February 23, 2013

This weekend, tune in to State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, to find out why a seemingly kind-hearted effort to help houses of worship after disasters is actually very dangerous; to learn what role people of faith have in the environmental movement and in the call for action on global climate change; and to hear one group’s call for the separation of the U.S. military and the Boy Scouts. Also, this week, a special word from Welton in response to a listener email.

Federal Money, Houses of Worship and Disaster Relief
This past week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a landmark bill allowing federally funded disaster relief for houses of worship. Some of the church-state separation groups that vehemently opposed this erosion of the First Amendment in past disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, are on board this time around, making it a very popular, but still a very bad, idea. Interfaith Alliance’s own Arielle Gingold joins Welton on State of Belief this week to explain why something so seemingly kind-hearted is so dangerous. Click here for the extended interview video and transcript.

“Green Faith”
Last weekend, tens of thousands of Americans rallied at the Washington Monument and at other locations around the country, calling for action on global climate change. Faith-based coalitions also took part in the rallies, including “Green Faith,” which represents “interfaith partners for the environment.” The organization’s executive director, Rev. Fletcher Harper, joins Welton on State of Belief this week to look at the role people of faith play in the environmental movement, and in the call for action on global climate change.

The Separation of the U.S. Military and Boy Scouts
Several weeks ago, Boy Scouts of America’s leadership made headlines when its members announced that they were considering changes to the organization’s anti-gay policies. However, when the time came to make any changes, the nation’s largest youth organization instead gave in to pressure and delayed a decision until its National Annual Meeting in May. Former Army Captain Jason Torpy, president of the board of Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, has been following the developments around the Boy Scouts’ anti-gay policies – and its ongoing exclusions of atheists and agnostics. He joins Welton this week to discuss how the U.S. military supports the Boy Scouts, a private organization – and why ongoing discrimination means this support needs to end.

A Word from Welton in Response to a Listener
After receiving a listener email reacting strongly to last week’s interview with David Blankenhorn, we tried to respond, but the return email address turned out to be unreachable. So, this week on State of Belief, Welton takes a moment to respond to some of the questions raised regarding building alliances with people of diverse views.