For Immediate Release:
June 26, 2015
For The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho, contact:
Judy Cross, President, Board of Directors
For the Interfaith Alliance National Office, contact:
Benny Witkovsky, West End Strategy Team
; (o) 202-776-7700, (c) 202-765-4290
Interfaith Alliance Celebrates Supreme Court Ruling for Marriage Equality, Religious Freedom
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Interfaith Alliance celebrates today’s Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges establishing marriage equality. The organization has long argued that bans on same-sex marriage violate both the constitution’s promise of equality and of religious freedom. Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance, hailed the decision clearing the way for marriage equality nationwide.
“Today the Supreme Court has said unequivocally what people of faith across the country have known for years: that there is no legitimate, secular reason to deny the right to marry to same-sex couples. This is a victory for marriage; this is a victory for families and children; this a victory for the love that is preached by the prophets and spiritual leaders of every faith tradition. Today’s decision is, without question, one of the most important civil rights decisions in a generation.”
Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, in his statement today, declared the Supreme Court’s ruling inconsistent with the “values, character, and morals” of Idahoans, further defending an unconstitutional law passed when less than 20% of the population of Idaho voted to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Judy Cross, President of The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho: “Idaho’s elected officials throwing tax-payer money away fighting against human rights doesn’t make discrimination any more constitutional. Today, the Supreme Court defended the U.S. Constitution, as well as the dignity of LGBT Americans, and the families that love them.”
Rabbi Jack Moline went on to say, “The long struggle for marriage equality has proven to us what we risk when our laws are governed by religious doctrine alone. We have denigrated loving couples, we have jeopardized the rights of parents and children, and we have threatened to roll back our Constitution’s assurance of religious freedom. Today’s decision is a first step toward atoning for those wrongs. There is no doubt that some voices – religious and secular – will seek to take back the gains we made today. They have already pushed faulty religious freedom legislation, opposed non-discrimination measures and sought to make life harder for loving families. We will not rest until each of these measures is defeated and full equality is the law of the land.”
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.
Now in its 16th year, The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho, its faith leaders, congregants, and people of conscience have joined together to protect and promote the positive and healing role of faith, as well as the boundaries between faith and individual freedom. It is our mission to support efforts to protect liberty and democracy, while resisting efforts by religious extremists to impose their views and beliefs on to others.
Visit www.tiaidaho.org and like us on Facebook
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BOISE, IDAHO JUNE 5, 2015
The 2015 legislative session in Idaho saw a Hindu cleric and folks of the Islamic faith singled out and disrespected by some elected officials and party staff members. While The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho recognizes the undeniable need to address concerns, fears, or suspicion, the solution going forward is an inclusive dialogue among faith practitioners and concerned citizens, not the exclusive and ideological sermons of a Washington pastor with political ambitions.
Mainstream Christians here in Idaho have struggled with being placed in the same category as the Aryan Nations and Reverend Richard Butler. It is no different for members of the Islamic faith when they’re painted with the same brush as extremists like ISIS. Generalizing about faith groups based on their fanatical fundamentalist fringe does not solve a problem -- it creates one.
We must distinguish between violent terrorists engaging in criminal activity who call themselves Muslim, and mainstream Muslims, if we are to engage in an honest and open dialogue. We're eager to engage with communities in this discussion, and others, just as our former Executive Director, Pam Baldwin did, in towns and rural counties across the Gem State.
When The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho unexpectedly lost its Executive Director Pam Baldwin in October of 2013, Idaho lost one of her brightest stars. Dedicated to transforming Idaho, our country, and our world into a more loving, tolerant, and fair place, Pam was a passionate advocate for social justice, human rights, and our environment. She worked tirelessly on behalf of not only religious minorities, but of farm workers, people experiencing homelessness, the LGBT community, refugees, and new Americans, among others who are targets of racism, prejudice, and bigotry. Her legacy lives on, and on Saturday, June 6th, we acknowledge the bravery and dedication of some of Idaho's most passionate promoters of freedom at our second annual Pam Baldwin Memorial Workshop & Banquet.
Nominees for the Pam Baldwin Community Service Award are:
Kristi Brower, Idaho Falls
Bjorn Handeen, Coeur d’Alene
Debbie Mallis, Boise
Fahim Rahim, MD, FASN, Pocatello
Juli Stratton, Post Falls
Nominees for the Pam Baldwin Youth Activist Award are:
Rylee Driscoll, Boise
John Fritz, Boise
Rachel Kaufman, Boise
Alex Knox, Coeur d’Alene
D.W. Trantham, Boise
Awards will be presented Saturday, June 6th, at the second annual Pam Baldwin Memorial Workshop & Banquet held at the Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel Social Hall next door to the synagogue in Boise.
The public is invited to our two events:
a free workshop from 3 - 5pm featuring well-known human rights advocate Donna Red Wing, the Executive Director of OneIowa, the Hawkeye State’s leading LGBT rights advocacy group;
Registration at http://tiaidaho.org/
and the banquet, at 6:30pm, featuring a keynote speech from Donna Red Wing, as well as the awards ceremony, and a showing of ADD THE WORDS – A DOCUMENTARY FILM at 9pm.
Ticket information and registration for that event can be found at tinyurl.com/pambaldwin2015.
Now in its 16th year, The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho, its faith leaders, congregants, and people of conscience – among them Agnostics, Atheists, Buddhists, Community of Christ members, Freethinkers, Hindus, Humanists, Jewish, Latter-Day Saints, Lutherans, Mennonites, Methodists, Metropolitan Community Church members, Muslims, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, Unitarian Universalists, and United Church of Christ members, and other – have joined together to protect and promote the positive and healing role of faith, as well as the boundaries between faith and individual freedom. It is our mission to support efforts to protect liberty and our democracy, while resisting efforts by religious extremists to impose their views on to others.
