Press Releases

Interfaith Alliance Express Solidarity With Kansas City Muslim Community Following Suspected Hate Crime

WASHINGTON - Following the death of a Muslim teenager in an apparent hate crime in Kansas City, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance sent the following letter expressing his solidarity to several local Muslim leaders:

Naji Ahamand
President
Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City
8501 E 99th St
Kansas City, MO 64134

December 5, 2014

Dear Mr. Ahamand,

My heart, and the thoughts and prayers of every member of Interfaith Alliance, are with you, your community and the family of the young boy who was killed yesterday. It is too soon to know the exact details of this attack, but it is not too soon to recognize the pain that your community is experiencing today.  We have, sadly, seen too many situations over the years like the brutal attack that occurred in Kansas City yesterday and we know that this violence affects more than just a particular individual.  Violence of this nature targets an entire community and attempts to tell that community that they are less a part of the fabric of American life, less entitled to the freedom of religion and protection of civil rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution. I write to you today to promise that no matter how pronounced the voices and actions of those who seek to isolate and denigrate American Muslims, the interfaith community will stand stronger in defense of religious freedom and equal rights.

It is troubling to reflect that recently I have had to write similar statements to the leaders of communities not so far away from your own, including the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park and the Flood Christian Church near Ferguson. The purveyors of hate who seek to terrorize minority communities in America are not limited in the targets of their vitriol. Today the Muslim community is joined in their grief by the Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist and Hindu communities who still grieve for the members of their communities that have been lost to hate and injustice. This violence endangers all of those who openly and proudly celebrate their religion - none of our religious freedom is truly secure until it is secure for all of us.

The fact that this pain is neither new nor unique to the Muslim community should not distract from the fact that there has been a surge in violence against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim in recent years. It is incumbent on people of all faiths and those of no particular faith tradition to stand together in this moment and demand an end to this kind of violence and discrimination against American Muslims. I urge law enforcement to do everything possible to ensure that justice is done for this young man and this community, and I urge all those in Kansas City and Overland Park, across the region and across the country, to continue to show solidarity for the Muslim community of greater Kansas City.

Sincerely,

Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy
President,
Interfaith Alliance

Interfaith Alliance Welcomes Feds' Step Toward Barring Discrimination By Federal Contractors

WASHINGTON – Following the Department of Labor’s move to prohibit discrimination by federal contractors and subcontractors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity – implementing the Executive Order signed by President Obama in July – Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance, released the following statement:

“This action marks another goalpost in the ongoing effort to end discrimination against, and to achieve full legal equality for, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The result of a several year campaign on the part of various civil rights and religious organizations united in support of ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, today’s victory would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of countless activists nor, indeed, the leadership of President Obama and Secretary Perez.

“Though the members of Interfaith Alliance will not truly celebrate until we have ensured employment protections for all Americans, regardless of where they’re employed, for those of us dedicated to ensuring that federal money is never used to further a religious ideology, there is a special victory in barring discrimination by those receiving federal contracts. The Religious Right put an enormous amount of pressure on the administration to carve out a special exemption to all religious contractors to discriminate against the LGBT community, but the President and Secretary Perez stood strong in defense of the Constitution and equality for all Americans. I look forward to continuing to work with the administration, Congress, and the unyielding coalition we have built, to prohibit all forms of discrimination against the LGBT community, and to ensure that the federal government doesn't fund religious discrimination of any kind.”

Interfaith Alliance Condemns Suspected Church Arson Near Ferguson

WASHINGTON – Following a suspected arson attack at the Flood Christian Church in St. Louis, whose leadership had spoken out vocally about the death of Michael Brown and where Michael Brown Sr. had recently been baptized, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance, released the following statement:

“As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, we remember that the freedom to worship without fear of persecution or the threat of violence was the very reason so many of our ancestors came to this land. That guarantee, enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution, can only be safeguarded if every house of worship in our nation is free from the threat of attack. Violence targeting religious communities for what they believe or preach, like the suspected arson at the Flood Christian Church, does more than terrorize one community; it jeopardizes the very core of the American promise and, indeed, threatens us all. While the relationship between law enforcement and the community in the St. Louis area remains dangerously divided, I hope that this tragic event will be investigated swiftly and thoroughly. My prayers are with the family and friends of Michael Brown as they continue to mourn, and with the community in Ferguson that continues to seek a peaceful and just way forward.

“The specifics of this attack are particularly chilling because they recall some of the darkest moments in American history. Throughout the twentieth century black churches were burned and brutalized as a means of silencing the prophetic voice of African American religious communities who demanded civil rights and equality. In the twenty-first century all Americans must stand with those religious communities who are victimized for their beliefs and declare that we will not be silenced. We dare not be divided or allow others to divide us into black churches or white churches, synagogues or mosques in this matter. Religious freedom is only safe if it protects us all.

“Our nation’s observance of Thanksgiving Day provides us with a great opportunity to reaffirm the necessity of religious freedom and for all Americans to recommit themselves to the application and protection of that freedom every day for every person.”

Interfaith Alliance Condemns 6th Circuit Decision Against Equality

WASHINGTON – Following yesterday’s decision by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upholding bans on marriage equality in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky – contradicting every other Circuit Court decision since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 – Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance, issued the following statement:

“The decision by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upholding bans on marriage equality is a tragic development for those couples and families in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky, who have waited so long and worked so hard for full legal recognition. Beyond that, it is a blow to those of us who have fought to see marriage equality spread and hope to see equality nationwide soon.

“Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote in the majority opinion that allowing the court, rather than the voters, to deliver marriage equality denied the opportunity for ‘people, gay and straight alike, [to] become the heroes of their own stories…’ Apparently, Judge Sutton does not know the heroes that I do. Without the heroic actions of thousands of LGBT couples across America, cases like this one would never have been brought. Without the leadership of countless civil rights activists and faith leaders we would not have seen the growing popular support for LGBT equality we see today. And, yes, without the courageous acts of those attorneys and judges who were unwilling to accept the previous status quo we would not have achieved the legal consensus that this decision defied. As Judge Sutton says, these stories need to be told – but they also need the legal affirmation from all of our nation’s courts that they so righteously deserve.

“It is my sincere hope that this misguided decision spurs quick action from the Supreme Court to bring marriage equality and religious freedom to all Americans. Until then, our thoughts and prayers are with those heroes who have been asked to remain unrecognized and unequal before that ultimate justice is rendered.”