Statement of Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy

On Pleasant Grove City v. Summum

Washington, DC – Interfaith Alliance President, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement today in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Pleasant Grove City v. Summum. The court ruled unanimously that the Summum religious group cannot force the city of Pleasant Grove, UT to place a granite marker in a local park that is already home to a Ten Commandments display.

Today’s Supreme Court ruling is of great concern to me. On the surface, it allows communities to favor one religious tradition over another. My preference would be for there not to be religious monuments on public lands at all, but if you are going to allow any, the government must grant equal access to all faith traditions.

The opinion in this case gives me even greater concern about the Supreme Court’s decision this week to review Salazar v. Buono, and the likelihood that they may overturn the 9th Circuit’s decision in that case. Our public parks are a sanctuary for people of all faiths and belief systems – they should not be used to endorse any one religion.

This decision, taken together with other rulings over the last few years shows a growing trend by the court to erode the boundaries between religion and government. If this trend continues we must turn to our congress and the president to enact legislation and set policy that protects our basic religious freedoms.

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