This weekend on State of Belief, Welton catches us up on some of the hot-button issues of the day. We’ll hear from Jen Smyers of Church World Service about the latest work from the faith community to pass immigration reform, and author Jeff Sharlet rejoins us to discuss how some American Evangelicals have affected Vladimir Putin’s anti-LGBT Law. Welton will reflect on the President’s words on religious freedom at the National Prayer Breakfast and, just in time for Valentines Day, editor Nura Maznavi discusses her new book on Muslim men, love and sex. Download Icon

Unfreezing Washington: The Faith Community and Immigration Reform
Washington might have been hit with an onslaught of freezing rain this week, but is there any hope that one of the most contentious political issues can become unstuck in Congress? Welton will sit down with Jen Smyers, associate director for immigration and refugee policy at Church World Service, to discuss the prospects for immigration reform at this critical juncture. Tune in to hear her thoughts on how the faith community, the stories of refugees, and some innovative new approaches can help get this issue moving.

The Iron Closet: Jeff Sharlet on the Dangers Facing Russia’s LGBT Community
While we celebrate Valentine’s Day this week, it’s important not to forget the terrible price far too many people are forced to pay because of whom they love. Jeff Sharlet is back on our program this week to discuss his recent article in GQ magainze, Inside the Iron Closet: What It’s Like To Be Gay In Putin’s Russia. Jeff and Welton will explore tragedies facing Russia’s LGBT community and how some American Evangelicals are implicated in promulgating this deadly atmosphere of hate.

Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex, and Intimacy
On the happier side of Valentine’s day, Welton brings back Nura Maznavi, who first made waves with the book Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women and now is back with the other half of the story. Listen as she explains the journey through the exciting, and perhaps surprising, world of sex  and intimacy in their new book, Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex, and Intimacy.

Rethinking Religious Freedom, Over Breakfast
Welton has a few thoughts on the recent National Prayer Breakfast. With the deluge of claims that President Obama disregards religious freedom that have followed the President’s support of access to contraception and LGBT rights, Welton found the National Prayer Breakfast a remarkable moment when the President was able to articulate a strong progressive vision of religious freedom. Welton makes a call for a renewed push for progressive people of faith to join in and strengthen the debate on this first freedom in America.

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