Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

Walter Cronkite’s Religion: “It’s None of Your Business”

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.”

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posted July 27, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Good for Walter, answering the reporter as he did!! And I admire him even more than I already did for being part of the interfaith Alliance, and his efforts to combat the RR. He was a wise and good man, and contributed to honesty in news reporting.

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posted July 27, 2009 at 10:56 pm

I didn’t know that Walter Cronkite was a member of the Interfaith Alliance either PS. I wish he was still here so we could ask him what he thinks of “The Family”.

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posted July 27, 2009 at 11:05 pm

As a person of faith my faith affects my actions, my beliefs and every other area of my life. An individual’s faith or lack of it will always affect their actions and political beliefs.
Walter Cronkite had every right to keep his religious views private. However, this does not mean that his faith did not shape his political views. I would prefer to know what shapes the views of public figures. Being kept in the dark does not bring light to the political world. This is true across the spectrum of political views.

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Norwegian Shooter

posted July 29, 2009 at 6:54 pm

I believe Rabbi Hirschfield completely misunderstood your first Cronkite post. He thinks you were attacking the authenticity of the Rabbinate. I think you were supporting church/state separation, as your second Cronkite post elaborated (along with your book!). Hope I got it right.

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posted July 30, 2009 at 10:12 pm

It works both ways. When I’m doing outreach ministries with my musical group, people often try to ellicit my views on the political potboiler of the day. I always tell them, “I care a lot about that, but it’s not what we’re here about today.”

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