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 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.