Department principals, as well as some embassy staff, to spend an inordinate amount of time reviewing his writings, speeches and other initiatives," the report said, without citing any specific instances. "His official schedule has been uncharacteristically light for an ambassador at a post of this size."

"On average, he spends several hours of each workday in the residence, much of which appears to be devoted to his nonofficial writings," the report contends.

Kmiec told Obama, alluding to this report in his resignation letter, that he wanted to resign, given "some understanding of the difficulty and complexity of the challenges that you and Secretary Clinton each day."

Yet he remained defiant that the State Department report's conclusions were unfounded.

In his letter to Clinton, Kmiec said the report was based on "unsupported speculation that someone doing as much writing as I have done could not have also been devoted to the embassy mission."

"The contrary proof ... is the strength of our embassy," he wrote. "Our work is careful, thorough and timely, and I am fully apprised of all of it."

The ambassador claimed, in his letter to Clinton, that the inspector general report's authors had "failed to read any of my writing or see its highly positive effect on our bilateral relations." He also said the report's assertion that faith-based writings weren't relevant to his position represented a "flawed and narrow vision of our diplomatic mission."

Moreover, Kmiec suggested that the report amounted to payback from the State Department inspector general in response to a 1989 opinion he wrote - as a top lawyer in the administration of George H.W. Bush - restricting that office's jurisdiction.

"That opinion stung the (Office of the Inspector General) and I suspect I have just experienced a 'sting-back,' " he wrote in his letter to Clinton.

While he has worked for two Republican presidents and has made clear his anti-abortion stance differs from that of Obama, Kmiec said in his statement that he "would welcome (the president and himself) teaming up again."

Kmiec insisted that he had tendered his resignation "without pressure from either one or anyone."

"My resignation is not a product of force unless one means by force - the force of principle," he wrote.

–CNN's Dan Gilgoff contributed to this report

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Politics

soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Amineb Zudotokimoshid

    We're a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your web site offered us with valuable info to work on. You have done a formidable job and our whole community will be thankful to you.

    July 31, 2012 at 7:47 am |
  2. fkruis

    Why does anybody have to be right. It seems to me that there are quite a few religions going around (Christianity in its various denominations, Islam in its various denominations, Buddhism, Hinduism and so many more even atheism denying a god).
    Every one believes they have the final word, and they do for themselves they should just not try to stuff it down anybody else s throat. Peace to all and let live

    July 5, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
  3. momof2

    I don't think the issue is what he was writing, the issue that he was doing non-State Dept. work on State Dept. time. If I spend a significant chunk of my work day on personal tasks, that's grounds for dismissal. It doesn't matter if I'm texting my BFF, shopping on ebay, going on Facebook or whatever. presumably the State dept. wasn't payng him to write articles, they were paying him to be an ambassidor. Whether the articles were about religion or particle physics is besides the point.

    April 18, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • Tol Trunks

      Does anyone know what he wrote? Is there any contact for claimed evidence at the State Department? 2-3-2012.

      April 28, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
  4. LoneZero

    I believe in an absolute separation of church and state, because when there is not, one religion is favoured over another and that religion takes control and tells others how to pray, or what is moral. There are so many diffrent religions in the U.S. it's not fair for our goverment employee's (such as an ambassador or congressment, senator) portraying his values as those of the people when The United States is a diverse country, racially, ethnically, religiously (or lack of). If he can't separate chruch and state and do his duty fairly he should resign and his request should be honored.

    Just like our consti.tution states he can believe whatever he wants too even promote his faith on his own time is perfectly fine and fair. Why couldn't he just do those writings on his own time instead of on the job?

    Adelina and Scott just want us to live in a Christian theocracy. The United States is to diverse for that to ever happen, too many relgions or lack of here to every lay down and allow one relgion to rule the others.

    April 17, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
    • Tol Trunks

      You are correct. However, the one religion that is true is Christianity. All, ALL, have full knowledge of this. Which means this country opposes God blatantly, and is why it is harmed so much. 2-3-2012.

      April 19, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Info

      Sorry Tol but this country accepts Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Scientology and the rest equally.

      "the one religion that is true is Christianity. All, ALL, have full knowledge of this"

      All religions believe they right and the others are wrong so that statement is lie dunno where you picked that up do you even bother to research other faiths or do you just assume?

