The Interfaith Alliance, about which Ive written before, says that it works "to promote interfaith cooperation around shared religious values to strengthen the public’s commitment to the American values of civic participation, freedom of religion, diversity, and civility in public discourse and to encourage the active involvement of people of faith in the nation’s political life."
Of course, when the wrong religious people get involved, the Interfaith Alliance becomes concerned, issuing sententious pronouncements like this one:
Neither religion nor democracy is well-served when religious leaders try to define an individual’s faith and religious commitment by how it fits their political posturing. Playing the religion card divides people rather than unites people. No one’s religious conviction should be attacked as anti-faith just because that person doesn’t agree with destroying a tried-and-true democratic process. This kind of litmus test signals a redefinition of religion that is blasphemy and a redefinition of democracy that is scary.
But the other face of the Interfaith Alliance is shown
Religious groups critical of Sen. Ken Salazars support of the Senate filibuster for judges were denounced Tuesday by clergy and political leaders as crackpots, American Taliban and the Gestapo.
The intent of such groups, said the Rev. Bill Kirton of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, is to impose their religious values on others.
"This, my friends, is the Gestapo," said Kirton, a United Methodist minister. Later, Kirton defended his description saying, "I said Gestapo, and I meant it."
Kirton was among speakers who rallied behind Salazar at a news conference at the state Capitol. In a supportive letter to Salazar, the group condemned "the pursuit and abuse of earthly power," which was driving religious groups to support an up-or-down vote of President Bushs court nominees.
"These are the actions of an American Taliban, of reactionary, religious zealots," said the Rev. Peter Morales, head of the public policy commission of the Interfaith Alliance.
Whatever happened to the commitment to civility in public discourse? Will C. Welton Gaddy repudiate the extreme statements of his supporters and subordinates? Or will he by his silence endorse those whose stock in trade seems to be the demonization of those with whom they disagree?