Washington, D.C. – Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy released the following statement today in response to Texas Governor and Republican Presidential candidate Rick Perry’s new television ad airing in Iowa, entitled “Strong”:
Rick Perry has taken us to a new low in campaign ads with his “Strong” ad. Under the guise of spirituality, Perry has taken the manipulation of religion for partisan political advantage to an incredible, almost unbelievable extreme. With a smile on his face, he trades on personal attacks and provable untruths that reveal no understanding of the first amendment to the Constitution and very little respect for the integrity of religion. 
His ad suggests a war on religion that simply does not exist. His statement that he is ‘not ashamed to be a Christian,’ would seem to imply that too many of our public officials are. If anything, the opposite is true. Far too many candidates in both parties trying to use their faith as a political weapon rather than a source for inspiration.  This is a race for commander-in-chief, not pastor-in-chief.  His divisive and misleading message about faith has no place in a U.S Presidential campaign. 
These are difficult times and we are a country facing serious challenges requiring real solutions. Prioritizing one religious perspective in favor of another does nothing to move us forward. As a fellow Christian, I want Gov. Perry to understand that he is woefully mistaken when he implies that it is his faith, rather than his policy views, that qualify him for office. Rather than fighting these supposed ‘liberal attacks’ on our religious heritage, he should focus on protecting that heritage by guarding religious freedom for everyone.

Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.