Nov 04 2013
WASHINGTON—Following an historic cloture vote in the United States Senate that all but assures passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the first time in that chamber since the bill was introduced in 1994, Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement:
"Today’s cloture vote is an historic step forward in our nation’s journey toward equality for all people. While the path to eventual passage by both houses remains long and uncertain, it is significant that 61 members of the United States Senate, both Republicans and Democrats, have come together to allow legislation to move forward that will prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace."
"As debate continues this week, I am sadly confident that many of ENDA’s opponents will wrongly claim that it is a threat to religious liberty. They will try to convince you that ‘religious freedom’ means that they have the right to discriminate against LGBT people in the workplace and deny them the same right to work afforded to others—that is neither fair nor right. I find no place in the First Amendment that justifies such discrimination. Let me be perfectly clear: ENDA is not a threat to religious liberty and religion should never be used to discriminate."
"Even if ENDA never receives a vote in the House of Representatives this Congress, passing the Senate for the first time—with unprecedented bipartisan support, no less—is a monumental step forward."
Over 120 Rights, Faith, and Community Groups Ask Justice Department to Investigate NYPD for Muslim Surveillance
Oct 24 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 24, 2013
NEW YORK – A coalition of 125 religious, racial justice, civil rights, and community-based organizations sent a letter to the Justice Department today urging it to open a civil rights investigation into the New York City Police Department for its program of spying on Muslims without suspicion of wrongdoing.
Groups representing diverse faith traditions and beliefs who signed the letter include Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, and Muslim organizations, such as the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), National Council of Jewish Women, the Hindu American Foundation, the Sikh Coalition, and national, regional, and New York-based Muslim groups. The civil rights and community-based groups include the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), and the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC).
"Putting a class of Americans under surveillance based on their religion is a clear violation of our Constitution’s guarantees of equality and religious freedom," said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project. "The NYPD’s surveillance program has stigmatized Muslims as suspect and had deeply negative effects on their free speech, association, and religious practice."
As documented extensively by the NYPD's own records, the department has built a program dedicated to suspicionless blanket surveillance of Muslims in the greater New York City area. Officers and informants have routinely monitored restaurants, bookstores, and mosques, and created records of innocent conversations. An NYPD official admitted that the mapping activities have not generated a single lead or resulted in even one terrorism investigation.
"The NYPD’s unconstitutional mapping and surveillance of American Muslims is religious, racial, and ethnic discrimination at its worst," said Hilary O. Shelton, director of the NAACP's Washington Bureau and senior vice president for policy and advocacy. "It is beyond offensive and wrong for the NYPD or any law enforcement agency to stereotypically single out American Muslims as being more prone to violence based solely on their religious membership or affiliation. Just as the Civil Rights Division has investigated and sanctioned police departments for biased profiling based on race and ethnicity, it should investigate the NYPD for profiling based on religion."
The department has also sent paid infiltrators into mosques, student associations, and beyond to take photos, write down license plate numbers, and keep notes on people because they are Muslim.
"One of the foundations of this nation is freedom of religion for everyone, yet this fundamental freedom is threatened if even one group’s ability to freely practice its faith is attacked." said Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance and pastor for preaching and worship at Northminster (Baptist) Church in Monroe, Louisiana. "In America, law enforcement should never turn anyone's First Amendment-protected religious beliefs into cause for suspicion, and yet evidence shows that's exactly what the NYPD is doing to Muslim New Yorkers. The fact that people of faith might have to fear going to their houses of worship or freely practicing their religion is about as un-American as un-American gets."
A copy of the letter can be found at:
Oct 23 2013
Washington, DC – Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy released the following statement on the passing of longtime friend and colleague Pam Baldwin, the Executive Director of Interfaith Alliance of Idaho:
"On behalf of the board of directors and staff of Interfaith Alliance in Washington, we mourn the passing of our friend and colleague Pam Baldwin. As the Executive Director of Interfaith Alliance of Idaho, Pam has been a long-time partner in our work protecting faith and freedom. Her hard work has contributed to protecting the rights of Idahoans across the state. Her many accomplishments included the development of workshops to combat hate crimes, bringing together people of many faiths to take on homelessness, and standing by the Muslim community after 9/11. She was a mentor to many on issues of fairness and justice. Our thoughts and prayers are with Pam’s husband Bob, her children and the rest of her family and friends."
Interfaith Alliance slams new legislation that seeks to legalize discrimination against LGBT couples again
Sep 19 2013
Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy blasted a new bill, the “Marriage and Religious Freedom Act” which falsely purports to protect religious individuals and institutions who object to marriage for same-gender couples. Instead, the legislation would enable discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. Rev. Gaddy issued the following statement in response to the bill:
"The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act peddles the false notion that religious liberty and marriage equality are at odds—which is patently untrue. The stated purpose of this bill is to prevent the adverse treatment of anyone because of his or her views on marriage. Yet, this bill would result in the adverse treatment of same-gender couples who have made a lifetime commitment to the person they love through marriage. We must see this bill for what it truly is—discrimination against LGBT Americans and the further misappropriation of religious liberty to achieve that discrimination."
"This bill would also result in taxpayer-funded discrimination, as it urges our government to fund social service providers without the requirement that they serve all Americans equally. The First Amendment protects our religious freedom but that freedom is not a license to discriminate. A final reminder: marriage equality does not put houses of worship and clergy at risk. Our government cannot—and does not —require clergy to solemnize unions with which they do not agree. Religion and religious freedom should never be used to discriminate, and neither should tax dollars."