For Immediate Release
Ari Geller - Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications 202-265-3000
Interfaith Alliance Counters Effort to Have Clergy Make Political Endorsements From the Pulpit
WASHINGTON - Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy criticized the
Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) for once again asking members of the clergy
to violate the Constitution and IRS regulations by endorsing political
candidates from the pulpit. In response, Interfaith Alliance is asking
clergy to pledge not to make such endorsements from the pulpit or on
behalf of their house of worship and to join the more than 200 faith
leaders who made that same commitment during the 2008 election cycle.
Interfaith Alliance is asking clergy across the country to sign a six
point pledge to uphold certain standards during the election. This
effort stands in stark contrast to the ADF’s plans to have clergy around
the country violate federal law by making endorsements from the pulpit
on September 26. A copy of the pledge along with a selection of signers
can be found at http://www.interfaithalliance.org/clergypledge.
Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of Interfaith Alliance and Pastor
for Preaching and Worship at Northminster (Baptist) Church in Monroe,
Louisiana, said, “It is odd that the Alliance Defense Fund calls this
‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’ because participating clergy clearly don’t
respect their congregants enough to let them make their own choices.
They are using the authority of their office – a religious office – to
make a political endorsement. I cannot stress strongly enough my
objections to turning houses of worship into pseudo-precinct nominating
conventions. I am as concerned about what such a practice in houses of
worship would do to the integrity and credibility of religion, as about
what it would do to weaken the Constitution.”
The Interfaith Alliance’s clergy pledge began during the 2008 campaign
cycle when it was signed by more than 200 members of the clergy
including 25 major religious leaders spanning both the religious and
ideological spectrum. Among the first signers of the pledge was the Rev.
Dr. Joel Hunter, Senior Pastor of Northland Church and a leader in the
evangelical movement. Other signers include the Most Rev. Katharine
Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church; Dr. Sayyid M.
Syeed, National Director of the Islamic Society of North America, and
Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein, Senior Rabbi of Central Synagogue in New
Interfaith Alliance is calling on its members across the country to
make the pledge not to endorse from the pulpit (if they are clergy). If
they are not clergy, Interfaith Alliance is asking that they obtain a
signature from their religious leader.