President Judy Cross
WEB / EMAIL
280 N 8TH ST, SUITE 130, BOISE, ID 83702
PO BOX 15893, BOISE, ID 83715-5893
You are invited to the
2nd Annual Pam Baldwin Memorial Banquet
featuring keynote speaker Donna Red Wing
June 6th at Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel Social Hall
11 N Latah St, Boise, ID 83706
Banquet begins at 6:30pm.
Keynote Address: “A Lesson From Pam”
P U R C H A S E T I C K E T S
for the (Kosher!) Banquet, Keynote & Film @
Free Workshop from 3-5pm
Enhancing Ability to Engage Others for Action:
A Conversation with Donna Red Wing
Reserve your space for the Workshop online here!
ADD THE WORDS: A DOCUMENTARY FILM at 9pm.
Donna Red Wing:
Executive Director of One Iowa, an LGBT rights advocacy group in Iowa / Chief of Staff for Interfaith Alliance, Washington, D.C. / Obama’s Kitchen Cabinet on LGBT concerns / Grassroots Leadership, national organization to end abuses of justice and public trust / First recipient of Walter Cronkite Award for Faith & Freedom!
Dear Interfaith Ally,
You don't have to be a millionaire to be a philanthropist. You don't have to be wealthy to make Idaho better. Now more than ever, Idaho's wealth lies not in her bank account, but in the generosity of her people. Small donations of money, time, talents, and volunteerism are essential!!
Thursday only, your tax-deductible donations qualify us for even LARGER awards, given every hour to random organizations based on the number of unique donors within that hour. Please spread the word: your kindness THURSDAY provides the resources to pound the pavement, build the bridges, and sponsor timely events WHEN and WHERE they're needed.
Integrity matters, and diligent stewardship of our financial and other resources is paramount to us. As grant sources have dried up since the recession, we continue to rely heavily on events like Idaho Gives and our strong network of members and member organizations to build a commanding, progressive voice in the discussions important to you! Our diverse network of strategic allies allows us to respond rapidly with TRUE IDAHO VALUES, free from partisan agendas that create gridlock and stall progress -- and make no mistake, we've made considerable progress!
In the last year, The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho and our partner organizations:
* Persuaded Senate State Affairs Committee to amend and improve upon harmful aspects of the Parental Rights law. [Story 1] [Story 2]
* Sponsored an Alternatives to Violence Project Conference at the Idaho Correctional Institution.
In a state as vast and independent as Idaho, building and nurturing our statewide relationships require considerable investments of time. The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho presently has no paid staff and an all-volunteer board. The smallest contributions from passionate individuals like yourself make the largest impacts!
You're not just giving money; you're giving the resources and opportunities to reclaim a positive narrative, and to proudly stand for your progressive values. Morals, faith, and conscience are inextricably linked; simply "separating church and state" will not prevent the values and agendas espoused in the former from influencing the policies of the latter. These issues require constructive conversations and dynamic solutions. We must not let well-funded, well-connected extremists steal the conversation -- and the headlines. People united are still LOUDER than money, and reason is still STRONGER than fear. But building success and spreading that message relies on your active engagement!
Join us in constructive conversations! Get involved! Please donate what you can -- money, time, talent, or volunteerism. Let's make a positive difference in the issues that impact you, your family, and communities all across the Gem State! And together, let's make Idaho a better place to live, worship, work, and play!
DONATE NOW AT: www.idahogives.razoo.com/story/Tiaidaho
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed (middle) with Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter (left) and Lt. Gov. Brad Little (right) just before opening the Idaho Senate with its first Hindu prayer on March 3rd.
Idaho Governor C. L. "Butch" Otter has issued a proclamation declaring April 1st "Rajan Zed day," in honor of the Hindu statesman who delivered the first ever Hindu invocation in the Idaho State Senate, on March 3rd of this year.
The event -- naturally -- wasn't without controversy, as three Idaho Senators, Steve Vick (R-Dalton Gardens), Sheryl Nuxoll (R-Cottonwood), and Lori Den Hartog (R-Meridian) embarrassed Idaho by skipping the event out of protest., as reported by Betsy Russell of the Spokesman-Review. A fourth, Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, didn't enter the chamber as a courtesy after arriving late, but shared his disappointment that a Christian prayer wasn't also offered.
Vick had earlier foreshadowed his absence, stating that he planned to walk out to object to a Hindu prayer opening the day's session. He said he was worried that it -- tolerance? -- would “send a message we’re not happy with the way America is,” contrasting with the other 32 state Senators, who were real troopers through the entire invocation.
Nuxoll objected because "the United States is a Christian nation," and clarified her position, alleging that "Hindu is a false faith with false gods," while Den Hartog felt uncomfortable personally taking part in a prayer of a religion different from her own.
The proclamation, issued in Lenore, Idaho says: "…on March 3, 2015 the historical first Hindu invocation in the Idaho State Senate was read by Rajan Zed, President of the Universal Society of Hinduism…"
It further states: "…Zed's initiatives to bring various religious communities together throughout the world so that they can live in peace and mutual trust and enrich themselves through dialog should be honored…"
The proclamation also mentions the importance of honoring "...Zed's leadership role in attempting to help the helpless…"
It goes on to say: "…Zed works tirelessly to uplift about 15 million Roma (Gypsies) people of Europe who live in apartheid conditions by frequently speaking about their maltreatment, issues and concerns; and urging other religious leaders to do the same…"
Congratulations, Rajan Zed!