FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 2, 2022
Manisha Sunil, West End Strategy Team
[email protected]; Phone: 202-417-0171
National Prayer Breakfast Platforms Bigotry, Undermines Church-State Separation
WASHINGTON—Ahead of the National Prayer Breakfast, religious freedom advocates are calling attention to the event’s problematic history and sponsorship.
Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, released the below statement demanding the Biden administration honor the diversity of faiths and philosophies in the United States without violating church-state separation and giving credence to figures who have historically rallied against an inclusive vision of religious freedom.
“Normally, we wait until after an event to comment on its contents. But after monitoring the National Prayer Breakfast and its roots in the Religious Right for decades, we feel confident enough to voice our opposition early and vehemently.
“Anybody can attach the word ‘national’ to an activity, but that does not make it reflective of national values. This much is clear in the case of the National Prayer Breakfast. Despite being a Washington mainstay, the breakfast is a private political gathering. It is hosted by groups that are upfront in their goal to ground public policy in religious conviction, contrary to the pluralistic values of this country. The agenda promoted by these sponsors ought to make those committed to diversity, equity and inclusion think twice about lending their names and titles to this set of events.
“Though attendees include players from across political and religious ideologies, its longtime organizers have sought to use the event as a vehicle for their conservative Christian beliefs. When elected officials use the backdrop of the Capitol to assert the power of their faith — while affirming that they gather in the name of Jesus, which is clear on the event’s website — they are not living up to the constitutional promise of a secular government.
“Over the past year, we’ve been proud to join with the Biden administration in promoting an inclusive vision of religious freedom. But by participating in an event bankrolled by the Religious Right, he and so many of his like-minded colleagues are turning their backs on the very people they have spent their careers defending. It’s time to find an alternative to the National Prayer Breakfast – one that celebrates freedom of belief without betraying the constitutional promise of church-state separation.”
If you are interested in speaking further with Interfaith Alliance, please contact Manisha Sunil at (202) 417-0171 or [email protected].
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 www.interfaithalliance.org.