      This country does not oppose God blatantly as you claim in fact it accepts God just like it accepts Allah, Buddha, Xenu, etc.. equally, I' know you can't fathom that or accept that your religion is equal to every other religion in U.S. but that's how it's always been will always be.

      April 20, 2011 at 1:03 am |
  5. Keith

    He should of converted to islam and promoted sharia law and denounced Israel.....Hell, then Obama would have promoted him. tsk tsk.

    April 17, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
  6. Tol Trunks

    Hillary Clinton is not truthful about Bosnia, she was afraid of sniper fire. She also lied about NYC stocktrading. She also was involved with Donald Rumsfield in a Blackwater deal invovling Iran. This man is doing something needed. Peace unto him. 2-3-2012.

    April 17, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • editer

      You make it sound as if there is something wrong about being afraid of sniper fire. You probably are writing in a non-war setting and your courage is to be admired. I wonder if you would be so brave if you were walking down some street in Afghanistan or Libya.

      April 18, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Robert Gansden

      Hillary Clinton and Donald Rumsfeld cooperating on anything is too crazy for even the wildest conspiracy theory, but together with Blackwater? The mercenary company? On Iran?

      You must be a troll.

      April 19, 2011 at 12:23 am |
  7. John Richardson

    His resignation should be accepted.

    April 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  8. Dubhly

    what is the problem with him pontificating as long as it doesnt effect the job? I would also disagree, most religions are about subjugation, however not all are. I do feel that Christianity and Islam are probably the worst of the lot when it comes to those features, both prostilatize and try to actively convert others.
    That does not mean though that a member of a government must give up their private feelings, and faith to do the job. Job performace should not be subjected to faith scrutiny.

    April 17, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • CRAIG

      One by force and one by love. big difference.Jesus is love personafied.

      April 18, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  9. Religions are dung

    "All" religions are the subjugation of self AND others. Without it, religions can't exist.

    Douglas Kmiec, the w anker, pontificates about moral values. Go figure!

    April 17, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  10. Reality

    Strange appointment to begin with since Obama, the leader of the Immoral Majority, appointed him. The Immoral Majority, you ask?

    The fastest growing USA voting bloc: The 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year.)

    i.e. the Immoral Majority now rules the land and will do so in the foreseeable future. How very sad and disturbing!!!
    2008 Presidential popular vote 69,456,897 for BO 59,934,814 for JM.

    April 17, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • tommas

      You mean the people who's morals have evolved beyond the 13th century.

      April 18, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • editer

      Yes, we, the Immoral Majority, outnumber you zealots now. And our ranks are growing as your numbers decrease. Soon you will be so insignificant that your voices will no longer be heard. What a great day for America when that happens!

      April 18, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Reality..well thats democracy for you..looks like the theocracy you need to get your way is still stuck out in the middle east.

      April 18, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • Reality

      Hmmm, do we have commentators who fit the following?

      The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions (one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million case/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.

      April 19, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • Evolved DNA

      Reality.. you most likely do not like gay people, and most church groups are openly hostile towards them. There is some believe they are "curable" and many gay people have taken their own lives due to undue pressure to conform to the "Moral' society. Also, open hostility from the church empowers other weak minded individuals to attack or verbally abuse these people. When a gay or transgendered person is killed or commits sui-cide do you think good riddance? or do you think you should work to protect them? You are not so moral ...and the recent events with in the catholic church, and the amazing silence from its adherents to the pope to clean house, is proof that the church holds society to a higher standard than it is able to meet itself. .

      April 19, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
  11. billp

    Good riddance. Religious zealots have no place in government.

    April 17, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Christian American

      *Yawn* .. same old tired secular rhetoric.

      April 18, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • Adelina

      The US government didn't exist without Christian zealots. Atheists should be out.

