[Interfaith Alliance] Today, Washington National Cathedral’s quarterly magazine, Cathedral Age, published interviews with President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, in which they each answer questions on their own faiths and their opinions of the role of faith in public life. Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement in response:
Through a series of questions posed to each candidate for president of the United States by the Washington National Cathedral, we gain new insights into what each of the candidates believes should be the role of faith in public life. While the answers each gives are worthwhile for people to read, it’s essential that voters place these responses in context; after all, we’re electing a commander in chief, not a pastor in chief.
We must also remember that we are a nation defined in large part by our pluralism, by the notion that people of all religious faiths and none are of equal merit. Though the candidates speak primarily of their personal beliefs, for the future, I caution them strongly against implying that we are a Christian, or even a religious-only nation, as they each did in certain responses. After all, the measure of success of either man as president will involve a close look at how he serves people who do not share his religion or, in some instances, even his religious values.
So, while it’s interesting and informative to know more about the backgrounds of the individuals running for office – and how their upbringings and religious identities motivate their work and drive their decisions – it’s equally important that we consider a wide range of issues as we make decisions about for whom we will vote in this election. To that point, both candidates express respect for the boundaries between religion and government, and while we may quibble with where they each draw those lines, we appreciate their understanding of the necessity that such lines exist.