Election Year Pledge for Clergy

Election Year Pledge for Clergy

The boundaries between religion and government rarely have seen the level of threat they face during this election season. Candidates on both sides of the aisle have used religion inappropriately as a political tool, and now, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) has once again launched its election-year attack on religious freedom by encouraging clergy to violate the safeguards that have protected religion in America for generations.

Why We Make This Pledge
Personal faith and values play an important role in a voter’s decision-making, but religion should never become just another special-interest category or organizing strategy. The use of religion as a political tool has occurred with disturbing regularity already in the 2010 election season. As religious leaders we stand to uphold the law.

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The ADF is asking clergy to endorse candidates from the pulpit and purposefully violate their tax-exempt status in order to force court cases that could endanger the very foundations of religious freedom. This is a very real threat to religious freedom given the current Supreme Court’s willingness to set aside precedent in favor of weakening the separation of religion and government. The Supreme Court's 2007 decision in Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation, in which the court eroded taxpayers’ ability to sue over government spending that violates the separation of church and state, should serve as an indicator of the Court’s direction not just on clergy endorsements, but also on many other issues at the heart of religious freedom.

Interfaith Alliance is calling on clergy to stand up for religious freedom by signing a pledge to uphold certain standards during the election season. We ask clergy to pledge:

  • To educate members of our congregation about how our faith relates to issues of the day.
  • To refrain from endorsing any candidate, either explicitly or implicitly, in or on behalf of our house of worship.
  • To prevent partisan speech from candidates or their surrogates, as well as the distribution of partisan materials, in our house of worship.
  • To resist using or soliciting the resources of our house of worship for the exclusive benefit of any candidate or party.
  • To respect candidates whose religious beliefs are different from my own, and stand against the use of religion to divide our communities.
  • To encourage members of our congregation to take an active role in civic life, including casting informed votes.

The pledge already has been signed by some of America’s most prominent clergy, including:

The Rev. J. Edwin Bacon - All Saints Church, Pasadena CA
The Rev. Dr. Lee Barker - Meadville Lombard Theological School, Chicago IL
Rabbi Terry A. Bookman - Temple Beth Am, Miami FL
The Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell - Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)/American Baptist Church, Cleveland OH
The Right. Rev. John Chane - Episcopal Church, Diocese of Washington, Washington D.C.
The Rev. Robert Eller-Isaacs - Unity Church, Unitarian, St. Paul MN
The Rev. Janne Eller-Isaacs - Unity Church, Unitarian, St. Paul MN
The Rev. Chuck Freeman - Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Church, Austin TX
Rabbi David Gelfand - Temple Israel , New York NY
The Rev. Dr. Galen Guengerich - All Souls Unitarian Church, New York NY
The Rev. Dr. Stan Hastey - Alliance of Baptists, Washington DC
Rabbi Marla R. Hornsten - Temple Israel, Bloomfield MI
The Rev. Dr. Joel C. Hunter - Northland, A Church Distributed, Longwood FL
The Right Rev. Carolyn T. Irish - The Episcopal Church, Salt Lake City UT
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori - The Episcopal Church, New York NY
Rabbi Jennifer Kaluzny - Temple Israel, Bloomfield MI
Rabbi Harold Loss - Temple Israel, Bloomfield MI
Imam Mohamed Magid - All Dulles Area Muslim Society, Herndon VA
Rabbi Janet Marder - Congregation Beth Am, Los Altos Hills CA
The Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt - Fourth Universalist Society, New York NY
Rabbi Jack Moline - Agudas Achim Congregation, Alexandria VA
The Rev. Peter Morales - Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, Boston MA
Bishop Tonyia M. Rawls - Unity Fellowship Church Movement, Charlotte NC
Rabbi Peter Rubinstein - Central Synagogue, New York NY
Dr. Sayyid Syeed - Islamic Society of North America, Washington DC
The Rev. William G. Sinkford - Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, Boston MA
Rabbi Toba Spitzer - Congregation Dorshei Tzedek, West Newton MA
Rabbi Gil Steinlauf - Adas Israel Congregation, Washington DC
The Rev. Romal Tune - Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, Washington DC

If you are a member of the clergy,
Sign the pledge online or download the pledge here, sign it and fax or mail it back to Interfaith Alliance.
If you are not a member of the clergy, but believe in protecting both faith and freedom, Click here to Email E-mail or share this pledge with your clergy and ask them to sign.

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