Jul 29 2015
WASHINGTON – Former Arkansas Governor, and Republican candidate for president, Mike Huckabee recently made offensive and inappropriate comments comparing President Obama’s negotiations with Iran to the beginning of the Holocaust. Following the President’s reaction to these statements, Gov. Huckabee as well as several other candidates in the Republican primary doubled-down on this analogy. Interfaith Alliance has a long history of asking people in public life to refrain from misusing the Holocaust and other Nazi rhetoric in this way. In response to these latest comments, Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance, released the this statement:
“I am appalled that Mike Huckabee would invoke the Holocaust for his political gain; I am disgusted that he, after hearing passionate critiques from so many in the Jewish community, is waffling about the language he used and defending this sentiment. The only acceptable thing to do now is apologize.
“The Holocaust was a historically unique event that ultimately resulted in the death of six million Jews. To use it as a rhetorical device on the campaign trail is to misunderstand history and disrespect the memory of those who died. Having lived and worked in the Jewish community my entire life, I know how fresh the devastation of the Holocaust still is for so many. He should know better as a pastor than to exploit the sacred memory of others for political purposes and to then use sophistry to defend his insensitivity. There is, quite simply, no excuse for rhetoric of this nature.
“Sadly Governor Huckabee has dragged too many of his Republican colleagues into this debate: with candidates like Senator Rick Santorum and Senator Ted Cruz defending his rhetoric, and Governor Jeb Bush denouncing it. It is deeply unsettling that so many candidates for the highest office in the land cannot see through Governor Huckabee’s rhetoric for the canard that it is. There is clearly a debate to be had about the Iran deal, but we should all agree the Holocaust has no part in it.”
Jul 23 2015
WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Jeff Merkley and Representative David Cicilline introduced the Equality Act in both houses of the U.S. Congress. This legislation would update a number of key civil rights laws to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Following the introduction of this historic legislation Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance, released this statement:
“The Equality Act is the most comprehensive proposal to safeguard the equal rights of all Americans ever put before the U.S. Congress. By prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and several other key areas, this legislation is a guarantee of the freedoms promised each of us by the Constitution for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Most importantly, the bill accomplishes this push toward a more complete equality without creating a new religious exemption. The tension between civil rights and religious freedom is neither unprecedented nor unmanageable. By drawing on the existing religious exemptions that have shaped these civil rights laws for decades, this bill ensures that anti-LGBT animus is not considered more legitimate, more worthy of protection, than any other form of religious belief.
“This legislation may not solve every problem regarding religious freedom and civil rights in America, certainly it does not supplant the need for a legislative fix to the disastrous Hobby Lobby decision. But we cannot ask the LGBT community to live without their overdue equality any longer.”
Jul 17 2015
WASHINGTON – Following yesterday’s shooting of four Marines near a military installation in Chattanooga, Tenn., Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance, released the following statement:
“Too frequently, it seems, we must give witness to our own fragility and vulnerability in the wake of mass violence. Once again a gunman has threatened to tear apart the very fabric of our society: the freedom and pluralism that make our nation great. And once again I must wonder if this tragic moment might bring us closer together, or if our reactions to this heinous act will only pull us further apart. But the fact that these feelings are all too familiar cannot lessen the unique experience of the people of Chattanooga or the tragedy they face today.
“I stand today with the people of Chattanooga, shaken by the pain that has visited their community. They, like all Americans, deserve freedom from violence and freedom from fear, and we owe them a moment of reflection on how best to seek that healing and safety.
“I stand today with the men and women of the armed forces who have once again been asked to sacrifice far too much. We must recommit ourselves to the Constitution that these men and women serve to protect and defend.
“And I stand today with Muslims across America, too many of whom will be asked to provide reason for this senseless act. They no more hold collective responsibility for this heinous act than the Christian community holds for last month’s tragedy in Charleston. I join with Muslim communities across the country as they gather to commemorate Eid al-Fitr and the completion of the month of Ramadan. The reflection, humility and compassion that Islam begs of us in these holidays are exactly what America needs to see us through this moment of tragedy.“
Jul 16 2015
OKLAHOMA CITY – Despite a recent court order requiring Oklahoma to remove a statue of the Ten Commandments from the grounds of its capitol, Governor Mary Fallin has insisted on leaving the religious symbol in place. In response to the Governor’s refusal to comply with this order, Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance, Rev. Bob Lawrence, executive director of Tulsa Interfaith Alliance, Dr. Carl Rubenstein, president of Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma, released the following statement:
“The Oklahoma Supreme Court has spoken and confirmed what our organizations have always known – that the Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma Capitol violates both the letter and the spirit of the First Amendment. When the Founders drafted the Constitution they sought to ensure that our nation’s laws would not be based on religious belief alone. The American commitment to religious freedom and pluralism demands that we respect the manifold backgrounds from which each American comes to the common cause of our democracy. Placing the Ten Commandments before the people’s house is to say that some religious texts are more central to our law than others, that some people of faith are more American than others. The challenge of America is recognizing that every religious text has something to offer our public policy, and none should be given primacy over others.
“We are pleased that Gov. Fallin takes such great inspiration from the teachings of respect and order found in the Ten Commandments, but that private motivation should not be imposed on the public square and all who enter our Capitol.”