The president and CEO of the Interfaith Alliance says religion can be a positive force in our democracy, but only if there’s equality for all religious traditions. Reverend Paul Brandeis Raushenbush has been the national leader of the Interfaith Alliance for about a year.
“My message to Iowa is…will these policies being put forth benefit everyone from every religious tradition, from every racial background, from every gender and sexuality?” he asks. “Can we really talk about equality in Iowa and what kinds of policies will get us there?”
Raushenbush will speak Thursday afternoon at a “Challenging Christian Nationalism” forum at a Des Moines church. “The country is in a turning point, a crisis point,” he said during a Radio Iowa interview, “and I feel very called to it.”
Two Iowa based evangelical Christian groups have recently hosted forums featuring most of the top Republicans who’re running for president. Raushenbush said the Interfaith Alliance offers a different vision about the role of religion in society.
“No one religion under the establishment clause of the First Amendment…should have pre-eminence. That is the genius of America,” he said. “We are a nation for all religions, not just some and that people will be trying to figure out how we can deal with one another with the utmost respect regardless of background, specifically in regards to religious background.”
Raushenbush, who grew up in Wisconsin, is an ordained American Baptist minister who was the associate dean of religious life at Princeton. He’s also the founder of a religious column on the HuffPost website.