I hope this message finds you healthy and comfortable. Our very first concern here at Interfaith Alliance is for the well-being of all Americans, most especially for those in high-risk cohorts for the COVID-19 virus.
Out of caution and concern for ourselves and others, beginning Monday, March 16, our entire staff will work remotely. The CDC recommends social distancing, so we will continue our work protecting religious freedom remotely for now. We will keep our usual hours but without the convenience of proximity to one another. Considering these changes, email is the best way to reach us. We will be monitoring our office phones and mail remotely. This may result in minimal delays in our operations, but please be in touch in the meantime.
These are small inconveniences for us to endure as part of a global effort to contain this virus. I am very aware that some of you will find yourselves socially distanced from the people and places that sustain you. Even if technology keeps you in touch with loved ones and faith gatherings, it is not the same as human proximity. I urge you to explore how to connect with your communities in ways that are most comfortable for you.
Community is built through the causes we believe in, like the work of Interfaith Alliance. Here are just a few ways to stay engaged in the weeks ahead:
- Reject xenophobic responses to the current situation. Some of the rhetoric surrounding this virus is laced with all-too-familiar tropes reflecting prejudice and xenophobia. We have reports of Asian-American communities fending off hateful accusations and, in some instances, outright assaults. The casual labeling of the virus as “foreign” gives the impression that Americans can repel it at our borders. Please speak out against xenophobia and division.
- Care for those especially at risk. Your faith or philosophy undoubtedly includes a mandate to comfort the sick and reach out to the isolated. Now is the very best time to be intentional in your practice. Call your family, friends and neighbors. Check on your people.
- Support local businesses. The financial news is alarming, to be sure. Less publicized is the impact on small businesses in your community. Please look for ways your needs can be met by their goods and services.
- Express solidarity on the anniversary of the Christchurch, NZ attack. Today marks the anniversary of the heinous attack on two mosques in New Zealand. Expressing your words of comfort and support to the Muslim community — particularly in these times of confusion and misinformation — will deepen compassion among us.
- The House delayed a vote on the No Ban Act to take up emergency COVID-19 response legislation. Congress will be in recess, but their offices will continue to accept communications from constituents. Please consider sending a supportive note to your legislators on behalf of the NO BAN Act.
I have my own regimen of prayer and healing, as you may also. My devotions focus on those in need and on those dedicated to the public health and science that will see us through this moment. And also, on you. As our President Emeritus, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy says at the end of each episode of State of Belief, you all take care of each other.
Rabbi Jack Moline
President, Interfaith Alliance