Washington, February 17 – The Interfaith Alliance is outraged the North Carolina state Republican Party office is asking religious leaders for their church directories. The request was sent by email Thursday and several area pastors have already said they will not divulge their lists, citing inappropriate entanglement of partisan politics and religion.
In response to this alarming news, Rev. Welton Gaddy, President of The Interfaith Alliance and Pastor for Preaching and Worship at Northminster (Baptist) Church in
“As the pastor of a local congregation, if I found out that my church membership directory was shared with a campaign or political party, I would begin immediate legal action against the campaign or political party. It’s a serious mistake to consider worshipers in religious institutions as just another bloc of voters like farmers, labor unions, and corporate executives.
“Collecting church directories intrudes on the integrity of houses of worship and compromises them by classifying them as political organizing tools. I am fearful that initiatives like this by any of the political parties will lure religious organizations and religious leaders into dangerous, unconstitutional territory. Even worse, proponents of such list-gathering are leading religious leaders into the temptation of forfeiting the prophetic voice of religion.
“Furthermore, the national GOP says the collection of church directories is for voter registration efforts. No one bought that defense during the 2004 elections and we won’t buy it in 2006 either. The role of religion and values in the 2004 election was that of a political strategy employed to achieve a political goal – winning an election – which there is no reason to believe that has changed.”
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 www.interfaithalliance.org.