Statement of Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy On the Senate Passage of the Kennedy/Smith Hate Crimes Amendment

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Washington, DC – The Interfaith Alliance praised the Senate for passing on the Kennedy/Smith hate crimes amendment (S. 1105). As Senator Kennedy mentioned on the Senate floor, The Interfaith Alliance has played a leading role in calling for the passage of this important legislation.  Reverend C. Welton Gaddy, president of The Interfaith Alliance, issued the following statement:

Hate is neither a religious nor an American value, and that is why The Interfaith Alliance praises the Senate for passing this hate crimes bill. The sacred scriptures of many different faith traditions speak with dramatic unanimity in vehemently condemning hate. If we aspire to be true to the prophetic core of our religions and our American values, we cannot condemn hate and then sit idly by while it destroys the lives of a group of our fellow citizens.

Although they made a lot of noise, only a handful of religious right extremists have opposed this bill. Putting politics before public safety, they have told numerous lies about the implications of bill in order to defeat it.  As Senator Kennedy mentioned today on the Senate floor, The Interfaith Alliance represents 185,000 people from over 75 different faith traditions.  People of faith support this bill in wide margins, as do the American people overall.

To be sure, legislation alone cannot remove hatred from our midst, but passage of comprehensive hate crimes legislation will send a clear message about America’s common values – that we utterly reject hate violence and embrace an America in which diverse people are safe as well as free.