Walter Cronkite didn’t lend his name to many things. So it was notable when he became chairman of the Interfaith Alliance, a group in part created to combat the “religious right.”
As the Alliance’s founder C. Welton Gaddy explained:
“As a man of personal faith who loved his country and its Constitution, Walter Cronkite looked on with alarm as self-appointed religious authorities attempted to prescribe policy for the government. That was when he decided to endorse Interfaith Alliance — the first organization with which he identified himself — and speak on behalf of its national efforts to strengthen religious liberty and to challenge the manipulation of religion by politicians and attempts at the utilization of the institutions of government to advance religion….
An incredible breadth of interest and depth of conscience caused Walter Cronkite to want to challenge the movement called the religious right. One day after doing an interview together in his home, a reporter asked about his personal religion. “It’s none of your business,” Mr. Cronkite replied courteously but sternly, “That’s why I am a part of the Interfaith Alliance.” He no more wanted anyone judged by their religion than he wanted people to use their religion to advance their public status in the nation. Yet, privately, he sincerely spoke of the role of religion in his life.”