10 Ways Interfaith Alliance Led the Fight for #InclusiveReligiousFreedom in 2022

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With only a few days left in 2022, we’re taking a moment to celebrate the many ways that Interfaith Alliance led the fight for inclusive religious freedom this year. Our democracy depends on our shared commitment to building a more just world, and we’ve shown time and again that our network has the power to inform and mobilize our communities. Join us in reflecting on the many ways we showed up for one another and for our nation:

Championing Reproductive Freedom is a Matter of Religious Freedom

In June, the Supreme Court struck down the fundamental right to abortion as a matter of privacy. For people of all faiths and of no faith, the ability to make healthcare decisions based on one’s own beliefs and needs is a matter of religious freedom. From the steps of the court to communities across the country, Interfaith Alliance advocates embraced the fight for reproductive autonomy.

From Katy Joseph, our director of policy and advocacy: “Few moments are as personal – or as life changing – as the experience of becoming a parent. Today the Supreme Court stripped pregnant people of the right to make these decisions for themselves, based on their own beliefs and circumstances, and instead placed this authority in the hands of state legislators.” Learn more about our role in the Dobbs case.

Rabbi Jack Moline Passed the Baton of Leadership to the Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush

Interfaith Alliance thanks Rabbi Jack Moline for seven and a half years of exceptional leadership and powerful advocacy. As we approach 30 years at the forefront of the movement for inclusive religious freedom, we’re honored to welcome the Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush at this critical moment for our democracy. In his own words, “now is the moment to repair our moral commitment to one another and build a better, more inclusive future.” Learn more about Rev. Raushenbush.

Seeding Inclusive Religious Freedom at the Grassroots Level

Now is the time for community and state organizations to join together to build both local and national power. Our growing network of affiliates is making real change, protecting freedom of belief and ensuring that all of us have the opportunity to thrive. In 2022, Interfaith Alliance welcomed our newest affiliate in North Dakota and deepened partnerships in the pivotal states of Florida and Texas. We want to support you in making a difference where you are. Learn more about our affiliate network.

Protecting Our Democracy from the Growing Threat of Christian Nationalism

In the wake of the January 6th insurrection, many of us became acutely aware of the growing threat of Christian nationalism. Christian nationalism draws on the symbols and language of Christian religious life in service of an exclusive political and cultural goal. The “Christian” elements of this ideology are more about identity than religion. Its ultimate goal is power – for a particular group of Americans, at the expense of all others.

On September 28th, Interfaith Alliance hosted the first ever briefing on Capitol Hill focused on this dangerous ideology and its deep roots in American history. Watch the briefing and explore brand new resources.

Expanding Our Team to Meet this Moment

The freedom to believe as we choose is unalienable – but it’s not unlimited. As members of the Religious Right and their allies in Congress work to distort our first freedom, Interfaith Alliance is fighting for people of all faiths and no faith in communities across the country.

This year we welcomed the Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson, president emerita of Auburn Seminary, as interim president, who is now senior advisor to the Rev. Paul Raushenbush. Jason L. Miller joined us from Franciscan Action Network, serving as Director of Operations and Special Projects, and Riya Kohli joined our advocacy team to lead our anti-hate and education initiatives. Learn more about our inclusive vision of religious freedom.

Mobilizing A Powerful Multifaith Coalition to Pass the Respect for Marriage Act

Across religious traditions, we honor the common tenet that every person has inherent dignity and worth. And whatever our background or belief, we share the desire to care for our families with love and commitment. This fall, Interfaith Alliance mobilized dozens of national religious organizations and denominations in calling on Congress to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, to ensure that same-sex and interracial couples remain protected under federal law.

In remarks at a press conference on Capitol Hill featuring members of Congress and national faith leaders, Interfaith Alliance board member Simran Stuelpnagel said, “There is a common misconception that religious institutions and the faithful would be against marriage equality and for the majority of us, that’s simply not true. As a Sikh American, I want my children to have their God-given right to marry who they want – to be who they want.” Learn more about our work to pass the Respect for Marriage Act.

Joining Together to Protect Our Communities from Hate-Based Violence

All of us deserve to feel safe, wherever we call home. Yet hate groups are becoming more vocal, visible, and violent. In 2022, Interfaith Alliance joined in solidarity with our friends and neighbors who faced hatred and discrimination, with the knowledge that our freedoms are inextricably bound together.

Hate crimes are uniquely damaging to those targeted and the larger group they represent. On November 16th, Rev. Paul Raushenbush moderated a briefing hosted by the Muslim Public Affairs Council spotlighting the ongoing need to recognize the victims of post-9/11 hate crimes and assaults against American Muslims and those incorrectly perceived to be Muslim, including Sikhs, Hindus, and others. Watch the briefing and explore our Partnering Against Hate toolkit.

Seeking Justice Through Strategic “Friend of the Court” Briefs

In federal courts across the country, Interfaith Alliance champions an inclusive vision of religious freedom through strategic amicus briefs and by spotlighting cases that impact the boundary between religion and government. This year alone we filed multifaith briefs affirming the right to religious accommodations for Sikh members of the Marine Corps, calling for damages for clergy tear gassed by the Trump Administration outside St. John’s Church, and highlighting the threat posed to minority communities if the Supreme Court grants religious exemptions from state nondiscrimination laws – and many more.

But our judicial advocacy doesn’t stop there. We also raised concerns about the corrosive effects of politicking at the Supreme Court in a hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee. Read our full statement to the Committee.

Imagining a Future Without Antisemitism

Antisemitic harassment and violence skyrocketed this year. But a newly released annual report from the FBI illustrates the deep flaws in how agencies collect and track information about hate crimes. An accurate accounting is a necessary first step in meeting the needs of victims of hate crimes, their communities, and those with the power to ensure all of us are safe.

On State of Belief, our weekly radio show and podcast, host Rev. Paul Raushenbush launched a series of conversations on ending anti-Jewish and interconnected forms of hate with guests like Rabbi Jason Kimmelman-Block of Bend the Arc Jewish Action. Listen now and subscribe to State of Belief: Religion and Radio Done Differently.

Mobilizing Our Supporter Network in All 50 States

It’s friends and partners like you who make the work of Interfaith Alliance possible. Writes Rev. Raushenbush, “As you know I began as president and CEO of Interfaith Alliance in September, and it often feels like this is the position and the organization for which I’ve been preparing my whole life. One of the most moving aspects are the regular–often daily–gifts from friends all over the country, some in check form with handwritten signatures, many of them smaller–10, 18, 25, 50, 100 dollars–and large in heart.

Some of you have been with us since the beginning of Interfaith Alliance–in other words, almost 30 years! You are supporting us from Phoenix, Az., from Wichita, KS, from Aurora, CO, from Ventura, CA., Omaha, NE–literally from every state in the country! You are part of a powerful network of people who clearly care deeply about true religious freedom, protecting democracy, and building the country where everyone belongs.

I want to say thank you for your faithful support over many years. Your outreach encourages me daily, and helps us to do the work that we’re sharing with you today as we wrap up 2022. We look forward to keeping in touch, and we send blessings and gratitude your way in this season of light.”

In 2023, Interfaith Alliance is entering a new era – one that we’d love for you to be part of. In the coming year we’ll be partnering and organizing with more people than ever before who are determined to build an America where all belong. We’re so grateful for your support, and we’re counting on you to stick with us for what lies ahead.

Please consider supporting Interfaith Alliance into the new year.