Messaging: Religion

December 1, 2013

Below is recommended language on religion and the GOP’s convenient faith, as well as facts worth knowing, and responses to the attacks you can anticipate when debating this topic.

TOPLINES:

  • We’re all Americans regardless of where we pray.
  • This is America. No one should have to live in fear for their lives just because of their faith.
  • We need leaders who know we’re stronger united — not politicians who undermine the fundamental freedom we all have in America to practice our faiths as we choose.
  • Republican politicians talk about faith, but then say they’re “not concerned about the very poor” and sit idly by when mobs yell “let him die.”
  • That’s what a real war on religion looks like: politicians pandering to the faithful while directly undermining their values and priorities.
  • They’re lavishing corporations and millionaires with tax giveaways while taking from “the least of these”: hungry children, sick young mothers, and homeless veterans.
Republicans’ Convenient Faith:
  • Using religion only for political gain is an abuse of religion.
  • Washington Republicans talk about faith, but they listen to religious leaders and follow religious teachings only when it suits them politically.
  • Washington Republicans would take from “the least of these” — hungry children, sick young mothers, and struggling families — so Wall Street CEOs and Big Oil executives can get more tax giveaways.
  • That may be an ideological agenda that suits the Tea Party and the anti-faith philosophy of Ayn Rand, but it undermines the values and priorities of every major religious group in America.

WORTH KNOWING:


ATTACKS + RESPONSES:

ATTACK: “President Obama is waging a war on religion.”

RESPONSE:

  • The real “war on religion” is the one waged against the most vulnerable and the values of the people who serve them.
  • Here’s what a real “war on religion” looks like: politicians and pundits pandering to the faithful while directly undermining their values and priorities.
  • As President, Obama has lifted up and defended the important role of faith in American public life, provided billions for faith-based organizations to serve those in need, and defended the National Day of Prayer in court.
ATTACK: “Muslims are sympathetic to radical Islam.”

RESPONSE:

  • Actually, American Muslim leaders are among the most strongly outspoken against violent extremism.
  • Dozens of terrorist attacks have been stopped in the U.S. since 9/11 because American Muslims spoke up when they saw suspicious behavior — just like any American would. And it was an American Muslim street vendor who raised the alarm and helped stop the Times Square bomber.
  • We should be targeting terrorists based on evidence, not single out an entire group based on their religion. That’s more effective at keeping us safe than putting the American Muslim community under surveillance.
  • American Muslims are our neighbors, doctors, firefighters, and teachers — and they include members of our military who’ve died defending our freedom. We shouldn’t allow politicians to use religion to drive a wedge between us.
ATTACK: “Muslims were responsible for the 9/11 attacks — that’s why Islamophobia exists.”

RESPONSE:

  • American Muslims are our neighbors, doctors, firefighters, and teachers — and they include members of our military who’ve died defending our freedom and the NYC firefighters who risked their lives on 9/11 pulling their fellow Americans from smoke-filled stairwells.
  • Our top military commanders like Gen. Petraeus and law enforcement agree — if we see American Muslims as our enemies, we feed right into the terrorists’ propaganda.
  • Instead, we should be targeting terrorists based on evidence, not single out an entire group based on their religion. That’s more effective at keeping us safe than putting the American Muslim community under surveillance.
  • Using religion to drive a wedge between people is an abuse of religion and threatens what makes our country great.
CONCERN: “The Muslim faith is not respectful of the rights of women.”

RESPONSE:

  • In America, Muslim women have the same freedoms as any other woman in America. For example, they choose whether or not to wear a headscarf as a symbol of religious devotion.
  • It’s great that in America, everyone has the right to practice their religion as they choose.
Category: Religion