Jun 12 2015
Earlier this week Pastor Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, TX, appeared on Fox News and compared the situation of Christians in America today to the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany. Rabbi Jack Moline responded to Pastor Jeffress' assertions in an open letter to the religious leader.
Dr. Robert Jeffress
First Baptist Church Dallas
1707 San Jacinto
Dallas, TX 75201
June 12, 2015
Religious persecution is a significant problem around the world. Many people live in fear for their lives because of their faith, Christians included. You and I and everyone should do more to remedy the situation.
However, your recent comments on Fox News comparing your experience as a conservative Christian to Jews living in Nazi Germany show disrespect to the victims of the Holocaust, and do a disservice to the critically important cause of ending real religious persecution. The honest disagreements that people of faith in this country have about public policy issues are hardly the beginning of a path towards genocide.
Let’s understand the full import of what you are saying. If Christians (as you define them) are the Jews of pre-Holocaust Europe, then the rest of us are the Nazis and their sympathizers. It serves your rhetorical purpose to demonize those with whom you disagree, but it shows that you lack a true understanding of what the term “Nazi” means or the history that led to their crimes. And in the practice of hyperbole, you reduce the progress and expansiveness of American values of inclusiveness and equal rights to a plot to steal the rightful dominance of people who are most like you.
You have a reputation for complaining that other faith traditions are evil, false and cultic. That is your right and, as strongly as I disagree with you, I will defend your right to be wrong. Ironically, the provisions of the Constitution, which extend that right to you, have been dismissed by you in the name of religious exclusivity. You owe the American people an apology. We are a nation that celebrates diverse beliefs and views and we are undeserving of the allegation you have made.
Someone once told me, “The first person to use ‘Nazi’ always loses the argument.” You have proven her point.
Rabbi Jack Moline
Interfaith Alliance Condemns Passage of North Carolina Bill Allowing Discrimination By State Employees
Jun 11 2015
WASHINGTON – Today the North Carolina State Legislature overrode Governor Pat McRory’s wise veto of SB 2. This law will allow state officials to refuse to perform legal same-sex marriages if it contradicts the official’s personal religious beliefs. In response to the passage of this bill, Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance, said this:
“North Carolina’s state motto is Esse Quam Videri, ‘To Be Rather Than To Seem.’ Unfortunately in the case of SB 2, the state legislature got it backward – they want to seem like they are for religious freedom, but they’re not really. Religious freedom means that officers of the government serve all equally, regardless of their personal religious ideology. Religious freedom ensures that secular law, not religious doctrine, dictates government services. It is disturbing and disheartening to see so many members of a state legislative body misunderstand our most important freedom.”
Jun 01 2015
WASHINGTON – Today the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Muslim woman, Samantha Elauf, seeking an exemption to a store’s uniform policy in the case EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. The majority in the court held that the store was still liable for its disparate treatment of a member of religious community even if it did not have explicit knowledge of an individual’s need for a religious exemption. Interfaith Alliance joined a broad spectrum of religious organizations in an amicus brief in support of Ms. Elauf. Following today’s decision, Rabbi Jack Moline, Interfaith Alliance’s executive director, released this statement:
“The Supreme Court took a measured and principled stand for religious freedom today. Our national commitment to religious freedom and religious pluralism depends on granting reasonable accommodations for people’s religious practices in workplaces, schools, and public institutions. And, in an increasingly diverse America, it cannot always be the burden of religious minorities to explain their faith to others. This decision ensures an easier path to equality in workplaces across America for people of all faiths.
“I have no doubt that there will be some who seek to use this decision as a springboard for further attempts to use faulty claims of religious freedom to broadly justify discrimination and the denial of services and benefits on the basis of religious identity. Let me be clear: the type of narrow, reasonable exemption reaffirmed in EEOC v. Abercrombie – an exemption which protects the rights of an employee, while having no bearing on the rights of others – is exactly what both the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act imagined. It stands in direct opposition to the broad-based religious discrimination legitimated last year in Hobby Lobby, and forced through state legislatures across the country.”
Interfaith Alliance Applauds Veto of North Carolina Bill Undermining Religious Freedom, Marriage Equality
May 28 2015
WASHINGTON – Today, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory vetoed a bill that would allow public employees to refuse to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite the fact that marriage equality is legal in the state. In response to this, Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance, released the following statement:
“I applaud Governor McCrory’s decision to veto the discriminatory Senate Bill 2. In doing so, he made a laudable stand for religious freedom and equality. When an individual chooses to work for the state government, they commit to serve everyone regardless of personal religious beliefs. To allow public employees to do otherwise, as SB 2’s proponents had aspired, would give religious ideology the government sanction that the First Amendment explicitly seeks to prohibit.”
“With this veto, which builds on his earlier opposition to misguided religious freedom legislation, Governor McCrory further establishes himself as a champion of the First Amendment. As similar legislation works its way through statehouses across the country, I hope other governors follow Governor McCrory’s courageous lead.”