Washington, DC –  The Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of Interfaith Alliance, issued the following statement today in response to the Saddleback Civil Forum conducted by Pastor Rick Warren:

“Tonight’s Saddleback Civil Forum provided a great opportunity to ask some important questions about the role of faith in politics.  Pastor Warren deserves a great deal of credit for discussing some difficult social and political issues in a respectful and civil manner.  However, as was the case with prior faith forums conducted during this campaign, some of the questions Pastor Warren posed crossed the line and promoted the fiction that the American people are electing a pastor-in-chief, rather than a commander-in-chief.

“Questions like ‘What does it mean to trust in Christ?’ create a religious test for public office and should have no place in the political discourse for a secular office.  America is the most religiously diverse country in the world, and Christianity is only one of those faith traditions.  Millions of voters who tuned in tonight will feel disenfranchised by some of the questions posed in this forum. 

“And both the candidates deserve criticism for engaging in a competition to be ‘holier than thou.’  The American people want real solutions for real issues.  Discussing the personal theology of the candidates does little to elucidate those solutions.”

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.