Unconstitutional Experiment Threatens Religion and Democracy
In a news conference this week, The Interfaith Alliance and several national religious leaders called on President Bush to dismantle the Faith-Based Initiative. The leaders fear the Office has been used as a political football to gain favor with certain groups. The Rev. Timothy McDonald, Pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church in
“It is hard to bark when there’s a bone in your mouth,” McDonald says. “This Administration has used the faith-based initiative to buy the black church.”
Welton stresses the initiative was a bad idea when it was conceived in 1999 and is even worse now.
“Put plainly,” Gaddy says, “it’s an ill-conceived, unconstitutional experiment that creates government sponsored religion and threatens the integrity of democracy and the sanctity of religion.”
Continuing State of
“We’re going through a really bad patch,” Adler says. “I think that people’s hearts aren’t very open. I think what people are learning very often in their churches, in their synagogues and in their various houses of worship, are not an appreciation for diversity and I think it’s going to be a very long struggle.”
Teaching the Bible in Public Schools?
The Interfaith Alliance exposes assault on Protestant churches
This unprecedented look into the takeover of America’s churches reveals the ugly truths, personal experiences, and exhaustive research of four leaders:
Dr. Bruce Prescott, Executive Director of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists, is, like Welton, a veteran of the purges that marked the conservative takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention. The strategy, says Prescott, is to keep mainstream denominations in turmoil over wedge issues such as gay marriage, so that conservative leaders can be free to achieve their political and religious goals.
Dr. John Dorhauer, minister for the St. Louis Association of the United Churches of Christ, has seen congregations around him descend into in-fighting, provoked by right-wing propaganda. Dorhauer explains, “What the politically motivated achieve is the silence of the religious conscience voice that has historically led this country....If you take out the 45 million people that are represented by the National Council of Churches, you are going to hollow out one of the cores of our nation's democracy.”
United Methodist pastor and research psychologist Dr. Andrew Weaver has traced the campaign against mainline Protestantism largely to the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a think-tank funded by uber-conservative industrialists such as Richard Mellon Scaife and Adolph Coors. Weaver says that the IRD and so-called religious “renewal” groups are funneling money in "a systematic effort to undermine mainline churches that still have democratic, transparent processes." The problem in countering these efforts, he says, is that "All of these traditions have niceness at the core; while we've been thinking it's touch football, they've been playing tackle."
Welton offers listeners a wake-up call: "The Southern Baptist Convention was lost not because of those trying to take it over, but because of people arguing that it wasn't a big deal."
This issue has never before been discussed on national radio, and continues State of Belief’s -- and The Interfaith Alliance's -- focus on how religion is being manipulated for partisan political purposes. State of Belief: religion and radio, done differently.
Bishop Jane Holmes Dixon Joins Staff of The Interfaith Alliance
“Bishop Dixon’s work has provided a prophetic and inspirational emphasis throughout the faith community for many years and we are privileged to have her on staff to drive The Interfaith Alliance to be a leader in the fight to uphold our religious and civil freedoms,” said the Rev. Welton Gaddy, President of The Interfaith Alliance.
“My personal experience as a female in church leadership gives me a foundation on the importance of reaching out to people across the spectrum,”
Faith, Religion and the Environment
Gary Gardner, Director of Research at the WorldWatch Institute and author of the book Inspiring Progress: Religions’ Contributions to Sustainable Development, explains why religion is “an indispensable factor in achieving a sustainable world. Religion can help us rethink some of our roles and move them up the ladder.”
Welton talks with
“I would advise [President Bush] to look his children in the eyes and say to them, ‘The decisions I make today…will not hurt my grandchildren.’”
The show will also feature Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches and Rev. Claire Butterfield, head of
This issue is extremely important to people of faith and is at the center of debate on what are the next steps to improve our planet for the future. State of