      April 19, 2011 at 8:03 am |
  12. Ken

    America lost their moral foundation when they decided to kill the Native Americans and steal their land. The fairy tale of American morality never really existed. Until Americans acknowledge our past "sins" our country will continue to be immoral. This has nothing to do with McCarthysim but it is simply about a guy who did personal work on company time. People get fired for doing that all the time so if you are religious, it is ok to waste taxpayers money instead of doing your job. Besides the fact that other employee's had to use their work time to proofread his speeches. What would happen to an employee who didn't want to read his religious opinion? Would they lose their job? or would they have to live with feeling uncomfortable doing personal work on company time? The guy is an ambassador of the US and his personal views should not be publically expressed as the opinion's of the US. I am glad the guy is resigning because it is the moral thing to do when one acts unethically.

    April 17, 2011 at 10:02 am |
  13. Sally Li

    "WRITINGS" are a big crime in an increasingly militaristic society whose entire educational direction is being captivated
    into the vortex of the failure of public education – the junk food of the American mind.
    This is worse than McCarthyism – because during the 1950's, any intellectual who associated with Communists was guilty.
    Today, simply being a creative thinker and an independent writer who writes unauthorized things is enough to establish guilt by association.

    April 17, 2011 at 5:14 am |
    • you forgot the "e"

      Not true.

      April 17, 2011 at 6:49 am |
  14. Adelina

    Amoral America is of no value.

    April 17, 2011 at 3:01 am |
    • Religious Sects

      I agree, it is amoral for him to represent his views as the views of the American people.
      BTW, morals DO NOT come from religion. Morals are an ever evolving product of a society. If you believe otherwise I'll ask you one thing, if you weren't religious would you behave immorally?

      April 17, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      America isn't "amoral" simply because its government isn't based on your religious beliefs, Adelina.

      April 17, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Scott

      @ Tom Tom .. You are half right. Our country is not "amoral" because of the lack of "religious" beliefs but because neither our government nor our people adhere to the Word of God any longer. We have thrown it out of Washington, our schools, our homes and if Godless organizations like the ACLU, Peta, and Planned Parenthood have their way, no one will be speaking or seeing the name of God anywhere. True Christianity is not a religion, but a reconciliation to a Holy God from separation caused by sin. The blood of Jesus Christ purchased that reconciliation for those who, in repentance and faith, believe on Him .... One day, at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. I would "call upon His name" now before it is too late.

      April 17, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What utter baloney. What you are blathering about is exactly the same tripe Adelina vomits up.

      April 17, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • bp

      Scott and Adelina's you both need to use some logic in your arguments. I know what you belief based off your posts but you offer nothing to support it. All I see is mysticism, and if you want me to be a mystic I saw we start ripping peoples hearts out for the sun god! We can start with yours because Ra deems it so!

      April 17, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Scott..you may want to bow to a masochist but don't drag the non delusional into your fantasy...

      April 17, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • Scott

      @ bp .. what about our responses is mysticism? I have not seen any support, nor any logic for that matter, for any claims made on this comment section by anyone else yet it is the Christians you zero in on. All the God haters just keep ridiculing the Christians and demeaning our posts without a single "logical" response to your views. Tom Tom mentioned "pro-life" and that wasn't even part of this article. We are told to go and tell others about Christ. It is up to you to believe it or not. If we are wrong, we will have lost nothing by living according to the principles of the Bible but if you are wrong, you will have an eternity to regret it. (Rest assured, we are not wrong about Jesus Christ ... just saying to think about it)

      April 18, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • Evolved DNA

      Scott.. we are not "haters" as you claim.. we ask for proof of your god, thats it. if course we ridicule, as you do of our non belief.. what gives religion a free pass on ridicule anyway. if you had proof of god it would have been long given. We object to laws being either changed or inserted based on a supernatural being.. just as you would most likely object to say Sharia law being incorporated into the US or Canadian systems because it does not fit with your world view, and you would say that their beliefs are wrong.

      April 18, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  15. Adelina

    Separation of Church and State = Separation of Conscience and State = Separation of Morality and State
    = A big meaningless abyss for everyone

    April 17, 2011 at 3:00 am |
    • Dubhly

      so whos morals do we follow then adelina? if this man was a muslim would you still feel the same way? What if he worship the gods of ancient greece, or those of germania? Was Hindu? would you still want him, and support his moral values? If not then your not supporting a man of faith in a government position, rather you are promoting YOUR faith as a governing factor. Which is the exact reason that there is and should be a seperation of church and state. So that no one religion takes control and tells others how to pray, or what is moral. Those are personal choices.
      BTW...I dont have a problem with this guy, if the article is completely true he seems to have the embassy in hand as well as the time to do what he wants. His job is to keep diplomacy open and friendly with the country he is in, as well as to be an official representative, and until the time his religious views bring that into conflict with the job, I see no reason to remove him. I would probably agree he is getting a rebuke from an organization that he "stung" earlier in his life. Actually I think someone should inspect the inspector general to see if this is in fact the case, and if so appropriate action should be taken.

