Oct 06 2014
WASHINGTON – Following today’s decision by the Supreme Court to decline to review the same-sex marriage cases from the 10th, 4th and 7th Circuit Courts, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance, released the following statement:
“My heart is filled with joy for the couples that will see their relationships legally affirmed following today’s decision. The Supreme Court thankfully brings the wait for equality to an end for couples in Wisconsin, Utah, Oklahoma, Indiana and Virginia. However, it leaves far too many others in limbo, denied equality before the law. That lack of resolution is unacceptable in our democracy that claims equal justice for everybody.”
“While the political and legal logic of today’s decision are evident, the moral logic remains confounding. How can we abide a decision that denies people living in some states the same fundamental human right to marry that is given to people in other states? If the Constitution’s promise of religious freedom mandates that no one religion’s definition of marriage can be given precedence by the state, how can that freedom be limited to only those Americans who happen to live in the right jurisdiction? Our nation’s leaders – whether through the courts or the legislature – must act swiftly to secure equality and freedom for all Americans. There is no moral justification for delay.”
Sep 23 2014
Washington, D.C. – Following today’s decision by a judge in Louisiana requiring the state to recognize a same-sex marriage, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance and Pastor for Preaching and Worship at Northminster Church in Monroe, LA, released the following statement:
“My first reaction to hearing today’s ruling was to shout ‘Hallelujah.’ This judgment of the court is a sign of hope amid the maelstrom of despair and confusion that Louisiana’s LGBT community has lived through recently. It is also a promise that at least some in the state’s political and legal structure are motivated less by prejudice and politics than by the Constitution’s promise of equality and religious freedom. I sincerely hope that the rest of our state’s leadership learns from the courage of Angela Marie Costanza and Chasity Shanelle Brewer and Judge Rubin’s prudent ruling.”
“My most heartfelt congratulations go out to this family who has had their love and legal status affirmed by the court today. It is time for our Governor and Attorney General to stop spending taxpayer dollars trying to undermine families like this one. The two conflicting decisions from Louisiana judges in the last month serve as yet more proof that the Supreme Court must act swiftly to ensure the freedom to marry for all Louisianans and, indeed, for all Americans.”
Sep 17 2014
Washington – Following today’s announcement that the U.S. Air Force has revised its policy to allow service-members to omit the phrase “So help me God” from its required oath after an air man was denied re-enlistment several weeks ago, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance, released the following statement:
“I applaud the Air Force’s decision to revise its policy requiring service-members to say the words ‘so help me God’ in the oath they are obligating to take in order to serve. Not to do so would have been to continue a discriminatory practice in direct contradiction to the religious freedom of the men and women in the armed services. We regularly ask service members to make great sacrifices on behalf of our country; we dare not also ask them to sacrifice their own right to affirm their personal beliefs.
It should be of no consequence that the airman at the center of this policy change was secular. Compliant with the First Amendment to our Constitution, the free-exercise rights of secular service-members must be safeguarded just as surely as the rights of Christians and Jews, Muslims and Sikhs. Time and time again the secular community has proven to be among our staunchest allies in the struggle for religious freedom in America. People who enjoy freedom in their practice of faith must readily rise together to defend the rights of the growing number of Americans who claim no faith.
While I celebrate the Air Force’s decision today, I am disheartened that this policy existed in the first place and that it took so long to change. Clearly, all responsible citizens must remain steadfast working to ensure that all service-members are protected by the Constitution they have volunteered to defend."
Interfaith Alliance, Interfaith Alliance Iowa Condemn Rep. Steve King's Remarks About American Muslims
Sep 12 2014
WASHINGTON – Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance, was joined by Connie Ryan Terrell, executive director of Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, in condemning offensive remarks by U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa. Yesterday Rep. King claimed on the Deace Show that American mosques are communication centers for ISIS and terrorist organizations and argued “we ought to have people in those mosques watching to see what’s going on.” Interfaith Alliance has been a leading voice against anti-Muslim bigotry and misguided approaches to surveillance of the Muslim community.
“Working to counter terrorism at home and abroad is a necessary goal and critical for American national security, but targeting and denigrating American Muslims will not help accomplish it,” said Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance. “Without a specific and credible threat, the type of surveillance that Congressman King advocates would represent a serious breach of the First Amendment rights every American is entitled to – including Muslims. Worse yet, using precious resources to surveil mosques will only serve as a distraction from real opportunities to root out extremists. The accusations that Rep. King makes only serve to alienate the majority of American Muslims who are a bulwark against extremism.”
Added Connie Ryan Terrell, executive director of Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, “The First Amendment protects the rights of all Americans, regardless of faith. The same religious freedom that prevents a minister from being prosecuted for what he or she says from the pulpit prevents the infiltration of mosques by law enforcement without cause. Congressman King owes an apology to the Muslim communities in Iowa – and Iowans of all faiths. He should not take our country’s religious freedom so lightly.”
Interfaith Alliance has long worked for an end to discrimination motivated by religion and to safeguard the Constitution’s promise of religious freedom. Interfaith Alliance co-authored the resource “What is the Truth About American Muslims: Questions and Answers,” with the Religious Freedom Education Project in order to counter misinformation about and misunderstandings of Islam and of the American Muslim community. More recently, Interfaith Alliance drafted an amicus brief in the case Hassan v. City of New York condemning the NYPD’s surveillance of mosques and Muslim community centers as a violation of the First Amendment.