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 is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.