Statement of Rev. Gaddy On Sen Obama’s Remarks on Race

Washington, DC – Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of The Interfaith Alliance released the following statement today following Senator Barack Obama’s speech on race in America:

Senator Barack Obama’s remarks provided a model of civility not just for a sensitive handling of racial issues, but also for his handling of potentially divisive religious issues. He gave us an important reminder that we do not live in a static society. Senator Obama today reminded us that change is possible, that we can begin to bridge the racial and religious divides, but only if we all make the effort.

Reports about comments made by Rev. Jeremiah Wright over the last few years have stirred up strong feelings about the role of race and religion in this country. I agree with Senator Obama when he said that the comments ‘expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country.’ Senator Obama found the right balance of criticizing when he thought Rev. Wright got it wrong, but understanding the underlying perspective that those comments represent.

What I did not hear in Senator Obama’s remarks, but still needs significant emphasis is a clear statement that religious leaders should avoid partisan entanglements within houses of worship. Clergy must be free to speak about important issues of the day, and they should provide moral guidance to their congregations, but they lose credibility when they tie themselves to a specific candidate.

The Interfaith Alliance (TIA) is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the positive and healing role of religion in the life of the nation and challenging those who manipulate religion to promote a narrow, divisive agenda. With more than 185,000 members drawn from more than 75 faith traditions and 47 local activist groups throughout America, TIA promotes compassion, civility and mutual respect for human dignity in our increasingly diverse society. For more information visit