WASHINGTON—In response to President Obama’s National Day of Prayer Proclamation – which strove to include and represent Americans of all faiths – Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance, released the following statement: those
“In 1952, Congress mandated that the President designate the first Thursday in May the National Day of Prayer. Too often public prayer, and this observance in particular, is used as a wedge to divide and demean Americans of different faiths and of no particular faith. I, along with faith leaders across the country, am grateful that President Obama repudiated such tactics in his proclamation today. The President’s inclusive proclamation today was first and foremost an articulation of America’s promise of religious freedom – a nation where all are free to worship as they please, and where no one’s religious beliefs dictate the rights and freedoms of others. Prayer can and does play a role for many in that vision of religious freedom and pluralism, the President’s proclamation honored and celebrated it.
“Yet the National Day of Prayer remains an observance that flouts the spirit of religious freedom in America, if not very the letter of the law. We should ask our leaders to join us in the common cause of solving our nation’s most urgent needs with, in the President’s words, “solemn reflection.” However, Government-sponsored prayer, no matter how well-intentioned, violates the Constitution. Our leaders should demonstrate respect for people of all religious traditions and of no religious tradition, and there should be no expectation of a public display of any particular form of piety.”
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.