Jewish, Muslim, Protestant and Catholic leaders spoke out Oct. 23 against anti-Muslim bigotry, calling on public officials to sign a pledge to support religious freedom and condemn bigotry and hate.
Called “Beyond Tolerance: A Call to Religious Freedom, Hopeful Action,” the event was held at the Washington National Cathedral, which sponsored it along with the interfaith Shoulder-to-Shoulder Campaign.
The impetus for the pledge arose from “the unfortunate rhetoric” that has been uttered by some presidential candidates, said Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance.
Rabbi David Saperstein, ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, delivered the keynote speech. “Religious freedom is such a deep and integral part of both the history of America from its very origins and of our national character,” he said.
Rabbi Rachel Gartner, Jewish chaplaincy director at Georgetown University, also spoke. Washington Hebrew Congregation Cantor Mikhail Manevich chanted Hineh Ma Tov, a song from Psalm 133 which means “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”
Also addressing the crowd of 250 people were Bishop Mariann Budde, an Episcopal bishop, and Imam Talib Shareef of The Nation’s Mosque.
The pledge that politicians are asked to sign reads, “I pledge and commit to the American people that I will uphold and defend the freedom of conscience and religion of all individuals by rejecting and speaking out, without reservation, against bigotry, discrimination, harassment and violence based on religion or belief.”