Imagine for a moment a tall, well dressed, gray haired man who is also a minister with a thick southern accent. You might already have some preconceived ideas of what this man is about. You might also be in for a big surprise.
“Support for same-gender marriage comes down not to a question of what it means to be a good Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, or Muslim, but what does it mean to be a good American.”
That is most certainly not the average southern Baptist minister, that is Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of the national Interfaith Alliance, a man that perhaps, on the outside, may seem to fit a number of stereotypes but as soon as he opens his mouth you will find a savvy and progressive political mind. And, with just a small peek behind the well tailored suit and crisp starched white shirt, is a heart big enough for the world.
With his strong Louisiana southern drawl, Gaddy makes politics sound like poetry and the fight for religious freedom and civil rights the mandate our time and essential for saving our democracy.
“Early on the evening of this past October 28th at the White House, I shook President Obama’s hand,” says Gaddy, “We shared a smile as I thanked him for signing a meaningful piece of expansive hate crimes legislation. But it took so long, too long because prejudice biased untruths and mean spirited partisanship. As the President walked away, I held Judy Shepard, Mathew Shepard’s mother, in a long tearful embrace in which words were not necessary to lament how long it had taken to secure a comprehensive hate crimes bill how much hurt had lined the pilgrimage but how in perseverance across more than a decade we finally could celebrate reaching a goal that we had been striving for, for over a decade.”
As a deeply religious man, Gaddy is on a relentless campaign for not only ensuring religious freedom; he is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity and founding intentions of our Constitution. A staunch advocate for the separation of Church and State, Gaddy believes we can have it all, and that includes same-gender marriage!
Gaddy is a man who, above all, wants to maintain the integrity of religion and government. He is emphatic that in order to do that, we must keep them separated. This is a man who embodies the very balance we long for in this highly charged politically partisan and religiously divided time in our country. Gaddy just might be one of the most progressive influential role models of our time. He is certainly one of the greatest allies of LGBT civil rights.
On November 17th Boise was graced with the sharp mind and quick wit of Rev. Dr. C. Gaddy as the keynote speaker for the Interfaith Alliance of Idahoâ€™s annual meeting and dinner. Gaddy spoke to a very diverse gathering of about 80 at the Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel, on the status of the National Interfaith Alliance and our nation.
“I’m an 88 year old Jew and I have never heard any Christian minister ever talk like you,” says Joe, a man in the audience. “Amen,” says another.
This is just a small hint of the impact Gaddy can have on a room. Listening to Gaddy’s address, “The Crisis No One Talks About,” I hope you can feel at least some of the inspiration and hope that filled the room that night.
Gaddy is introduced by Interfaith Alliance Chair, Ed Keener. Rabbi Daniel Fink offers a blessing following Gaddy’s address after which there is a question and answer period with the audience.
If you would like to hear more from Welton Gaddy about Religion and Politics and how that has affected LGBT issues then listen to my full hour interview with Dr. Gaddy.