Interfaith Alliance president Rabbi Jack Moline issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s executive order on the Johnson Amendment:
“President Trump’s actions today should not be allowed to stand. Removing the legal sanctions for political endorsements by tax-exempt houses of worship will do more to compromise religious freedom than any action in recent memory. That minority of clergy — almost all from the Religious Right — who want to impose their private partisanship on their congregations will be emboldened to turn worship into campaign rallies. Government officials will feel free to violate the Establishment Clause by promoting their own religious beliefs in the performance of official duties.
“Today’s Executive Order is payment to religious extremists for their support. It is not in the interests of American citizens, including those who voted Mr. Trump into office. It is a betrayal of the First Amendment. The responsibility now falls to clergy of conscience to protect their pulpits from partisan political intrusions, and to citizens to insist that their legislators overturn this overreach.
“On this day designated as the National Day of Prayer, President Trump would do well to remember that we are a nation of laws, not prayers. Worship is a protected right of each American, but it is neither a campaign tactic nor subject to the direction of any government official, including the President of the United States.
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 www.interfaithalliance.org.