In the past four days, many Gem State residents posed questions to us regarding calls and voicemail messages they received over the weekend:
What can I do about these nasty robocalls I received from a white supremacist? How should I respond?
What is a presidential candidate from a minor, white nationalist party in South Carolina doing calling me here in Idaho?
Didn't the white supremacy movement in Idaho die with Richard Butler and the bulldozing of the Aryan Nations compound in Hayden Lake?
The answer to that last question is becoming increasingly clear: no, white supremacy's not dead, and like an invasive weed, white supremacy today -- just as in years past -- has its roots OUTSIDE of our state.
Between a pastor from Spokane bombarding our communities with his hateful anti-Muslim, anti-refugee rhetoric, and "hundreds of thousands" of anti-Semitic, anti-Hispanic robocalls coming from bases in California and South Carolina lamenting America's increasing willingness to embrace multiculturalism, and slamming a recent opinion piece in the Idaho Statesman by Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, the picture is becoming increasingly clear.
First, outside hate groups feel that Idaho is a place that can be exploited, and its residents manipulated, by a cynical agenda of fear and disinformation. Second, this coordinated campaign is no accident. The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho has been watching these activities with great trepidation, and consulting with trusted leaders who have been on the front lines of battling this menace for decades.
Does drawing attention to hateful speech simply provide its purveyors with free publicity, inadvertently promoting it? Or does allowing hate to grow silently, festering in the dark like a toxic fungus, represent the greater threat? These are the questions our board members have posed. And while there are no easy answers or decisions, this latest provocative move by the American Freedom Party has spread hate-filled messages all across Idaho, leaving thousands of Idahoans feeling angry and violated, not because of the method, as the party chairman stated, but because of its message. And all indications are that it's only the beginning of a larger strategy, not the culmination of one.
Of course, these challenges are nothing new here! White supremacy ideology and Christian Identity beliefs have threatened Idaho and her reputation in the past. If you've followed our work for long, you know we have a successful track record of demonstrating, educating, and effectively organizing community stakeholders to confront great challenges to our communities, our freedom, and our democracy.
We're approaching this thoughtfully, and with careful consideration, drawing on research and a wealth of past experience here in Idaho and throughout the Pacific Northwest. When we act, it will be swiftly and deliberately.
In the meantime, we are relying on and leveraging the experience and power of supporters like YOU.
You are our single greatest resource. Idaho can no longer afford silence or inaction. Whether you can provide donations of time, talents, expertise, financial support, or if you're simply passionate about the rights and dignity we're ALL due -- as Americans and as members of the human race -- then you're a valued member of The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho.
Thank you for your generous support. Thank you for being a partner with us. Our success, and Idaho's success, is a reflection of your kind and valuable contributions.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. - Edmund Burke
Saying yes to human rights is the best way to say no to prejudice and bigotry. - Bill Wassmuth
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!