Washington, D.C. – Praising the Vice Presidential debate's moderator Martha Raddatz for raising the issue of religious freedom, Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, noted the very different positions reached by two candidates who expressed a deep connection to their faith. Rev. Gaddy wrote Raddatz and the other debate moderators earlier this month asking them to raise the issue of religious freedom.

Religious Freedom is a foundation of our democracy, and I am grateful it was raised during tonight's Vice Presidential debate. Having said that, I continue to be frustrated that the discussion around religious freedom is all to often viewed only through the lens of abortion. It is an important issue worthy of discussion, but so much more is at stake when we talk about religious freedom.

Each candidate answered the question in a thoughtful way that acknowledged that personal faith is not enough to base public policy on, and yet still found themselves on opposite sides of the abortion issue. That outcome is an important reminder that deeply held personal faith can and does take extraordinarily different forms in this country and each is worthy of protection and none should be given preference over any other.

We need a clear definition of religious freedom from the candidates that acknowledges that no one should worry about the imposition of personal religious beliefs of the candidate being imposed on the American people.

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.