Interfaith Alliance of Southwest Florida

Based in Naples, Florida, the Interfaith Alliance of Southwest Florida is made up of people of many faiths and no faith, clergy, and lay members of diverse faith communities. We come together because of our shared commitment to inclusive religious freedom and democracy.

About the Interfaith Alliance of Southwest Florida

We believe that religion and government must be separate. True, inclusive religious freedom is a foundation for American democracy, enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution. No one, including the government, has the right to impose religious beliefs on anyone else. Everyone has the right to hold and practice their own religious beliefs, as long as they do not impose those beliefs on or use them to harm others.

We believe that religious and political extremists are a threat to individual liberty and democracy, notably religious nationalists who seek to use the government to impose their distorted view of our nation’s history on others in, for example, public schools; local decision-making by school boards, city councils, and county boards of commissioners; and state regulations.

We believe that religious and cultural diversity is essential in building vibrant communities. We strive to gather together diverse faith voices and to facilitate meaningful communication and collaboration across our differences.

We believe that all people have intrinsic worth and are entitled to equal rights, dignity, and respect within our society. We support actions that promote equal human rights and oppose actions that limit the rights of some people or privilege some people’s rights over others’.

We will work in partnership with others to protect our communities from bigotry, discrimination, prejudice, racism, and all forms of hate against all people regardless of faith, race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, or national origin.

We will work in partnership with others to protect public education from:

  • all formal and informal efforts to ban books from school and public libraries; 
  • all threats to the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ students and parents; 
  • all restrictions to the academic freedom of teachers in K-12 and higher education, including limiting the curriculum and teachers’ ability to teach, for example, the full and accurate history of our nation or the scientific understanding of human sexuality
  • all threats to the full and effective functioning of our public school system, including, for example, the diversion of public monies to support private and religious schools and attempts to make school board elections partisan

The Interfaith Alliance of Southwest Florida was founded in 2023 in response to growing concern about state and local entanglement between religion and politics, including the pervasive influence of religious nationalism, deep and recurring threats to public education, and increasing levels of hate-based activity targeting Jews, LGBTQ+ persons, Blacks, Asians, and other community members. 

As a local affiliate of Interfaith Alliance, we support national initiatives with particular relevance for our community and seek assistance from the national staff in launching and implementing our own initiatives. We draw upon national resources to challenge bigotry and defend religious freedom on local issues, including candidate education, religion in the public sphere, and interfaith relations. We will seek assistance in tracking the use (and misuse) of religion by candidates for public office.

Interfaith Alliance of Southwest Florida
Steering Committee

The Interfaith Alliance of Southwest Florida is led by a Steering Committee consisting of Rev. Tony Fisher, Lisa Freund, Rev. Dr. Sharon Harris-Ewing, and Kristin Muschett.

Tell Congress: Support the Freedom to Vote Act!

People of faith and conscience have for generations worked to advance an inclusive democracy where every person, regardless of background or belief, has the power to exercise their vote. The Freedom to Vote Act is historic legislation to strengthen voter access and prevent efforts to undermine our electoral system.

Take Action

Join Us Each Month

Join us in person or virtually for the next membership meeting of the Interfaith Alliance of Southwest Florida. For more information or questions, please email swflinterfaith@gmail.com

Launching the Interfaith Alliance of Southwest Florida

Naples organizers are hard at work as the Interfaith Alliance of Southwest Florida gathers momentum. Learn more about our organizational structure and goals for the coming year.

‘Is Taxpayer Funding for Private Schools Harming Public Education?’

Interfaith Alliance of Southwest Florida recently cosponsored an event at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Greater Naples alongside Americans United.

Read the article in USA Today.

End Florida Book Bans: Interfaith Alliance of Southwest Florida Quoted in Letter from Florida Representatives

“Schools and libraries are supposed to be spaces where young people are introduced to democratic ideals and the diverse points of view that shape our country. Censoring the stories of people from minority faiths, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and gender identities is antithetical to fulfilling America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights for all.”

Read the press release.

Past Articles:

School vouchers are a threat to our democracy | Guest commentary, Naples Daily News
‘Violence, bigotry, have no place in our hearts or society’ | Quoted in the National Catholic Reporter
‘This just isn’t OK’: SWFL anti-hate group upset with Mann Hall for scheduling Roseanne Barr | Quoted in Naples Daily News
Separation of religion and government a local issue | Guest commentary, Naples Daily News
All of us must condemn anti-Semitism | Guest commentary, Naples Daily News and Ft. Myers News-Press