The Dangers of Mixing Religion and Politics

March 21, 2004

Source: The Chicago Tribune,1,5897013.column?coll=chi-news-col

On March 21, 2004 The Chicago Tribune reported on the growing concern that religion will be misused by politicians in the upcoming presidential election. The Washington-based Interfaith Alliance sponsored a forum last week at the National Press Club on the role of religion in the 2004 political campaigns. Rev. Welton Gaddy, president of the alliance, asked: "'What if appeals to religion in the process of electing a president are done in such a way as to rob religion of its sacred substance and compromise its integrity as a prophetic presence in our nation? What if a strategy to win religious voters in one particular tradition fosters among people in other religious traditions the conclusion that, contrary to the Constitution, there is a religious test for public office and there is an established religion in this land? What if religiosity as a campaign strategy blunts the vitality of democracy? What if appeals to religious prejudices during the campaign more deeply divide our nation?' Those are good questions and they are not being raised by only one political party.'"