Press Releases

The Interfaith Alliance exposes assault on Protestant churches

 This Sunday, May 21, on The Interfaith Alliance Foundation's radio show State of Belief, Rev. Welton Gaddy exposes the coordinated effort to undermine mainline Protestantism -- and render America's largest denomination incapable of standing up to right wing politics.

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

Washington, May 18 – The Interfaith Alliance today announced the appointment of Rt. Rev. Jane Holmes Dixon to the new position of Senior Advisor for Interreligious Relations.

 

Dixon’s experience and leadership within the church will take TIA to a new level of expertise in the national religious community. She has tirelessly worked for religious cooperation and social justice throughout her career.

 

“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.

 

Dixon was ordained as priest in 1982 and was only the second female named bishop by the Episcopal Church where she served Washington, D.C.

 

“My personal experience as a female in church leadership gives me a foundation on the importance of reaching out to people across the spectrum,” Dixon said.  “With the support of The Interfaith Alliance I will make sure everyone has a voice at the table and that each voice is heard.”

 

Dixon has served as chair of TIA’s Board of Directors and was named Washingtonian of the Year in 2001 by Washingtonian Magazine for promoting “tolerance and togetherness” following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Faith, Religion and the Environment

 This Sunday, May 28, on The Interfaith Alliance Foundation's radio show State of Belief, Rev. Welton Gaddy takes an in-depth look at the role of faith and religion in protecting our environment with several leaders in the field. This dialogue hit the mainstream news in February when a coalition of evangelical leaders sponsored an initiative pushing for environmental action.

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 Chief Jake Swamp of the Mowhawk Nation, founder of the Tree of Peace Society, about the value of preserving our planet for generations still to come and shares a traditional Mohawk prayer for the Earth. Chief Swamp also gives his advice to the President about the environment.

“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 Chicago’s Faith in Place.

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 Belief is committed to keeping this issue on the front burner and encourages everyone to do what you can in local communities to increase knowledge of global warming.

What Should the Definition of Marriage be?

Washington June 1 – On this Sunday’s "State of Belief," The Interfaith Alliance Foundation’s show on Air America Radio, Rev. Welton Gaddy talks with the president of the Unitarian Universalist Association and hears from grassroots religious leaders about the Federal Marriage Amendment. Welton also talks to Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune about religious leaders recent declaration on violence against women in religious congregations.

The Federal Marriage Amendment is scheduled to go to the Senate floor next week for debate and a vote.  The amendment has been called a “partisan tool” in election year politics as the Administration panders to its radical religious right base.  Many people say the amendment writes discrimination into the Constitution without cause. One of those people is the Rev. Bill Sinkford, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

“This is not an arbitrary or theoretical discussion,” Sinkford says. “This is about real human beings.”

Sinkford has performed many same-sex marriages in his church and remembers the first one with pride.

“My overriding feeling was one of joy as it is with the celebration of any couple,” Sinkford says. “[Same sex marriages] pose no threat to other marriages and they pose no threat to the institution of marriage.”

 

Three grassroots clergy speak about coming to Washington, D.C. last week to talk to their senators about the amendment. Rev. Steve Copley, Rabbi Eugene Levy and Rev. Betty McCollum talk about the reasons many clergy do not support this amendment.

The Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune, founder and senior analyst for the FaithTrust Institute, joins Welton to discuss the National Declaration by Religious Leaders to Address Violence Against Women, saying religious leaders must acknowledge and confront such violence. 

“There is a too common belief among our religious leaders that these things don’t happen in their faith community,” Fortune says.