WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Bloomberg’s John Heilemann asked Donald Trump, candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, a series of questions about his faith and his relationship to the Bible. Mr. Trump rightfully pushed back on the question saying it was a personal matter. Interfaith Alliance has encouraged candidates to take care when discussing religion on the campaign trail, and has long urged the media to respect candidates’ private views. Today, Interfaith Alliance Executive Director Rabbi Jack Moline released the following statement:
“Mr. Trump demonstrated a remarkable deftness and respect for the spirit of the First Amendment when pressed, recently, with questions about his relationship to the Bible. The Constitution mandates that the government set no religious test for office, if we are to truly protect religious freedom in America the media must uphold that goal as well. We do a disservice to both our politics and our religious communities when we encourage candidates to translate their faith into sound-bytes. I thank Mr. Trump for respecting religion enough to refuse to answer such questions.
“Mr. Trump has rightfully asked that the privacy of his personal religious identity and beliefs be respected, that America give him the benefit of the doubt when he discuss faith. As someone who strives to lead our nation, I urge him to extend that same civility and generosity to his political opponents, members of the media, and the general public. We are not better informed when we insult one another, our political debate is not helped when we question each other’s intentions, our country will not be made great through demonizing members of our community, fueling divisiveness and championing vitriol.”
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 interfaithalliance.org.