Washington, D.C. – Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy slammed a report calling for an end to the long-time ban on clergy preaching politics from the pulpit. The report was issued by the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations. Gaddy issued the following statement in response to the report:
“The fact that this particular grouping of people has come together to call for eliminating the ban on politics from the pulpit is of little surprise. No one should misunderstand this report as representative of all people of faith or as authentic to our nation’s historic understanding of the boundaries between religion and government. Indeed, the report does not even represent the whole of the commission’s advisors, particularly those — whom I am proud to call colleagues — who wrote their own position paper opposing the conclusions of the commission report.”
“The rights of clergy to preach about the most pressing issues of the day and to provide moral guidance to their congregations are not in danger and rightly must be protected. But those rights are very different from standing at the pulpit — shrouded in your faith — to announce that your congregation should vote for one candidate or party over another. There is an implicit message in doing so — sometimes explicit — that clergy are speaking in the name of God and an explicit message that breeds divisiveness in a congregation that should be together united in faith.”
“Frankly, there is already too much religion in politics. When candidates invoke religion, or ask clergy to do it for them, it is usually about advancing the candidate and rarely about benefiting religion. Changing the laws of the land to allow a further intertwining of religion and politics will only serve to endanger both. Having served as an active pastor for more than 50 years, I cannot think of a more effective way of harming houses of worship across our nation than to allow partisan politics to compromise the integrity of the inclusive message of houses of worship.”
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.