WASHINGTON – Interfaith Alliance president Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement today in response to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Town of Greece, New York v. Galloway:
“Today’s decision is bad for both faith and public life. Legislative prayer has long presented difficult questions for anyone who cares about maintaining the boundaries between religion and government. As problematic as the practice is, it was at least tolerable when preference was given to inclusive prayer that reflected our nation’s diversity of faith and belief. This decision eliminates that preference and allows clergy to come in to the halls of government to promote a sectarian viewpoint.”
“If there is any positive side in this disturbing decision it is that the court makes clear that if ‘the invocations denigrate nonbelievers or religious minorities, threaten damnation, or preach conversion… That circumstance would present a different case than the one presently before the Court.’ The distinction is a difficult one to make and one I expect will cause the courts to revisit the issue soon.”
“Given the court’s inability to understand the damage it has caused to the First Amendment, I turn to my fellow members of the clergy and remind them that what is ethical is every bit as important as what is legal. I have long asked politicians not to use houses of worship as a tool in political campaigns, now it would seem that we need to ask clergy to show the same courtesy to the halls of government.”
Interfaith Alliance was a co-signer of an amicus brief in support of the respondents along with The American Civil Liberties Union, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and the Anti-Defamation League.
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 www.interfaithalliance.org.