CMEP Bulletin: People of Faith Rise Up Together
Rex Tillerson’s State Department Is Scrapping Key Obama-Era Religious Programs [HuffPost]
CMEP’s Executive Director Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon provides insight into why Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent decision to eliminate the Office of Religion and Global Affairs (RGA) raises concerns in American faith communities. “RGA has historically increased the ability of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and other faith leaders to contribute in-depth analysis and information to help shape U.S. policy approaches that benefit from the wisdom of religious actors. In addition, RGA has provided space for marginalized peoples, including women and ethnic minorities, to contribute their voices into government and civil society spaces that have at times been hostile,” writes Rev. Dr. Cannon.
Rex Tillerson, Heeding Objections, Says Anti-Semitism Envoy Post To Be Filled [JTA]
The State Department will fill the post of special envoy for the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism following the urging of lawmakers and Jewish groups, but will do away with or combine dozens of other diplomatic positions. … The special envoy post, which was mandated in the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004, has remained unfilled since Trump’s inauguration in late January, as have many other such posts. The envoy monitors acts of anti-Semitism abroad, documents the cases in State Department reports, and consults with domestic and international nongovernmental organizations.
Almost Half of English People More Suspicious of Muslims as a Result of Recent Terror Attacks, Study Finds [Independent]
“More than four in [ten] people in England are more suspicious of Muslims as a result of recent terrorist attacks, despite the country becoming more tolerant and open overall, according to a major new study. … A quarter of English people also believe that Islam is a dangerous religion that incites violence, with older people more prone to expressing Islamophobic views, according to the Populus poll,” reports Independent.
The Klan, Firsthand [The Jerusalem Post]
Political commentator Micah Halpern writes, “As I got older I deceived myself into thinking that in the United States, we lived in a post antisemitic society. I was wrong. The tragedy of Charlottesville was in the works for several years. Politics of race and fear are part and parcel of the political scene. Fear and hate are the subtext of political campaigns today. The hate we see today is not unique to this past election – it was the foundation of Obama’s first and second campaigns too. The lessons I learned growing up in a world where the Klan and Nazis existed are important moral lessons. I learned the importance of being unequivocal when it comes to hate groups. I learned about their right to speak. And I watched them go underground because the rest of society said that even though they did have the right to speak, what they said was abhorrent and socially unacceptable. Leaders must condemn these groups and so must we the people.”
Jews and Muslims are Natural Allies Against Religious Discrimination [The Hill]
“What does this new [lunar] month that is sacred to Muslims and Jews teach Americans? It teaches us to repent of our misdeeds, to apologize for our failings and admit we were wrong, and to have humility before God. It teaches that Jews and Muslims share a heritage that is precious and we learn that these two minority communities, both “children of Abraham,” must be responsible to one another. Now is the time for the Jewish and Muslim communities to have each other’s backs. To stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism,” writes Daisy Khan, founder and executive director of the Women’s Islamic Initiative for Spirituality & Equality, and Rabbi Burton Visotzky, Appleman Professor of Midrash at the Jewish Theological Seminary.