Interfaith Alliance president Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement on the passing of Nelson Mandela.

“Nelson Mandela was a citizen of the world and a hero to all who cherish freedom.  For people who care about social change, racial justice and equal rights, and for all those who hope for a better future, Mandela embodied the quiet courage, the confident patience, and the passionate persistence needed for such work. This remarkable leader humbly projected a seldom seen propensity for being able to alter ugly reality through the simple, though never easy, practice of forgiveness.”

“As someone who committed my life to the struggle for justice her in America, I watched while Nelson Mandela was fighting for his people’s rights and freedom in South Africa, and I took great inspiration from him.”

“Nelson Mandela has been unique among humankind. Indisputably, he was the kind of individual who comes along maybe once in a century.  With profound compassion and a soft voice of comfort, Mandela informed us, challenged us, inspired us, and demonstrated for us how best to change the world.  It is an honor and a source of gratitude simply to have been able to live as a contemporary of this moral giant and learn the ways of wisdom.”

“He continues to inspire me as he does countless others around the world. His legacy will not only be remembered for generations to come, it will be a call to action for all that share his commitment to justice and freedom.”

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