Nov 06 2015
WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear cases from several religious non-profits challenging the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, despite the accommodation afforded them by the Administration. Interfaith Alliance has a long history of defending the contraception mandate from faulty claims of religious freedom. Following this news, Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance called on the Supreme Court to uphold the contraception mandate.
“Today, what began as a quixotic campaign against a simple requirement to fill out a form has made its way to the highest court in the land – where I sincerely hope it will be finished at last. Religious freedom is the our most fundamental right, worthy of the highest respect and the strictest protection, but this case isn’t really about religious freedom. People of faith have the right to seek an exemption from a law that contravenes their personal religious beliefs – they don’t have the right to force others to follow them. They don’t have the right to put the freedom of others in jeopardy and they must not be a roadblock to their employees making these decisions for themselves.
“The Administration worked in consultation for years with religious, healthcare and women’s rights organizations to create an accommodation for religious organizations to the contraception mandate. This accommodation was not perfect, but it was sufficient to ensure the religious freedom of these organizations while protecting access to contraception for all women. The refusal to cooperate with this accommodation demonstrates not a commitment to religious freedom, but rather an insistence on restricting the personal freedom of employees, manipulating the Constitution and undermining access to healthcare.
“The last time the Supreme Court heard a challenge to the contraception mandate, in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, they dramatically rewrote the rules on religious freedom. The fallout of that disaster has been felt in courts and state legislatures across the country, and religious freedom has suffered. It is my deepest hope that Supreme Court corrects its mistake, resolves this question and maintains the integrity of both the Affordable Care Act and the First Amendment.”
Interfaith Alliance Thanks Wade Henderson, head of Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights for Dedication to Religious Freedom
Nov 06 2015
WASHINGTON – Following the announcement that Wade Henderson would be stepping down as the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the end of next year, Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance, released this statement:
“In his twenty years at the helm of the Leadership Conference, Wade has been an inspiration for all those who work for civil rights and religious freedom. As a inveterate defender of the Constitution, Wade’s legacy has powerfully demonstrated the importance of religious communities and religious freedom to the ongoing struggle for civil rights. He has built on the legacy religious engagement in the civil rights movement, bringing new and diverse religious voices into the work for equality. He has been a champion for the rights of Muslims, Jews, Sikhs and other religious minorities that are too often the targets of bigotry and discrimination. And he has recognized the importance of safeguarding the freedom of conscience and the freedom to worship to building a freer and more equal America.
“There is a paradox that those who most deserve retirement are those we can least afford to lose. Wade will be sorely missed, though he and LCCHR will surely continue to be pillars of the civil rights movement.”
Nov 04 2015
WASHINGTON – Following today’s vote on the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, legislation that would protect all Houstonians from discrimination on the basis of marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and several other characteristics, Rabbi Jack Moline released the following statement:
“Today’s vote against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance is a loss but it is not defeat. The Constitution was not on the ballot in Houston today, and people’s fundamental rights are never up for a vote. We at Interfaith Alliance maintain that discrimination on the basis sexual orientation and gender identity, and the use of religious ideology to limit a person’s rights, is a clear violation of the Constitution and its promise of religious freedom.
“The Religious Right has distorted the truth behind this law, and non-discrimination laws across the country, for too long. We need not choose between real religious freedom and equality for all Americans. Indeed, it is just the opposite: all of our rights are strengthened when we ban discrimination against a particular class of people, all our rights threatened when we wield the Constitution as a weapon for hatred and bigotry.
“Today’s loss in Houston proves once again the need for swift federal action to protect the rights of all Americans. One’s freedom to work and freedom to worship should never be dependent on where one lives.”
Interfaith Alliance Urges Democratic Candidates to Respect Religion, Outline Vision for Religious Freedom in First Debate
Oct 12 2015
WASHINGTON – Today, ahead of the first Democratic debate, Interfaith Alliance Executive Director Rabbi Jack Moline sent the following letter to each of the Democratic candidates for President. In this letter Rabbi Moline urges each candidate to not only respect religion and the spirit of religious freedom in their campaign, but to lay out a vision for how they will protect the religious freedom of all when in the White House. A similar letter was sent to each of the Republican candidates ahead of the most recent Republican debate.
October 12, 2015
Dear Secretary Clinton,
Questions of religion and religious freedom have gained a prominent place in our political campaigns and in conversations across the country. Too many Americans feel today that their religious identities are under attack, too many Americans see politicians using religion to further and further divide us. On behalf of Interfaith Alliance, whose membership is comprised of individuals from across the faith spectrum who are dedicated to religious freedom, I urge you to take caution when discussing religion.
While the Constitution mandates a separation between religion and government, it makes no such strictures on mixing faith and politics. However, Americans know what happens when our politics are overcome by religion and when our religion becomes mired in politics. We know that too often politicians use religion for their own gain, cheapening our sacred beliefs in the process. And we know that religious leaders too often manipulate politicians into taking blatantly unconstitutional political positions. How a candidate treats religion on the campaign trail not only has an impact on the lives of American voters, but also previews the policies they might pursue while in office.
Voters have a right to know what values? inform your thinking on important issues. They have a right to know how you approach controversy and complexity. To the extent that faith, belief and prayer play a role, you can and should express that. However, because you are running to represent Americans of all faiths and those of no particular faith, these cannot be a way of proving your superiority. There is a delicate balance between the particularity of your own faith and the pluralism mandated by the Constitution that will be demanded of you once you are in office, and I urge you to strive for it at the debates and on the campaign trail.
While you have the right to abstain from discussion of your personal faith on the debate stage, the issues confronting religious communities in America are too important to ignore. Last week, bigoted protests targeted mosques and Muslim community centers across America. Members of Congress have infused our response to the Syrian refugee crisis with religious animus. And Kim Davis, a woman who sought to use a government office to pursue a sectarian religious agenda, has become a folk-hero for the Religious Right.
As a candidate for the highest office of the land it is critical that you have something to offer people of faith looking to you for answers on these issues. You must offer a vision of religious freedom, a promise of how to protect the rights of all Americans, to your would-be constituents. On behalf of Interfaith Alliance, I urge you to pursue an inclusive and pluralistic version of religious freedom that recognizes that no one’s rights should be sacrificed for another.
When the debate begins, I hope you will speak powerfully and clearly to all Americans about the importance of religious freedom. Speak honestly, speak with your best understanding of faith and the Constitution, but please do not mislead us for political gain.
Rabbi Jack Moline