      April 17, 2011 at 5:12 am |
    • Adelina

      Dubhly, I think public officers should be able to express their moral values more openly and explicitly. The only people who will be in trouble or offended will be atheists, no one else.

      April 17, 2011 at 5:25 am |
    • Adelina

      Americans are deceived into believing expressing one's own belief in public except for promoting common, collective immorality is unacceptable, thanks to liberal media and liberal education. One of the reasons of America's stunning moral decadence.

      April 17, 2011 at 5:29 am |
    • asm_ith

      You say that the "only people who will be in trouble or offended will be atheists" when it comes to someone expressing their moral values. Why is it that you believe that atheists don't have moral values? Do you think that atheists believe in stealing, murder, etc.?

      April 17, 2011 at 7:59 am |
    • jimtanker

      It isnt about him expressing his "moral" values. It is about him portraying his values as those of the US. They are not. Read the article again, if you even did, and you will see that he was letting his religious writing affect his official duties. If you or I let our personal life affect our jobs we would be fired too. Dont kid yourself. His religion is not a get out of jail free card to do whatever he wants. He is an embasador first.

      April 17, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • Dubhly

      kinda funny adelina...im not an atheist and im offended by public officials saying any religious statement from the government pulpit. I believe in an absolute separation of church and state, because when there is not, then one religion is favoured over anouther. I do NOT however, have any problem with a government employee ( such as the ambassador ) promoting his faith out of the office, and on his own time. If this is not effecting his job, then there should be no problem. If it is then there is a problem, its as simple as that.
      Morality I do tend to see as a religious outcropping, however, Ethics I do not. I would far rather have an ethical government then a self proclaimed moral one.

      April 17, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I agree; I'm not an atheist, either, but I'm offended that a US official is ignoring the separation of church and state in his official capacity. Adelina can go live someplace where theocracy is embraced. The US isn't that place.

      April 17, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  16. David Johnson

    I think his request should be honored.

    April 16, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  17. Steev

    Good riddance. We don't need an ambassador who writes pro-life propaganda in his spare time or whatever it was he was writing.
    If he can't figure out that he was acting unethically, then he should be fired.
    Catholics do that all the time here. They do not see the ethical lines they are crossing. Religion does that to people all the time.
    If unethical is how he wants to live, then he shouldn't be an ambassador.

    April 16, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • superlogi

      No, what we need is more pro-abortion proselytizing to keep the population in check and to satisfy NOW, NARAL, Planned Parenthood and other organizations which support Margaret Sanger's eugenics plan. But then atheists do that all the time, don't they you idiot?

      April 17, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  18. Tol Trunks

    What did he write?

    April 16, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • Tohrm

      Good question. The State Dept. report doesn't say.
      It does give the impression that he was engaging in some unauthorized religious influence, violating the separation of church and state in that he was using his office as ambassador to further his private religious aims.

      April 17, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • Religions are dung

      Douglas Kmiec knows he is guilty of pushing his religious values on others (proselytizing), and that he has no choice to to resign – I.e. the Obama admin walks softly and carries a kahuna shtick!

      Douglas beats off for sure. Yet, he pontificates about moral values. Go figure!

      April 17, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • Religions are dung

      correction... "to to resign" –> "but to resign"

      April 17, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Dubhly

      actually it doesn't say what he wrote, and that facts says to me that its effect on the job may be questionable. If all they can say is that he does write religious things and gives speeches, i dont see that as wrong. It is when it interferes with his job he crosses the line. I did not see any mention of that in the article, rather a lack of it says volumes. I believe in an absolute separation of church and state, however, i do not believe that government employees must sacrifice their faith to do their job.

      April 17, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
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