And if you still support him, so are you

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By Rabbi Jack Moline

Ever since I first became aware of the Holocaust close to sixty years ago, I have had a well-cultivated consciousness of the alarming behavior that preceded it and maintained its momentum. It was more than a cult of personality — though it certainly was that, too. The upending of decency in pre-World War II Europe was the empowering of supremacists who saw their leader’s trajectory as their own. …


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By Rabbi Jack Moline, President of Interfaith Alliance

It has been a long time since I saw my grandchildren and longer still since our entire family, living in three cities, were able to sit together around our dining room table and celebrate.

Zoom is consolation, but not substitution, and we have lost Passover, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, our anniversary, July Fourth, Labor Day, the fall Jewish holidays and more. The calculus of everyday life requires a daily decision about just how much isolation we can tolerate, weeks at a time, to even consider a weekend of frantic hugs and laughter. Responsibly, we couldn’t do it. …


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In a few short weeks, the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will herald a new era for our nation. As the transition team prepares for this historic moment, Interfaith Alliance and our partners are working to ensure that the constitutional right of religious freedom — cruelly distorted by the outgoing administration to serve a political and ideological agenda — is restored to its true meaning under their leadership and figures as a central consideration throughout their policy agenda.

Religious freedom is one of several fundamental rights outlined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It includes two complementary protections — freedom of religion and freedom from religion. Freedom of religion protects our ability to follow the religious tradition of our choosing, or no religion at all, without facing discrimination or punishment. Freedom from religion prevents the government from codifying religious beliefs into law, favoring religion over non-religion, or giving special treatment to adherents of one faith and not others. …


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By Rabbi Jack Moline

Yesterday, by a narrow and partisan margin, the Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Not long after, she was sworn in by Justice Clarence Thomas in a ceremony at the White House.

We opposed Justice Coney Barrett’s confirmation — a first for Interfaith Alliance — but we now insist that she is held accountable to act in the best interests of all Americans. To be sure, we will continue to advocate for that very thing.

During the confirmation hearing, committee Democrats raised serious concerns about the relationship between Justice Coney Barrett’s personal beliefs and her record as a legal scholar and judge. …


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By Rabbi Jack Moline

The historic decision of Interfaith Alliance to oppose the nomination and confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as associate justice of the Supreme Court continues to resonate. The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings have ended and, to our disappointment but not surprise, they have recommended Judge Coney Barrett to the highest court in the land in a party-line vote. We continue to hold out hope, however slight, that the Senate will delay a confirmation vote until after the results of the coming election are final.

To my dismay, the carefully nuanced concerns about the role of personal faith in Judge Coney Barrett’s jurisprudence were left unaddressed. Democrats focused almost entirely on the impact her record of statements and rulings might have on health care, perhaps because Republicans effectively promoted a narrative of bias against her religion. At times it seemed that they purposely conflated the constitutional prohibition of a religious test for office — about which no one has raised an objection — with the guarantees of separation of religion and government in the Bill of Rights. …


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Image Credit: Brennan Center for Justice

By Rabbi Jack Moline

Our nation is made stronger through good faith, robust dialogues about our values, systems, and national goals. This includes debate over the nuances of our constitution, without which we would have never achieved critical freedoms for women, immigrants, and communities of color. However, to rebuke the very existence of our most sacred founding principles — the separation of church and state — is unconscionable.

I am talking specifically about James E. “Trey” Trainor III, chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC). His apparent selective reading of the correspondence between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson has brought him to the conclusion that the separation of church and state is a “fallacy,” and its affirmation has led to “getting rid of the Christian moral principles that are the basis of the foundation of the country.” …


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By Rabbi Jack Moline

I wish that as a nation we could take a moment to grieve the loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before diving into the politics, but that is not to be. President Trump and the Republican majority in the Senate have made clear they plan to push forward with confirming a nominee quickly. We believe this is a process that should be led by whoever is elected in November. …


By Maureen O’Leary

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In recent weeks, religion has been featured prominently as both the Democrats and Republicans made their case to voters ahead of the 2020 election. This by itself is not unusual. Religion has played a significant role in American politics from the start. At times, faith has been a force of healing and inclusion. It has motivated diverse communities to pursue social justice, to reach out to those in need and pursue policies that protect the most vulnerable among us. At other times, it has been a tool of manipulation and discrimination — used by political extremists to pit Americans of different backgrounds and beliefs against each other. …


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By Maureen O’Leary

When we lose sight of our democratic principles, we cannot be surprised when things go awry. Particularly during times of national crisis, fear and uncertainty can pressure us to alter our constitutional commitments. However, if we fail to protect our most sacred principles when they are most vulnerable to subversion, we risk the long-term health of our democracy.

On April 2, 2020, the Small Business Administration issued an Interim Final Rule inviting faith-based organizations and houses of worship to apply for financial assistance under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, including aid from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). …


By Rabbi Jack Moline

Friends,

It has been more than a month that we have been watching our world through masks and screens. Like you, I miss the regular interaction with family and friends, and even the encounters with passersby and other commuters and shoppers. I sincerely hope that you are safe and healthy. I am writing to check in on you as best I can and to share with you how we are continuing our work protecting your faith and freedom in these most unusual and distressing times.

When we closed Interfaith Alliance’s physical offices in March, we were determined to continue our work. We suspected — rightly — that the attention commanded by this national crisis would serve to distract the public from a continuing campaign from the Religious Right to compromise the Constitution, especially as it relates to true religious freedom. …

About

Interfaith Alliance

Protecting Faith and Freedom www.interfaithalliance.org

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