Statement of Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy On the Final Report of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
"Maybe today’s final report from the White House on the faith-based initiative is the final act in an eight-year long charade, the true intent of which remains un-acknowledged. Indeed, nowhere in this wrap-up narrative on President Bush’s faith-based initiative will you find an admission that Congress never approved or funded the office, a note about the initiative’s divisiveness in local communities in which various religious groups were not treated equally, or a confession of the rank politicization of the office by electioneering politicos in the White House not to mention the threat to religious freedom as guaranteed by the constitution. As some former workers in the faith based office have pointed out, the zeal of the office was most apparent in so-called faith-based rallies held in swing states in election years and through unfettered government intrusion into sectarian organizations as federal funds were poured into the offering plates of religious organizations. The Bush Administration used this controversial office to direct money to friends on the religious right pretending that no constitutional boundaries exist between institutions of religion and agencies of government. We should all be thankful the charade is over."
"While I would have preferred that the incoming Obama administration close down this office, I am pleased by the transition team’s willingness to listen to concerns raised by those of us who have been critical of the office over the years. I await Mr. Obama's proposal for the future of the faith-based initiative with cautious optimism."
Statement of Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy on The “No Mob Vote” ad in today’s New York Times
The “No Mob Vote” ad in today’s New York Times
Washington, DC – Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement today in response to the “No Mob Veto” ad in today’s New York Times. Signed by thirteen faith leaders, including some of the biggest names on the Religious Right, the ad condemns violence and intimidation against houses of worship, specifically in this case the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS).
"I am pleased to see the newfound commitment of some of my friends on the right to fight against anti-religious bigotry and violence against houses of worship. These are principles that have been at the core of the Interfaith Alliance’s mission since its founding. "
"While I wholeheartedly disagree with the position of the LDS church on proposition 8, I agree with the signers of the ad that they have every right to their opinion. I do wonder if the signers will be willing to spend tens-of-thousands of dollars along with their prestige the next time a primarily gay congregation’s legitimacy is called in to question, or a mosque is targeted for harassment. "
"I invite the ad’s signers to prove me wrong. I invite them to encourage houses of worship across the country to engage in dialogue across the political spectrum. Not to proselytize, but to build understanding. Not to change theology, but to understand each other’s theological perspective. "
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Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance has 185,000 members across the country from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org
Statement of Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy On Senator Dole’s “Godless” Ad
Washington, DC - Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement in response to a new TV ad from Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) disparaging law abiding Americans who choose not to have God in their lives:
"Elizabeth Dole should be ashamed of her self for authorizing an ad that denigrates a huge segment of law abiding Americans. Religious freedom, as guaranteed in our constitution, gives every person the right to choose what faith to follow or to follow no faith at all. More importantly, and most important in this hotly-contested election, choosing not to embrace faith does not disqualify a person from participating in the political process."
"Senator Dole's add asks what Kay Hagan promised the Godless American PAC in exchange for their support. Is Senator Dole prepared to answer the same question about the more then $1.5 million she has received in PAC money during the 2008 cycle? (source: opensecrets.org) My hope is that both Ms. Hagan and Senator Dole have promised all of their supporters that they will vigorously defend the right of every American to choose or reject faith and to worship... or not. Such action is integral to the promise to defend the constitution made by every member of Congress."
Statement of Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy On James Dobson’s “Letter From 2012”
The so called "letter from 2012" released by James Dobson is one of the most disingenuous pieces of political rhetoric I have ever encountered. The letter, portrayed as his worst fears, actually reveals the details of his agenda over the next four years.
The Religious Right has a proven track record of ripping apart administrations that don't toe their party line, but this is the first time I have seen a president condemned before he is even elected. If we accept this fear-mongering, it will only serve to embolden and empower Dr. Dobson and his allies.
I understand that Dr. Dobson has a different vision for America than what may come about if Barack Obama is elected president - and I remind you that is still very much an "if" - but our leaders are elected to represent the views of all Americans, not just those who agree with Focus on the Family.
These are difficult times we are living in, and we must - together - bring our nation safely through them before we can pretend to assume what difficult times may lie ahead. Regardless of who is elected next Tuesday, our new president must ensure that our nation remains open to people of all faith traditions, that it continues to embrace the principle of religious freedom on which it was founded and that its citizens are respected as much for their individual differences as they are for their collective patriotism.
James Dobson's letter is a reactionary abomination, containing a dismal distrust of democracy and a disrespect for the American people. Evidently Dr. Dobson's resident apocalyptic fortune teller went crazy!
Statement by Rabbi Jack Moline on the Film Obsession
In the Jewish tradition, we hold a particular disdain for people who are, as we say, “sinners with the permission of the Torah.” That is, we deplore individuals who selectively apply the permissions and restrictions to claim that they are within the sacred instructions in pursuit of disreputable and destructive ends.
you would like to see an example of such people in an American context, you
need only look to the production and distribution of “Obsession.” Claiming a concern for the
Terrorism is a real threat to this country and, in fact, to every country. Our next President, whoever he may be, will need to deal with terrorism as a strategy on many fronts and from many sources. The misdirection of “Obsession” not only sullies and alienates the adherents of Islam, but distracts the attention of all concerned Americans from the genuine threats from terrorist renegades of many origins, including non-Muslim Americans.
at the Interfaith Alliance call on both Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama to repudiate
this film and reject the support of those associated with it. We call on them to promote a pluralistic view
of religion and faith as a source of unity and healing. We call on both candidates to reject the use
of religion as a political weapon. The
good work in interfaith relations all over this country would be strengthened
by encouragement from the next President of the
I introduce Rev.