Press Releases

Interfaith Alliance Head, Longtime Virginia Faith Leader, Calls For Expanded Approach to Terrorism After Targeting of Black Churches, Synagogues By Virginia White Supremacists

WASHINGTON – Earlier this week, three alleged white supremacists were arrested by the FBI after plotting to attack synagogues and black churches in Virginia. Interfaith Alliance has frequently called on the FBI and the Department of Justice to ensure that the focus of their Countering Violent Extremism program addresses the full threat of the violent extremism in the U.S., a threat illustrated by this recent arrest. Following the announcement of this arrest, Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance and longtime religious leader in Virginia, released this statement:

“I stand with today with the religious communities of Virginia, shaken by the discovery of this horrendous plot. I cannot help but think that the Alexandria synagogue I served for nearly thirty years, or the Richmond synagogue my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter attend, could have been targeted by these forces of hate and violence. And I stand today with my interfaith allies in black churches, knowing that our bonds are made stronger in the face of this terrorist threat.

“Too often we are told that violent extremism in America has only one face and only one name. We see the White House convene summits on the issue that discuss only radicalization in the Muslim community, the FBI designs initiatives that target only the Muslim community – and we loose sight of the broader picture of terrorism in America. There is a strain of racist, antisemitic and anti-Muslim, extremism in this country that is better armed and better organized than any of us like to admit. We will not be truly safe unless we face this terrorist threat head on. I am heartened by the fact that this plot was discovered by the FBI, and I pray that it is representative of a broader commitment to address the radicalization and militarization of white supremacists.

“We must reaffirm our commitment today to religious tolerance and religious freedom. We must teach tolerance in our homes, houses of worship and communities, so that fewer and fewer Americans will be drawn toward this type of violence. And we must advocate for religious freedom to our law enforcement and political leaders. There is no freedom to worship if we cannot gather without fear. There is no freedom from discrimination if law enforcement unjustly targets one faith community. Interfaith Alliance has always believed that we can find unity and strength through our religious differences – sometimes that unity is forced upon us by the plans of terrorists, sometimes we must that build that unity through understanding and advocacy.”

Interfaith Alliance Urges Supreme Court to Uphold Contraception Mandate

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

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.”

Interfaith Alliance Saddened by Vote on Houston Equal Rights Ordinance

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.”