C. Welton Gaddy

Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of The Interfaith Alliance, whose 150,000 members represent 75 religious traditions, was Tuesday's guest. Here are excerpts from his remarks:

On what dangers to religion he sees from having ties to government:

"If religion becomes just another political action committee, if religion becomes just a contract employee of the federal government - distributing social services - then religion loses ... that inherent sacredness that is its power."

On Bush administration programs that channel federal funds to churches:

"That arrangement will shut down one whole dimension of the religious leaders' ministry - the dimension of challenging the government with a real prophetic ministry.... When in the history of religion have you ever known a prophet to speak truth to power when power was paying the prophets' salary?"

On the struggle over prayer in school and the Ten Commandments:

"It's not really about prayer. It's not really about the Ten Commandments. It's really about saying, 'We are going to show you that we can push this particular religion down your throat.'"

On his sense of the current religious climate in the US:

"We are still a nation that is filled with fear.... The religion to which people are turning in fleeing from fear is a religion of homogeneity. It is a religion in which they want to feel the comfort of everybody being pretty much alike. And so difference has become a moral category: If you are not like me, there must be something wrong with you."

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