Interfaith Alliance Statement On The President’s Remarks to the Muslim World
President Obama is to be commended for reaching out to the Muslim world with a message that makes clear they are not the enemy. I was particularly pleased to hear the president speak about the centrality of the need for religious freedom both in the Muslim world and here at home.
It is also clear the president understands that powerful words need to be backed up by meaningful action if we are to achieve real change. Working towards finding common ground seems to be a reasonable goal for all of us involved in the search for improved relationships with the Muslim world.
Interfaith Alliance Statement on The Shooting of Dr. George Tiller at a Kansas Church
Washington, DC - Interfaith Alliance Board Chair, Rev. Dr. Galen Guengerich, issued the following statement today in response to the shooting of Dr. George Tiller at a Wichita, KA church:
Today's despicable shooting at a Kansas church is profoundly disturbing. The abortion issue evokes deep passion from people on all sides, but resorting to murder should never be an option. The fact that it happened at a church is all the more distressing. Our houses of worship should be places where people find comfort and solace, not where they fear for their lives.
The solution to reducing the number of abortions in this country is not murder; it is for all sides to work together towards a common ground.
Interfaith Alliance Statement: California Supreme Court Decision Rejects Marriage Equality
The California Supreme Court's decision to uphold Proposition 8 is a disappointing setback for marriage equality. Allowing 18,000 same-gender marriages to stand, while denying that same to right to those who come after, does not even rise to the standard of separate but equal - it is separate and unequal.
Strengthening assured equality and supporting expanded civil rights among all people are essential actions in the cause of justice. Despite today's decision, I believe that our nation, committed to liberty and justice for all, will continue moving towards equal rights for the LGBT community.
There are no easy answers as we move forward in addressing this issue, but the foundation of any solution is to find common ground on which the people in our nation can meet and, through honest, civil debate, chart a legal path. A violation of the basic nature of democracy is of no help to anyone. I am confident that our nation is compassionate enough and smart enough to find a way for people with contradictory values and opinions as well as beliefs and religions to live together without denying civil rights for all.
Interfaith Alliance Statement on the Nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court
President Obama exercised one of his most important responsibilities today in nominating Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be appointed a justice on the United States Supreme Court.
The president's choice of a Hispanic woman as his nominee moves the nation closer to a court that represents the grand diversity of America. Far more important than the nominee's gender and ethnicity, however, is her commitment to the Constitution and determination to respect the inherent rights of every citizen.
The U.S. Senate must now examine Judge Sotomayor and ensure she is up to the challenge the president has asked her to assume. Given the tenuous nature of the public's continued support for the religious liberty clauses in the Constitution and constant assaults on the separation of church and state from both government and religion, I will be particularly attentive to the nominee's views on the importance of preventing any entanglement between the institutions of religion and government in our nation. Though this is not the only concern that merits attention and examination, support for religious freedom is crucial to maintaining the foundation on which our system of government has been constructed and sustained
Interfaith Alliance Statement on Bible Verses in Bush Era Intelligence Reports
Washington, DC - Interfaith Alliance President, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, issued the following statement in response to reports that intelligence reports produced by the Defense Department during the Bush Administration included covers adorned with biblical passages.
I find the Defense Department's use of biblical quotes in intelligence reports during the Bush Administration offensive morally and sacrilegious spiritually. Arguing that the scripture-quoting covers were rarely seen by the president misses the point completely. The real harm in this ludicrous decision is not the Bible passages' impact on the president if he saw them but the lack of constitutional sensitivity, and the bold manipulation of religion in the mind of a senior military official and the subsequent religiofication of military conflict planted in the minds of those charged with defending national security. How shameful that military leaders promoted the perception that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were religious wars!
Unfortunately this just-disclosed development from the Bush Administration is not an isolated incident. Rather, it is the latest example of the military using religion as another of its strategies in the execution of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just this month we were shocked by clear evidence of proselytizing by military personnel in Afghanistan. To use Sacred Scriptures laced with a message of peace to build support for fomenting war approaches the status of conscionable behavior!
No longer will words suffice to define the character of our military. The Pentagon's action and the ruthless imposition of religion by some of its personnel requires demonstrable correction. Commander-in-Chief Obama must direct the Secretary of Defense to institute policies that ensure our nation continues its historic constitutional mission that includes protecting freedom and not promoting religion.