FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 3, 2018
Reform Jewish Movement Expresses Concern Over New White House Faith-Based Initiative
WASHINGTON – In response to an executive order establishing a new White House faith-based initiative today, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the wider Reform Movement:
“We have grave concerns about the new order’s potential impacts on the separation of church and state and civil rights. The federal government and the religious community play critical and complementary roles in supporting our country’s most vulnerable people. However, any White House faith-based initiative must uphold and enhance constitutional protections for the separation of church and state and protect the rights of all people, regardless of their faith.
“We have already seen efforts by this administration to undercut anti-discrimination laws by distorting carefully-crafted religious exemptions and other religious freedom protections. We are concerned that this new office will be part of this trend, threatening areas ranging from contraceptive care to employment non-discrimination law.
“The federal government must uphold rights and protections for all people. Religious freedom need not conflict with other essential rights.”
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.