1998 NCC News Archives

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NCC General Secretary to Convene Two Upstate N.Y. Discussions
On the Political Role of the Religious Right
Aug. 19 in Corning, N.Y., and Aug. 20 in Jamestown, N.Y.

NEW YORK, Aug. 12, 1998 -- The Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, General Secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC), will convene discussions in two upstate New York locations entitled "Challenging the Political Role of the Religious Right."

"After learning about the aggressive role the religious right is playing in the coming primary and election in the 31st Congressional District, I felt it was an opportune time to convene area clergy and church members to consider these tactics and call for integrity in the campaign and electoral process," Dr. Campbell said. Dr. Campbell will be a guest at the Chautauqua Institution at that time for an NCC senior staff retreat.

The first discussion will be held Wednesday, August 19, at 4 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Corning, N.Y. (144 Cedar Street at First); the second will be held Thursday, August 20, at 10 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Jamestown, NY (509 Prendergast Avenue).

Each session will include a presentation, time for discussion and proposals for active public influence on the side of electoral integrity. "One of the tactics used by the religious right is requesting churches to distribute campaign materials, which we feel clearly exploits religion," Dr. Campbell said. "Such tactics imply that all Christians have a single point of view. We believe in a pluralistic agenda with a variety of points of view. Religion and religious people do not line up on any one political side. This needs to be affirmed in the midst of every political campaign."

The pastors of the two local churches, Rev. Charles Hess (First United Methodist in Corning) and Rev. Tom Sweet (First Presbyterian Church, Jamestown), will serve as hosts. The Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, a pastor and leader in the progressive wing of the Southern Baptist Convention and executive director of The Interfaith Alliance, will give a presentation at the discussions.

The Interfaith Alliance is a national faith-based organization with chapters in 36 states and over 80,000 members from more than 50 different faith communities. Its mission is to draw on shared religious principles to promote the positive role of religion in public life, while challenging those who manipulate religion to push a partisan and destructive political agenda. Dr. Campbell serves as a member of The Interfaith Alliance's Board of Directors.

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