Washington, DC – Interfaith Alliance President, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, issued the following statement in response to reports that intelligence reports produced by the Defense Department during the Bush Administration included covers adorned with biblical passages.

I find the Defense Department’s use of biblical quotes in intelligence reports during the Bush Administration offensive morally and sacrilegious spiritually. Arguing that the scripture-quoting covers were rarely seen by the president misses the point completely. The real harm in this ludicrous decision is not the Bible passages’ impact on the president if he saw them but the lack of constitutional sensitivity, and the bold manipulation of religion in the mind of a senior military official and the subsequent religiofication of military conflict planted in the minds of those charged with defending national security. How shameful that military leaders promoted the perception that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were religious wars!

Unfortunately this just-disclosed development from the Bush Administration is not an isolated incident. Rather, it is the latest example of the military using religion as another of its strategies in the execution of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just this month we were shocked by clear evidence of proselytizing by military personnel in Afghanistan. To use Sacred Scriptures laced with a message of peace to build support for fomenting war approaches the status of conscionable behavior!

No longer will words suffice to define the character of our military. The Pentagon’s action and the ruthless imposition of religion by some of its personnel requires demonstrable correction. Commander-in-Chief Obama must direct the Secretary of Defense to institute policies that ensure our nation continues its historic constitutional mission that includes protecting freedom and not promoting religion.

Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.