Aug 14 2013
Washington, D.C. – Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy slammed a report calling for an end to the long-time ban on clergy preaching politics from the pulpit. The report was issued by the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations. Gaddy issued the following statement in response to the report:
"The fact that this particular grouping of people has come together to call for eliminating the ban on politics from the pulpit is of little surprise. No one should misunderstand this report as representative of all people of faith or as authentic to our nation’s historic understanding of the boundaries between religion and government. Indeed, the report does not even represent the whole of the commission’s advisors, particularly those -- whom I am proud to call colleagues -- who wrote their own position paper opposing the conclusions of the commission report."
"The rights of clergy to preach about the most pressing issues of the day and to provide moral guidance to their congregations are not in danger and rightly must be protected. But those rights are very different from standing at the pulpit -- shrouded in your faith -- to announce that your congregation should vote for one candidate or party over another. There is an implicit message in doing so -- sometimes explicit -- that clergy are speaking in the name of God and an explicit message that breeds divisiveness in a congregation that should be together united in faith."
"Frankly, there is already too much religion in politics. When candidates invoke religion, or ask clergy to do it for them, it is usually about advancing the candidate and rarely about benefiting religion. Changing the laws of the land to allow a further intertwining of religion and politics will only serve to endanger both. Having served as an active pastor for more than 50 years, I cannot think of a more effective way of harming houses of worship across our nation than to allow partisan politics to compromise the integrity of the inclusive message of houses of worship."
Aug 05 2013
On August 5, 2012, a gunman with neo-Nazi ties stormed into a gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and opened fire killing six American Sikh worshippers and injuring three others. It was one of the most lethal attacks on an American house of worship since the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.
One year after one of the deadliest hate crimes in our nation's history, The Sikh Coalition, Muslim Advocates, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Anti-Defamation League, Interfaith Alliance, Rights Working Group, and American Civil Liberties Union remember the victims and their families. We hope that our national leaders will address the escalating crisis of violence and discrimination against religious minorities in America. Too many lives have been destroyed because of hate violence from the shooting at the Oak Creek gurdwara to the multitude of violent attacks on members from the Arab, Muslim, Sikh, Jewish, and South Asian American communities. Approximately 100 organizations and 37 members of Congress have called on President Obama to directly tackle the problem and host a summit to find solutions on how to protect religious minorities and prevent violence and discrimination. Now, more than ever, President Obama's leadership is critical to this issue; we hope that he will take action and that tragedies such as these never happen again.
Jul 10 2013
Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement applauding the 15-7 Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions committee vote to send the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to the floor of the U.S. Senate:
"The strong bipartisan vote in support of ENDA today in the Senate HELP Committee is no small feat and is another indicator of how far we have come as a nation, a reflection of the breadth of support for protections like this. It is long past time for ENDA to become law and I urge the Senate to move quickly to schedule a vote and, of course, to pass this legislation."
"It is no secret that religion and religious freedom are often invoked as reasons to oppose ENDA and other measures that would ensure LGBT Americans are fully and equally protected under law. This law, however, broadly exempts houses of worship and religiously affiliated organizations, mirroring the exemptions provided in the religious discrimination provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Any claims that ENDA is a threat to religious liberty are misplaced. Religion should never be used to discriminate."
Jun 26 2013
WASHINGTON - Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued decisions in two cases, Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor, which overturned California’s ban on same-gender marriage and invalidated a section of the Defense of Marriage Act. Interfaith Alliance joined legal briefs in both cases urging these results and Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement celebrating today’s Supreme Court decisions:
The enormity of today’s decisions cannot be overstated. The combined impact of these two rulings puts our nation further down the inevitable and proper path towards full marriage equality for the LGBT community. All Americans should rejoice in today’s decisions because they bring us that much closer to fulfilling the promise of our Constitution. I am hopeful that today’s decision striking down DOMA as unconstitutional and overturning the Proposition 8 case on standing will be followed by continued victories in this fight for equality. That a majority of the Court recognized in the DOMA case that this was an issue of equal protection denied is no small victory.
To those critics who will try to characterize these decisions as a threat to their religious freedom, let me say they could not be more wrong. No members of the clergy can be required to perform a religious ceremony that goes against the dictates of their faith, and thanks to the protections afforded by the First Amendment nothing in today’s decisions changes that fact. Interfaith Alliance’s work for LGBT equality is not finished and we will not be finished until all Americans are afforded the rights restored today for the people of California.