WASHINGTON – During an interview today Chris Matthews asked Donald Trump whether he believed women should be punished for having an abortion, Mr. Trump responded by challenging Mr. Matthews about whether he agreed with his own faiths teachings on the issue. While Interfaith Alliance is neither a pro-choice nor pro-life organization, the organization monitors the use and abuse of religion in government and on the campaign trail. Following this troubling interaction, Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, released this statement:

“While answering an important question about whether his position on abortion would include penalties for the women who seek them, Donald Trump, chose to make his answer about the interviewer’s faith, asking Chris Mathews if he was aware of the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion. All those who cherish religious freedom should be concerned when a candidate for President frames public policy positons around religion rather than the law.

“Chris Matthews’ response powerfully demonstrated what the Constitution asks from all Americans: to consider the secular good for people of all religions while holding true to your understanding of your own faith. And understanding that being true to your faith does not require imposing those beliefs on others by codifying them in to law. Any candidate for public office, much less the highest office in the land, should demonstrate an understanding of the First Amendment’s promise of freedom of religion.”

Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.