Rabbi Jack Moline: “Nothing Prevents the Free Exercise of Religion More Effectively Than a Bullet”

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May 25, 2022 

Manisha Sunil, West End Strategy Team
msunil@westendstrategy.com; Phone: 202-417-0171

Rabbi Jack Moline: “Nothing Prevents the Free Exercise of Religion More Effectively Than a Bullet”

WASHINGTON—In the wake of the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, released the below statement imploring faith leaders to take action on gun violence as a matter of shared values and responsibility:

“I’ve been a rabbi for four decades, and during that time I’ve worked across faith lines in pursuit of justice. As the leader of an organization dedicated to interfaith collaboration, I can say with confidence that there is not one mainstream faith or philosophy out there that doesn’t hold life sacred. That includes those with whom I often find myself at odds with in the ongoing debate about the true meaning of religious freedom. 

“To overlook the preventable loss of innocent life is a violation of the faithful tenets and secular philosophies that bind all of us together. And make no mistake, the commandment to care for our neighbors cannot be satisfied by mere ‘thoughts and prayers.’ Unless we act to save lives and the worlds they represent, we forfeit the right to pray.

“There is no tradition that, at its core, would justify the massacre of children at school, grandparents at the grocery store, or congregants in a house of worship. And there should be no faith leader that sits idly by while the people we have dedicated our lives to ministering to are slaughtered. Prayer works only when it softens the hardened heart and opens it to the message of healing and justice that flows through every tradition’s scripture. Prayer works only if it leads to confession, contrition and repentance. Prayer works only if it is not an excuse for inaction.

“Interfaith Alliance’s mission is to protect religious freedom for all Americans in accordance with the First Amendment. While our focus will remain on our first freedom, we implore faith leaders and lawmakers to make addressing the gun violence epidemic a priority. For as long as guns prevent our congregations, our worshippers, and our disciples from exercising their beliefs freely, the guarantee of religious freedom will be an incomplete promise. Nothing prevents the free exercise of religion more effectively than a bullet.

“The problem is guns — and the answer is not thoughts and prayers, except as they inspire us to save lives and the worlds they represent.”

If you are interested in speaking further with Interfaith Alliance, please contact Manisha Sunil at (202) 417-0171 or msunil@westendstrategy.com.