Apr 09 2015
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, President Obama responded to a “We the People” petition by announcing both his opposition to so-called “conversion therapy” for LGBT youth and his support of efforts to ban it. Following this important step in the government’s efforts to prevent the abuse of LGBT youth and protect their rights, Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance, released this statement:
“The president’s call to ban so-called conversion therapy is a major victory not only for the safety and equal rights of LGBT youth, but for religious freedom in America. Too many purveyors of these dangerous and harmful treatments have used religious language to peddle their false services and prey on families of faith. The president’s announcement should be a reminder to religious communities and leaders across the country of the dangers of this kind of ‘therapy.’”
“By rejecting conversion therapy, we take an important step toward fully accepting and embracing the presence of the divine in all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. People of all faiths have a responsibility to reject abusive pseudo-psychology and abandon practices that invalidate the identities of our LGBT children. Time and again we have witnessed the tragedies that such disrespect and disregard can cause. President Obama’s words provide hope for those young people enduring this mistreatment while we continue the important work of abolishing this insidious practice.”
Apr 02 2015
WASHINGTON – Following the Indiana State Legislature’s proposed “fix” to the so-called Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Rabbi Jack Moline released this statement:
“The proposed fix to the Indiana Religious Freedom Act may be step in the right direction, but it is a step that does not go nearly far enough. We have yet to see a legislative proposal from Indiana, or any other state, that does more to protect religious freedom than the First Amendment, which has successfully safeguarded religious freedom in America throughout our history.
“This legislation, even with the proposed changes, still reflects a partisan, sectarian ideology rather than any urgent need to protect religious freedom in Indiana. Governor Pence and the Indiana State Legislature should stop asking how they can manipulate America’s guarantee of religious freedom, and start asking how they can protect the rights of all Hoosiers, people of all faiths and the LGBT community alike.”
Apr 02 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Following Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s announcement that he would refuse to sign Arkansas’ religious freedom legislation without a fix to prohibit discrimination by businesses, Rev. Stephen Copley, chair of Interfaith Alliance Arkansas, and Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of the national Interfaith Alliance, released these statements:
Rev. Stephen Copley, a United Methodist pastor and Interfaith Alliance Arkansas chair, said, “Gov. Hutchinson made the right call by refusing to sign this discriminatory bill. People of faith and goodwill in Arkansas know that our rights should never come at the expense of others. Interfaith Alliance Arkansas will hold Gov. Hutchinson to his word and continue to strive for a state that respects the religious freedom and civil rights of all.”
Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of the national Interfaith Alliance said, “We have seen too many laws like the one passed in Arkansas considered across the country. It is time for our nation’s leaders to recognize that discrimination will not safeguard religious freedom, that legislating the beliefs of one religious community will not protect the rights of all. People of faith in Arkansas and across America are standing up to say that this is not the freedom we desire. Politicians should listen to them, follow the Constitution, and stop these attempts to distort the guarantees of the First Amendment. The story in Arkansas has not finished, but we hope Gov. Hutchinson will be our partner in preventing the proliferation of these false claims of religious freedom.”
Mar 31 2015
WASHINGTON – Last week Gov. Mike Pence and the Indiana State Legislature rushed to enact sweeping “religious freedom” legislation over the strong objections of civil rights and religious organizations that believed it would give legal justification to discrimination. Today Gov. Pence walked back his defense of this legislation, asking for a fix that would prevent this religious freedom legislation from allowing discrimination by business owners in the state. Following these developments, Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance released the following statement:
“Governor Mike Pence and the Indiana Legislature have managed to enact a so-called religious freedom bill with provisions that are broader and more dangerous than anything we have seen before. Whether ‘the fix’ that Governor Pence has promised will ultimately prove sufficient to safeguard the rights of all Hoosiers has yet to be seen, but certain damage is done. This legislation has already been marked as a dark chapter in the long history of religious freedom and civil rights in America. The concept of a ‘religious freedom restoration act’ was at one time well intentioned as protection against discrimination. Unfortunately, it has now become a Trojan Horse to codify the right to discriminate into law.
“When the Religious Right and their political allies use the vocabulary of religious freedom as a smokescreen for prejudice and intolerance, they jeopardize not only the rights of the LGBT community, but the rights of all those protected by the promise of the First Amendment. The LGBT community and all well-meaning Hoosiers of faith have seen their rights abused in the service of a political agenda this past week. Our constitutional guarantees are too important, too precious, to be sacrificed in the contest for short-term political gain. We hope that Governor Pence finally has learned that the only way truly to protect the constitution is to make it work for everyone. Politicians across our country should recognize Indiana’s mistake and not pass discriminatory legislation like this in the first place.”