CEO and Executive Vice President
National Rifle Association
11250 Waples Mill Rd,
Fairfax, VA 22030
February 9, 2016
Dear Mr. LaPierre,
I write to you today as both a Rabbi, a leader in the Jewish community for more than three decades, and as the executive director of Interfaith Alliance, a national organization with members representing more than 75 faith traditions. Our members share the same basic commitments that your leadership and organization profess – to defend America’s promise of faith and freedom. And yet, I must say, that the recent actions of your organization, and your board member Ted Nugent, have been both deeply troubling and profoundly counterproductive to the goals we seek.
One cannot ascribe nefarious religious motivation to our public servants without jeopardizing the basic promise of the Constitution that people of all faiths should have equal participation in our government. One cannot couple those allegations with violent rhetoric without threatening the very basic right to life and liberty of people of faith in the United States.
As a lover of the Constitution, I respect your organization’s commitment to the 2nd Amendment, but I do not believe that it is coincidental that our Founders put the freedom of religion first. Our organization’s board includes gun owners and advocates of restrictions on firearms alike, but they are united in their rejection of stereotyping and bigotry.
Mr. Nugent’s latest outrage cannot be explained away. As long as the National Rifle Association includes him as an official board member or even as a “celebrity endorser” we will consider this blending of advocacy for your issues and hate rhetoric to be reflective of the position of the NRA. Nothing short of complete and permanent repudiation will sever the link between your organization and religious bigotry.
Both the Republican Jewish Coalition and the National Jewish Democratic Council have condemned Mr. Nugent’s posting and characterized it accurate. NJDC said, “Nugent should be ashamed for promoting anti-Semitic content” and RJC tweeted, “The item Ted Nugent posted is anti-Semitic and a disappointment. Such hate has no place in our society.” Mr. Nugent, as you know, responded to criticism by equating his critics with Nazis.
I will watch carefully for your response.
Rabbi Jack Moline,
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.