WASHINGTON (JTA) — Several Jewish groups joined an interfaith coalition calling on presidential candidates to refrain from using religion as a political wedge issue.
Fifteen religious organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee and the Union for Reform Judaism, issued an Interfaith Statement of Principles advising the candidates to abide by principles of religious liberty and avoid religious discord as they campaign for the November race.
The principles included calls for candidates to be responsive to constituents of all religions, conduct campaigns without appeals for support based on religion, reject messages that reflect religious prejudice and avoid actions that encourage religious division in the electorate.
“This statement of principles reaffirms our commitment to freedom of religion as enshrined in the Constitution, and our message to all candidates for public office is to set a proper tone where faith may be openly discussed, but avoid overt appeals for support on the basis of religion, or the denigration of another person’s views on the basis of religion,” said Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s national director, in a statement.
"Candidates should reject appeals to voters that reflect religious prejudice, bias or stereotyping," he said, "and avoid statements intended to encourage divisions along religious lines.”
Other signatories to the statement included the Interfaith Alliance, the Islamic Society of North America and the National Council of Churches USA, as well as other Hindu, Muslim, Protestant and Sikh groups.