My wife, Judy, and I just returned from a short vacation on the Gulf Coast. But of course, we can never take a break from protecting religious freedom.
While we were there, a plethora of political developments with relevance to the integrity of the Constitutional guarantee of religious freedom grabbed not only my attention, but public attention as well. Requests for media interviews came, and debates needing Interfaith Alliance’s perspective arose. And, on top of all of that, Hurricane Isaac forced Judy and me to evacuate.
It is true that much of our work over the next few months will continue to focus on the elections and ensuring that candidates don’t manipulate religion for partisan political purposes. But we must not forget the continued work that lies ahead after the votes are counted in November…indeed, threats to faith and freedom exist far beyond the campaign trail.
First, recent public polling data reveals a shocking lack of understanding into the meaning of religious freedom and a growing lack of interest in religious freedom issues. Equally troublesome, the Catholic bishops and evangelical Protestant leaders have joined together to launch an initiative to redefine the meaning of religious freedom, advocating a definition that allows freedom for only their own religious practices.
Also, the U.S. military continues to demonstrate evidence of infringements on the religious freedom of its personnel, while the White House continues to publicize “the faith-based office” and its facilitation of securing government money for religious institutions without requiring guarantees for civil-rights compliant employment practices. And we have seen an escalation of religion-based violence wreaking havoc in communities across our nation.
You are reading these words because you have been involved in the work of Interfaith Alliance and contributed valuable support, both through your activism and financial support. For certain, our recent accomplishments – some of which are highlighted in this e-newsletter – would not be possible without the ongoing commitment of members and activists like you.
As you read our e-newsletter, I hope you are as encouraged by our accomplishments as I am and that you will be motivated to continue to join us as we strive to overcome the many challenges to faith and freedom that I just mentioned. Together, we can accomplish what none of us can do alone.