The Dixie Chicks' stand on the war with Iraq may make them doves, but to the Rev. Jerry Falwell, they're three "French hens."
"I know they are just young girls and I know they weren't thinking that clearly, but they said unacceptable things about their president," Falwell said Monday during an appearance in Jonesboro.
At a March 10 concert in London, Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines told the audience in reference to President Bush's push for military action against Iraq: "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." She later apologized for being disrespectful.
Falwell, a conservative religious leader whose ministry is based in Lynchburg, Va., apparently drew on France's opposition to the war in giving the trio the sarcastic nickname. Falwell said Maines, of Lubbock, Texas, was wrong to speak critically of her country while overseas.
"Politics should end at the shore when you leave the country," he said. "You don't talk about your own country, especially during war. "
Falwell knows what it is like to make statements that offend people. He drew fire in 2001 after he blamed civil liberties groups, abortion rights supporters and feminists for the terror attacks.
Even though Falwell later said he "made a statement that I should not have made and which I sincerely regret," on Monday he characterized that as a clarification and "not so much an apology."
"But I don't sell records. And I don't do it in England and I don't do it in France. I do all of mine head to head, face to face in America as a taxpaying citizen," Falwell said.