Washington, DC – The Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, a practicing Baptist minister and President of the Interfaith Alliance, issued the following statement:

“Clergy can and should speak out about issues of the day, but when they insert themselves into the political process, they must be prepared to have their statements from the pulpit scrutinized and their actions seriously questioned.  When candidates for public office seek to profit from the endorsement of clergy who become politically involved, they, too, must be held accountable for the clergy person’s words and actions.

Pastor Hagee’s decision to resign from the McCain campaign does not excuse his extremist, hate-mongering comments that should be of great concern to all Americans.

While I’m happy Sen. McCain is disassociating himself from Pastor Hagee this action should have come much sooner and not simply because of public outcry.

Any time that religious leaders and politicians attempt to use each other, both of them get hurt.”

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.