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 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.