Use and Misuse of Religious Leaders by Political Candidates

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Statement of Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy
Washington, D.C. — The Interfaith Alliance sent a letter to all Democratic and Republican presidential candidates today expressing concern about the rush to secure endorsements for religious leaders. Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of The Interfaith Alliance issued a statement following today’s endorsement of Senator Barack Obama by Bishop Gene Robinson:

Today’s endorsement of Senator Barack Obama’s campaign for president by Bishop Gene Robinson is just the latest example of candidates misusing religious leaders for political gain. Over the last year we have seen many, if not all, of the presidential candidates set up websites promoting endorsements by religious leaders. While endorsements like today’s raise the possibility of legal action against religious leaders, our concerns are rooted more in the impact on the sanctity of religion and the integrity of government.

I encourage candidates to talk about the proper role of religion in public life, and I strongly defend the right of religious leaders to speak out about the important issues we are facing in the world today. However, when candidates turn religious leaders into political tools, they have crossed a line.

This is a dangerous road religious leaders are being led down. I caution them to be careful how far they go.