Jun 21 2016
WASHINGTON — During a meeting with Religious Right leaders today in New York, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump vowed to change the U.S. tax code to allow churches to endorse politicians. Churches — along with all other tax-exempt groups — have been prevented since 1954 from backing candidates for public office. In response to Trump’s remarks, Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, released the following statement:
"I am astonished by reports emerging from Donald Trump’s meeting with conservative Christian leaders earlier today. It would seem that Mr. Trump is pandering to the Religious Right by playing into their narrative that Christian leaders somehow are being silenced. That claim is false — more designed to spread fear and raise money than represent the truth.
"Religious leaders have no less of a right to speak out on political issues than any other American. What they cannot do is use their tax-exempt pulpit to do it. That’s no different than any other 501(c)(3) organization that is required by the IRS to stay out of politics in exchange for not paying taxes.
"The reality is that religious freedom as we know it is indeed in danger, only not in the way that Tony Perkins and other leaders of the Religious Right would have you think. Religious freedom is in danger because of a deliberate effort to redefine it as only protecting a narrow sectarian view of religion seen as authentic by the Religious Right, a view that favors orthodox views of religion over more mainstream and progressive interpretations. The Religious Right is not seeking to preserve the First Amendment. They are trying to weaponize it.
"As Donald Trump continues his campaign for the presidency, he should remember that the person who obtains the highest office in the land will represent all Americans. The President of the United States needs to protect the rights of everyone regardless of their faith or belief and must not show favor to the views of those he sees as more politically aligned with him.”
May 18 2016
WASHINGTON – Today, Interfaith Alliance joined religious and civil rights organizations in welcoming the introduction of the Do No Harm Act in the House of Representatives by Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D – MA) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D – VA). The bill is a response to so-called religious freedom bills that have advanced in a number of states and would allow discrimination on the basis of religion. Following the introduction of this legislation, Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, released this statement:
“The religious freedom promised by the Constitution, the religious freedom envisioned by our Founders, is one where every person’s faith is protected and no one’s faith is used to subjugate or harm others. For years the Religious Right has tried to force legislation through Congress and state legislatures designed to turn religious freedom into a weapon used against religious minorities, people of color, women, children and the LGBT community. The Do No Harm act is a critical first step toward counteracting that misguided campaign.
“I am grateful to Rep. Kennedy and Rep. Scott for their continued leadership on this issue and look forward to working with them and members of Congress of both parties as we continue to find the proper balance in safeguarding the religious freedom of all.”
May 16 2016
During an interview earlier today, former presidential candidate Ben Carson referred to Walter Cronkite as a ‘left wing radical.’ Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, responded with the following statement:
“We were honored to have Mr. Cronkite serve as the honorary chair of Interfaith Alliance up until his death in 2009. He was a man of deep convictions and he passionately supported our goals because he believed that ‘nothing less was at stake’ in our work ‘than the future of democracy as we know it.’ He understood the need to protect the boundaries between religion and government, and to protect the religious freedom of all Americans regardless of faith or belief. Walter Cronkite was rightfully considered the most trusted man in America, that he and a concept so central to the American experience would be considered ‘radical’ says more about Dr. Carson and today’s politics than it does about Mr. Cronkite.”
May 16 2016
WASHINGTON – Today the Supreme Court unanimously decided to send Zubik v. Burwell – a case regarding religious nonprofits and the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act – back to the lower courts. Without ruling on the merits of the case, the Supreme Court instructed the federal government and the religious nonprofits in question to find a compromise. Interfaith Alliance joined a number of religious organizations in an amicus brief in support of the Obama Administration arguing that the religious freedom rights of these nonprofits were not jeopardized by the existing workaround to contraception mandate. In response to this decision, Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, released this statement:
“We are deeply disappointed that the Supreme Court abdicated its duty and left open the potential for further encroachment on the fundamental rights of employees of religious nonprofits. The issues in this case are clear: It cannot possibly be a violation of the religious freedom of an employer to enable his or her employees to make their own decisions about faith and health care. Despite this delay, we hope that the lower courts will not cave to the demands of those with a narrow, sectarian vision of the First Amendment, and instead will protect the autonomy and religious freedom of all Americans.”
“Today’s non-decision is emblematic of the dysfunction created by the Senate’s refusal to act swiftly to fill the vacancy left by Justice Scalia’s passing. All those passionate about religious freedom must recognize that our rights deserve the protection of a full bench.”