Jan 28 2015
WASHINGTON – In advance of the hearing to consider Loretta Lynch’s nomination as the next Attorney General of the United States, Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance, sent the following letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee urging them to ask Mrs. Lynch key questions about religious freedom:
As Executive Director of Interfaith Alliance I represent an organization committed to defending religious freedom. Our members identify among more than seventy-five faith traditions. I write to you today to urge you to include a full examination of U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch’s record and beliefs regarding religious freedom during her nomination hearing to become the next Attorney General of the United States.
The U.S. Department of Justice is tasked with ensuring that our nation’s laws and practices live up to the ideals set forth in the Constitution. It is imperative that its leader is someone with a deep knowledge and respect for the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom. While there are many religious freedom concerns our next Attorney General must consider, I raise two and encourage you to ask Ms. Lynch these questions at her confirmation hearing.
Discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity runs contrary to our nation’s values and laws. Government funding of such discrimination violates the core promise of the Constitution’s guarantee to equal treatment before the law. In order to live up to that goal both Democratic- and Republican-majority sessions of Congress and administrations from both parties have passed laws and issued executive orders requiring government contractors to abide by non-discrimination provisions.
Unfortunately both the Bush and Obama Administration have allowed religious organizations contracting with the federal government an exemption from non-discrimination provisions. Federal dollars should not fund discrimination, nor should they further religious doctrine. We urge you to ask Ms. Lynch: “Do you agree that federal contractors and grantees should not use taxpayer money to subsidize discrimination?”
Another area of concern is the relationship between law enforcement agencies and religious communities. The Justice Department recently took action toward eliminating religious profiling by federal law enforcement. However, it left in place overbroad exemptions for cases involving national security, airports and the U.S. border. Additionally it did not take the necessary steps to curtail profiling by local law enforcement agencies. Religious expression is not truly free if that expression makes you the target of government profiling or surveillance. We urge you to ask Ms. Lynch: “What steps would you take as Attorney General to ensure that law enforcement respects religious freedom?”
If there is anything that we at The Interfaith Alliance can do to assist you as you consider this important nomination, please contact me.
Rabbi Jack Moline,
Interim Executive Director
Jan 20 2015
Washington, D.C. – Interfaith Alliance announced today that Rabbi Jack Moline has been named as the executive director of Interfaith Alliance effective immediately. Rabbi Moline assumes this position following the retirement of Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy. A past member of Interfaith Alliance’s board of directors, Rabbi Moline served as its chair from 2006 until 2008. Rabbi Moline will oversee all aspects of the organization's work and serve as its primary spokesperson. Moline will initially serve in the post on an interim basis, as the board considers all options for the leadership of Interfaith Alliance.
In announcing the appointment, current chair of the board, Helio Fred Garcia said of Moline, “We could not ask for a better leader than Jack for the organization during this period of transition. The work we are doing is far too critical to allow us to lose any momentum. Jack will make sure that does not happen. He has been a powerful voice in defense of religious freedom for everyone regardless of his or her faith or belief. He understands the value of bringing together diverse voices and perspectives to challenge extremism and build common ground.”
Moline said of his appointment, “Any American engaged in the society around us understands the importance of the work we do at Interfaith Alliance. I have been privileged to be a part of the work of this organization for more than 18 years in defense of religious freedom. We will not lose any momentum as we continue to protect faith and freedom, challenge extremism and build common ground.”
Interfaith Alliance’s past president, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy added, “Jack has been a friend and ally since my first day at Interfaith Alliance. He really knows the challenges we face and I couldn’t be happier that he answered the call to lead Interfaith Alliance. I made a commitment when I stepped down that I would go from leading this organization to being it’s most loyal supporter; Jack’s leadership only serves to solidify that commitment more firmly.”
Jan 08 2015
WASHINGTON – Following this morning’s shooting at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris carried out allegedly by Muslim men in response to the paper’s portrayal of the Prophet Mohammed, Helio Fred Garcia, chair of the board of Interfaith Alliance, released this statement:
“My thoughts and prayers, and the prayers of every member of the Interfaith Alliance, are with the victims of this horrific attack, their friends and family, and the people of France. Violence negates the basic premise of every religion: that every human being is endowed with a unique worth and dignity. Such acts, when carried out in the name of religion, do an even greater injustice by transforming what is, for many, a force for meaning, justice and community, into a tool of hatred and division.
“It is particularly troubling that today’s attack targeted a media outlet. Those of us who are passionate about defending the First Amendment in the United States know that the freedom of speech, freedom of press and freedom of religion are values that grow in tandem. We can no more defend religious communities by attacking freedom of speech than we can defend freedom of speech by compromising religious liberty. French and American law enforcement, the media, and all of us must remember this fact as we seek a way forward from today’s tragedy. To respond to this event by demonizing and targeting the Muslim faith and community is both to misunderstand the nature of freedom and to accept the extremist’s logic of hatred and division. It is only through policies and discourses of civility and mutual understanding can we pursue, together, a world where tragedies like today’s attack are far less common.”
Dec 19 2014
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice would now consider discrimination against transgender individuals a form of sex discrimination barred by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Following this announcement, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance, released the following statement:
“Yesterday the nation’s top attorney declared what many have argued for years, that discrimination against transgender individuals is not only morally wrong, but should already be prohibited by the Civil Rights Act. This is a monumental step for the LGBT community in the long struggle to secure the rights promised to all Americans. Both Attorney General Holder and President Obama have said that they want the protection of civil rights to be a cornerstone of their legacies. Yesterday’s decision will stand as another mark of their commitment to equality. I hope that our nation’s judicial and legislative branches follow the Adminstration’s lead and do everything possible to protect the rights of transgender Americans.
“Those of us who hold steadfast to the separation of church and state have always been wary of the legal sanction given to discrimination against LGBT Americans. Often, though not always, defense of such discrimination is an unspoken way of giving a government imprint to religious bias and belief. We are grateful for the rejection of such religious establishment, embodied by yesterday’s policy change – it is both an important legal precedent and, hopefully, a bit of solace for a community who has waited far too long for recognition and protection.”