Press Releases

This Sunday's State of Belief Radio: Special Edition

Washington, March 24 – On this Sunday’s "State of Belief," The Interfaith Alliance Foundation’s show on Air America Radio, Rev. Welton Gaddy sits down with religious leaders from several faith traditions to examine the controversial intersection of religion and sexual orientation.

 

Welton is joined in the studio by Rabbi Jack Moline, rabbi of Agudas Achim congregation of Alexandria, Virginia, Rev. Leonard Jackson, Associate Minister at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles, and Bishop Yvette Flunder, founder and senior pastor of the Ark of Refuge in San Francisco. The four leaders were on a panel this week in San Francisco to talk about sexual orientation and marriage and the role religion plays in the debate.

 

"We have to open doors and overcome roadblocks,” Welton says. “We have to forge a common ground with some whom most of us probably would not have anything to do with.”

 

We also hear from Reverend Susan Russell, Senior Associate for Parish Life at All Saints Church in Pasadena, California, on how same-sex marriage can strengthen the institution of marriage – and the institutions of democracy.

 

Welton also shares highlights of The Interfaith Alliance’s National Leadership Gathering held earlier this month in Nashville, TN. He plays a montage of clips including John Siegenthaler who reminds us of the young men and women who risked everything for the struggle and Imam Mahdi Bray warned us of the dangers of America straying from its democratic principles. 

Rev. Welton Gaddy - Public Enemy Number One!

Washington, March 30 – On this Sunday’s "State of Belief," The Interfaith Alliance Foundation’s show on Air America Radio, host Rev. Welton Gaddy talks with photographer Jose Camilo Vergara about the churches of the urban poor; tells listeners how the so-called "War on Christians" has branded him America's public enemy number one; and agrees - gasp! - with Bill O'Reilly!

Welton also explores U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's recent words -- and gestures -- with David Cole, law professor at Georgetown University and Legal Affairs correspondent for The Nation.

Reverend Debra Haffner, Director of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, talks about how organized religion has contributed to sexual confusion in America -- and the growing religious movement to affirm sexuality.  And a New Jersey councilman ponders what one does when your religion and your town mandate different days of rest.

Jose Camilo Vergara's latest collection, How the Other Half Worships, features over 300 photographs of churches, pastors and congregants in some of America's poorest urban neighborhoods.  Vergara tells Welton what he has learned about religion in America, and the ties that link human beings: "The religion I was seeing was a much more emotional religion.  People were not afraid to come right up and say, 'Thank God I have a driver's license!  Thank God my son got out of jail!"

Welton discusses his strong feelings "related to all this talk about Christian persecution.  I feel my American values are under attack, not my Christian values... The faith I know has no fear of living in a secular society.  It has no difficulty pledging allegiance to a government that treats all religions equally and also respects those who hold to no religion at all.  I am wary of people who would sacrifice the very freedom that gives them the right to sound ludicrous complaints, who would compromise the essence of democracy, to bring the whole nation in line with their vision."

The Faith Community Loses a Patriot, the Administration forgets about our poor and Welton's Curch Speaks Up!

Washington, April 14  On this Sunday's "State of Belief," The Interfaith Alliance Foundation's show on Air America Radio, Rev. Welton Gaddy talks about the passing of Rev. William Coffin, chats with Rev. Jim Forbes about the nations budget and listens members of his own congregation in Louisiana talk about what it means to be interfaith. Welton along with the entire faith community mourns the passing of Rev. William Sloane Coffin, a visionary and activist in the faith community. Cofin was a lifelong warrior for peace and a witness for justice and equal rights for all. He served as Senior Minister at The Riverside Church and as Yale University Chaplain. "He was as comfortable in a march as in a pulpit," Gaddy says, "as energized by protest as by advocacy, as fulfilled by his poetry as by his politics. This man was as deeply sensitive personally as he was profoundly courageous publicly. Though firmly a Christian, Bill Coffin embraced with appreciation the broadest expanse of religious traditions." Rev. Forbes is the first African-American minister to serve at The Riverside Church in New York. The Riverside Church is an interdenominational, interracial, and international church built by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1927 with more than 2,400 members. Welton asks Rev. Forbes why the Administration is having problems with the budget and who is at risk because of government cutbacks. "When the nation has difficulty," Forbes says, "they balance the budget on the backs of the poor. Something ought to be done about that." Members of Welton's congregation at Northminster Church explain what it was like building a progressive church in a conservative community and how important it is to build bridges between the religious groups within the community.

The Interfaith Alliance Urges President to Eliminate Unconstitutional Faith-Based Office

Washington, April 18 – Today, in response to the resignation of James Towey as director of the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives, The Interfaith Alliance again called on President Bush to end his unconstitutional experiment in government funding of religion and to eliminate that White House office and similar offices in federal departments and agencies.

 

“Mr. President, for the sake of religious liberty, please stop mixing religion with politics in the appropriations process and stop violating the Constitution by sponsoring and funding favored religious groups,” said the Rev. Welton Gaddy, president of The Interfaith Alliance. “A past director and a past deputy director of the president’s faith-based office have testified that it is and has always been a program designed to gain political advantage rather than to increase help to those in need. While the president has talked endlessly about the need for federal funding of religious organizations, he has decreased total funds going to faith-based social service providers in recent years.

 

“Because the Congress wisely refused to approve the president’s programs to funnel money to organizations that discriminate in hiring and that proselytize recipients, the president issued several executive orders in his first term bringing in five years of public policy that have been bad for religion and bad for democracy.

 

  “We believe that appropriate partnerships between religious organizations and the government for the purpose of helping those in need can be of great mutual benefit. For many decades, organizations like Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services and United Jewish Communities have performed invaluable services with financial assistance from the government. But they carefully separate religious activities from their 501(c) (3) social services programs. They follow all civil rights laws and they don’t discriminate in hiring based on religion. We encourage the continuation of federal support for such healthy partnerships, but neither job applicants nor recipients of assistance should have to risk the sacrifice of their religious freedom.”