FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2021

CONTACT
Manisha Sunil, West End Strategy Team
[email protected]; Phone: 202-417-0171

Rabbi Jack Moline: National Prayer Breakfast Betrays the Constitutional Promise of Church-State Separation

WASHINGTON — Following the annual National Prayer Breakfast this morning, Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, released the below statement highlighting the event’s problematic history, and calling on the administration to champion the diversity of faith and philosophies in this country without violating church-state separation:

From his first day in office, President Joe Biden has expressed his commitment to protecting true religious freedom — the constitutional right to believe as we choose, for people of all faiths and of none. His participation in the National Prayer Breakfast, however, gives me pause. Despite its status as a Washington, D.C. mainstay, the breakfast is a private sectarian gathering with an extended history of conflating personal religious conviction and public policy. Though attendees include players from across political and religious ideologies, its longtime organizers have sought to use the event as a vehicle for their conservative Christian beliefs.

The president asserts that it is prayer that has sustained our nation in difficult times. Though individuals, and even entire faith communities, have benefitted from the power of prayer through times of crisis, we are by no means a country built on prayer. Our foundation lies in our collective commitment to freedom of belief, and the security that our public officials will not impose their personal beliefs on the public. When elected officials use the backdrop of the Capitol to assert the power of their faith — while affirming that they gather in the name of Jesus — they are not living up to the constitutional promise of a secular government.

Interfaith Alliance applauds the efforts of our public officials to find common ground, but we remain extremely cautious of events that push collaboration under the auspices of particular religious tradition. We encourage the Biden administration to find a new venue to celebrate the diversity of faith and philosophies in this country, without blurring the constitutional line between church and state.

If you are interested in speaking further with Rabbi Moline, please contact Manisha Sunil at (202) 417-0171 or [email protected].

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Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.