Washington, DC –  The Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of Interfaith Alliance, issued the following statement today in response to the Saddleback Civil Forum conducted by Pastor Rick Warren:

“Tonight’s Saddleback Civil Forum provided a great opportunity to ask some important questions about the role of faith in politics.  Pastor Warren deserves a great deal of credit for discussing some difficult social and political issues in a respectful and civil manner.  However, as was the case with prior faith forums conducted during this campaign, some of the questions Pastor Warren posed crossed the line and promoted the fiction that the American people are electing a pastor-in-chief, rather than a commander-in-chief.

“Questions like ‘What does it mean to trust in Christ?’ create a religious test for public office and should have no place in the political discourse for a secular office.  America is the most religiously diverse country in the world, and Christianity is only one of those faith traditions.  Millions of voters who tuned in tonight will feel disenfranchised by some of the questions posed in this forum. 

“And both the candidates deserve criticism for engaging in a competition to be ‘holier than thou.’  The American people want real solutions for real issues.  Discussing the personal theology of the candidates does little to elucidate those solutions.”

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.