May 15 2013
WASHINGTON - Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement celebrating the growing trend of same-gender marriage legalization and expressed concern about the corresponding trend of religious freedom exemptions:
It is thrilling to watch the wave of states enacting marriage equality laws continue to move across the nation, with Delaware and Minnesota being the latest to do so. Still, I wish that the inclusion of religious exemptions—even those which are benign—were not part of this continued trend. I continue to believe the First Amendment and existing laws already protect religious freedom, and that ensuring the civil rights of LGBT Americans is not at odds with respecting religious freedom. Yet, it is still a victory when more government entities recognize that our civil laws on marriage cannot continue to be based on one theological perspective of who can or should be allowed to marry.
May 09 2013
As leaders of organizations that advocate for religious freedom for all, we urge the Senate to support the inclusion of religion and national origin in the immigration reform bill’s prohibition against profiling by law enforcement. As written, the bill omits these categories, prohibiting profiling based only on race and ethnicity. This glaring loophole must be closed.
By omitting religion and national origin in this manner, Congress would effectively give law enforcement the go-ahead to target Americans based on these defining characteristics. This is particularly true since other sections of this very bill prohibit discrimination based on religion, as do countless civil rights laws, always alongside race, ethnicity and national origin, leading to the inference that such an omission is intentional.
We appreciate that most law enforcement officials discharge their duties honorably. Yet, when law enforcement profiles individuals based solely on their real or perceived religion, it undermines our nation’s commitment to religious liberty and equal protection of the law—not to mention our security. Furthermore, such actions not only have the effect of discriminating against religion generally and religious minorities in particular, but also fuel divisiveness by casting suspicion over an entire religious community. We applaud Sen. Mazie Hirono’s proposed amendment to correct this egregious oversight and we urge her fellow senators to support this amendment.
Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy
President, Interfaith Alliance
Nancy K. Kaufman
Chief Executive Officer, National Council of Jewish Women
Rabbi David Saperstein
Director and Counsel, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Rev. J. Brent Walker
Executive Director, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty
May 07 2013
WASHINGTON — Having previously signed a joint amicus brief challenging the Louisiana school voucher program recently signed into law by Governor Bobby Jindal, Interfaith Alliance expressed relief at the state supreme court’s decision overturning the method of funding for the voucher program as unconstitutional. Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, who has been an outspoken critic of the voucher scheme both as president of Interfaith Alliance and in his capacity of Pastor for Preaching and Worship of Northminster (Baptist) Church in Monroe, La. Rev. Gaddy issued the following statement:
"I am relieved that the Louisiana Supreme Court overturned our state’s school voucher program which diverts taxpayer dollars from public schools to private schools—the vast majority of which are religious in nature."
"Most, if not all private religious schools are governed by theology both in the general operations of the school and the development of course curricula. Funding, participating in, and sending our children to religious education programs is the right and responsibility of faith communities, clergy, and parents as they see fit—not of our government. Every American also has an equal right to choose not to fund or participate in religious education."
"I have little doubt that our legislators and governor will attempt to circumvent this ruling and find new methods to keep the voucher program funded. But they should have little doubt that I—and other Louisianans who value religious liberty—will continue to fight these programs."
May 03 2013
WASHINGTON - Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement celebrating the legalization of same-gender marriage in Rhode Island and now all of New England:
I congratulate Rhode Island on becoming the tenth state in our nation to grant marriage equality to all couples and to recognize that our civil laws on marriage cannot continue to be based on one theological perspective of who can or should be allowed to marry. Given our nation's constitutional commitment to religious freedom, nothing in Rhode Island’s enactment of marriage equality will deprive anyone of the right to practice the teachings of their respective religious institutions.
Though I am pleased legislators take protecting religious freedom seriously, the implicit message that continues to be sent by religious exemptions in such legislation is that the First Amendment does not already provide adequate protections for religious freedom – I believe that it does. Ensuring the civil rights of the LGBT community and respecting religious freedom for all persons are not mutually exclusive. It is a victory for equality and for religious liberty when our leaders act to correct public policies shaped by some groups’ religious convictions.