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 is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.