“It’s never OK to use religion for political gain,” Interfaith Alliance head Welton Gaddy says in a letter to former Massachusetts governor and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

By Bob Allen

An interfaith leader and Baptist minister sent a letter Aug. 16 to presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticizing him for a campaign ad accusing President Obama of declaring “war on religion” by “forcing religious institutions to go against their faith.”

gaddy new photoWelton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance and senior pastor for preaching and worship at Northminster (Baptist) Church in Monroe, La., criticized the Romney campaign’s “use of religion as a divisive electoral tool in an attempt to win votes” in a 30-second video ad titled “Be Not Afraid” released Aug. 9.

mitt romneyGaddy said the ad “invokes a war that simply does not exist outside the minds of the Religious Right.”

The ad also quotes words of the late Pope John Paul II and employs rhetoric used by Catholic leaders in denouncing President Obama’s healthcare plan in a way that Gaddy said “appears to be nothing more than a divisive ploy to win ‘the Catholic vote.’”

“Religion should never be used as a political tool to secure votes,” Gaddy said. “It’s never OK to use religion for political gain, and as a presidential candidate, you should be striving to set the model.”