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.”
May 13 2016
WASHINGTON – Today the Department of Justice and Department of Education issued guidance to school districts across the country on protecting the rights of transgender students. This historic move comes just days after the Administration filed a lawsuit against North Carolina’s discriminatory House Bill 2 and a powerful statement of support for the transgender community from Attorney General Loretta Lynch. In response to these developments, Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, released this statement:
“The Administration’s actions to protect the rights of transgender students across the country embody the fundamental contours of the Constitution: every individual has the right to express their identity free from fear of bigotry or discrimination, and no one’s comfort deserves protection over another’s equality. No matter whether antipathy toward transgender Americans is motivated by ignorance or a particular – misguided, I believe - theological understanding of gender, neither has a place in our public schools.
“Our nation is once again at a crossroads. Will our moral compass guide us toward the voices of inclusion and human dignity or toward the forces of cruelty? Today’s administrative action represents a powerful step down the path toward equality.”
May 09 2016
WASHINGTON -- Today, Interfaith Alliance and thirty other religious organizations and organizations committed to religious freedom called on Congress to support legislation that would prohibit religious discrimination in U.S. immigration policy. Such legislation will be introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Don Beyer (D - VA) later this week. The letter, signed by Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and interfaith organizations, reads as follows:
The undersigned 31 religious organizations and organizations that advocate for religious liberty, representing people across the country who follow a wide range of religions and beliefs, write to urge you to support legislation, to be introduced by Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) later this week, that would bar religious discrimination in U.S. immigration policies.
Our nation has a long and proud history of providing safe harbor for members of communities fleeing persecution and seeking a better life on our shores. Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus and atheists, among others, have all come to our country because of the religious freedom protected by our Constitution. These communities may have been met at first with fear, distrust and discrimination, but the First Amendment has allowed each to thrive and foster communities despite these hurdles. It is this commitment to religious freedom that has allowed religious diversity and practice to flourish in this country like nowhere else.
Today, this honored legacy is in jeopardy. Concerns about national security are mixing with unchecked anti-Muslim bigotry and fomenting unjust fear and scrutiny of Muslim refugees and immigrants. Sadly, that fear has led some to call for a temporary ban on Muslims immigrating to the U.S., to propose dramatically limiting the number of refugees our nation accepts, and to pursue a host of policies designed to make life difficult for Muslims in America. To close our doors to Muslim immigrants and refugees in need would betray both the First Amendment and our nation’s great history as an open and welcoming land.
The legislation, which will be introduced by Rep. Beyer later this week, is a simple measure that would bar the U.S. from denying a person the opportunity to enter this country based solely on his or her religion. This bill is an important step toward ensuring that our nation will remain open to people of all faiths and beliefs, securing the religious freedom of all.
Significantly, this proposal would not prevent our nation from proactively seeking to help persecuted religious minorities around the world find safety on our shores while also maintaining our national security. The U.S. would still be able to consider threats to religious communities as an important factor in asylum and refugee considerations, just as we did with Jews fleeing the Holocaust and the Soviet Union, Christians from the Middle East, and Buddhists, Catholics and other Christians from Vietnam.
This bill reflects our fundamental commitment to religious freedom by ensuring that our immigration policies honor the greatest chapters of our nation’s history of religious liberty. As a member of Congress sworn to uphold our constitutional guarantee of religious freedom, we urge you to support this critical legislation.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
American Humanist Association
Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty
Bend the Arc Jewish Action
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good
Center for Inquiry
Christian Reformed Church in North America – Office of Social Justice
Church World Service
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Foundation for Ethnic Understanding
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Islamic Society of North America
Millstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Council of Jewish Women
National Justice for Our Neighbors
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College/ Jewish Reconstructionist Communities
Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign
T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Association
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
Apr 14 2016
Today a group of Muslim and interfaith leaders, under the auspices of the Islamic Society of North America and the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign, sent a letter to the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee urging them to take a stand against anti-Muslim bigotry in their party platforms. Speaking at the press conference where this letter was announced, Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, said the following:
"Yesterday was the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, a man who genuinely needs no introduction. Among the remarkable statements attributed to him were the watchwords of generations: Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Lots of people misunderstand that phrase to be about national security, but I have to remind you that, in that sense, eternal vigilance is also the price of totalitarianism. What Jefferson meant was that we must be vigilant about the human rights that secure the blessings of liberty.
"So I won’t suggest to you some version of 'they came for the trade unionists and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.' My advocacy, Interfaith Alliance’s advocacy on behalf of Muslim Americans is not self-serving. Muslim American enfranchisement is not a privilege, something bestowed through the power and good will of those who can give and take away.
"It is a right – the same right as every citizen, every voter, every Democrat, every Republican. It is part of those unalienable rights that Mr. Jefferson affirmed as the bedrock of American society. And we, as people of faith, faith in God, faith in the goodness of government, faith in our better angels, and faith in the Constitution as the law that binds us all, stand with our sisters and brothers today to declare that we will protect the faith and freedom of every American as fiercely as we protect our own faith and freedom.
"Because it is right. Because it is our right. Because it is their right."