Washington, DC – Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy criticized the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) for once again asking members of the clergy to violate the Constitution and IRS regulations by endorsing political candidates from the pulpit. In response, Interfaith Alliance is asking clergy to pledge not to make such endorsements from the pulpit or on behalf of their house of worship and to join the more than 200 faith leaders who made that same commitment during the 2008 election cycle. Interfaith Alliance is asking clergy across the country to sign a six point pledge to uphold certain standards during the election. This effort stands in stark contrast to the ADF’s plans to have clergy around the country violate federal law by making endorsements from the pulpit on September 26. A copy of the pledge along with a selection of signers can be found at https://interfaithalliance.org/clergypledge.
Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of Interfaith Alliance and Pastor for Preaching and Worship at Northminster (Baptist) Church in Monroe, Louisiana, said, “It is odd that the Alliance Defense Fund calls this ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’ because participating clergy clearly don’t respect their congregants enough to let them make their own choices. They are using the authority of their office – a religious office – to make a political endorsement. I cannot stress strongly enough my objections to turning houses of worship into pseudo-precinct nominating conventions. I am as concerned about what such a practice in houses of worship would do to the integrity and credibility of religion, as about what it would do to weaken the Constitution.”
The Interfaith Alliance’s clergy pledge began during the 2008 campaign cycle when it was signed by more than 200 members of the clergy including 25 major religious leaders spanning both the religious and ideological spectrum. Among the first signers of the pledge was the Rev. Dr. Joel Hunter, Senior Pastor of Northland Church and a leader in the evangelical movement. Other signers include the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church; Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, National Director of the Islamic Society of North America, and Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein, Senior Rabbi of Central Synagogue in New York.
Interfaith Alliance is calling on its members across the country to make the pledge not to endorse from the pulpit (if they are clergy). If they are not clergy, Interfaith Alliance is asking that they obtain a signature from their religious leader.
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.