WASHINGTON – Today, Pastor Mark Burns spoke at a Donald Trump campaign rally in Hickory, North Carolina and said that Senator Bernie Sanders, “Gotta get saved. He gotta meet Jesus.” This comment comes only days after a Muslim student and a Latino student reported being attacked outside of a Trump rally. Following these developments, Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, released this statement:

“It is profoundly un-American to use a campaign platform to denigrate and demean the faith of a candidate for President, it is unbecoming of a member of the clergy to do so when these rallies have increasingly resulted in violence toward religious and racial minorities. Like almost no other campaign in recent memory, this election cycle has demonstrated just how easily rhetoric that abuses Americans of all kinds can turn into incitement and violence.

“Donald Trump must disavow the anti-Semitism of Pastor Burns. He must reject the violence that has marked his campaign and he must rectify the Islamophobia and racism that he has inspired. Most importantly, Donald Trump must demonstrate that he understands the First Amendment and its guarantee of religious freedom well enough to defend it if he were to become President.”

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.