This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, journalist Sarah Posner fills in for host Welton Gaddy. Sarah discusses faith leaders’ involvement in the Ferguson October protests last weekend with Pastor Mike McBride, and reflects on the end of the Roman Catholic Church’s Synod on the Family with historian Patricia Miller. Anti-Muslim rhetoric has seen a resurgence in recent months, thanks to the advance of ISIS – and to cable news pundits – and Nabil Echchaibi shares his spot-on response with listeners this week. And Sarah’s got some sharp words for the city of Houston and its treatment of religious leaders following their opposition to a transgender-friendly ordinance.
“Moral Monday” in Ferguson
Faith and secular leaders traveled to Ferguson last weekend to join the four days of civil disobedience and resistance called Ferguson October. During the “Moral Monday” protest, more than 50 participants were arrested for disturbing the peace. Sarah invites Pastor Mike McBride from PICO National Network’s Live Free Campaign, one of the leaders arrested, to the show to discuss the value of last weekend’s events and how it demonstrates the overly-aggressive policing in Ferguson and around the nation. Pastor Mike also reflects on how a person’s race changes the way he or she views law enforcement, and how communities can be brought together on this issue.
Synod on the family
The Vatican’s Synod on the Family, formally titled “Pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization,” brought together bishops from around the world to discuss how to apply the Bible’s teachings to contemporary issues like homosexuality. Although initial translations from the Synod suggested an increasingly tolerant view of nontraditional relationships by the Church, the Vatican then released a clarification that suggested otherwise. Sarah speaks with author and historian Patricia Miller about what a Synod is, how often it happens and how the discussions at this Synod will affect Catholics.
He’s a Muslim, and he’s exhausted
University of Colorado – Boulder Professor Nabil Echchaibi discusses the way Islamaphobia affects American Muslims, especially as the threat of ISIS continues to grow. Religion Dispatches Magazine recently published his article titled As a Muslim, I’m Exhausted… about how the overly simple “good Muslim, bad Muslim” paradigm hurts the community and inhibits its members’ ability to be multidimensional human beings. Sarah talks with Nabil about his call to move beyond needing to begin every conversation as a Muslim with apologies and disclaimers.
Faith leaders: You’ve been served
Following the city’s approval of an ordinance to accommodate transgender people, conservatives and some Christian leaders in Houston started to organize an opposition movement. City lawyers proceeded to subpoena everything the pastors, priests and other faith leaders had preached about the issue and LGBT rights. Not only is this blatantly unconstitutional, it is also an incredibly poor move in today’s culture wars. Sarah has her say on this week’s State of Belief.
Here’s what’s coming up this weekend on State of Belief Radio –
The ravages of Ebola in Africa and beyond. With congregations inside the most affected areas, the Baptist World Alliance is working to bring aid and support to victims and their families. We’ll talk with the BWA’s Eron Henry.
Also, rewriting textbooks in Texas – an effort that’s likely to reverberate in classrooms throughout the nation – puts an inaccurate emphasis on the role of Christianity in American history and, predictably, attempts to inject controversy into science materials. Idealogical agenda. We’ll hear from Dr. Emile Lester of the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund.
Meanwhile, October 16th is Spirit Day – an organized effort to stand up to anti-gay bullying in our schools. Ross Murray of GLAAD will tell us why we should all go purple this Thursday.
Also, the anti-gay far-right brings its so-called “pro-family” agenda to the United Nations. Philosopher and writer Austin Dacey has a disturbing report about the “Declaration on the Rights of Children and Their Families.” Dr. Dacey is the author of a Religion Dispatches article on this initiative titled At the UN, Conservative Christian Agenda Cloaked in Human Rights Language.
Meanwhile, a young American Evangelical is helping train fellow Christians to teach acceptance of LGBT persons in their congregations, with a conference next month in Washington, DC. We’ll talk with Reformation Project founder Matthew Vines. Early registration for the Regional Training Conference on November 6-8 closes on October 7th.
Also, is the relationship between faith and culture changing in this country? Some recent surveys suggest it may be. Huffington Post Executive Religion Editor Paul Raushenbush will be here with his opinion, and we’ll catch up on important recent religion news stories you might have missed.