November 8, 2014 – Party politics and end of life choices

This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, host Rev. Welton Gaddy focuses on the midterm elections – and on the ongoing national debate about the rights of the terminally ill. State of Belief regular Greg Lebel stops by the show to explain why exactly Democrats did so poorly in the recent elections. Cathy Lynn Grossman breaks down how different religious denominations view right-to-die laws following Brittany Maynard’s highly publicized case. And don’t miss Rev. Tim Kutzmark’s personal story of why he and his church support right to die laws, despite many denominations forbidding the practice. Download Icon

A Lopsided Election
Though many expected the Republican Party to win the majority in the Senate, Democrats fared even worse than forecasted in the midterm elections. The GOP gained at least seven seats in the Senate and at least twelve in the House of Representatives, as well as winning a record number of state legislative seats. Greg Lebel, assistant professor of Political Management at George Washington University, returns to analyze why so many people voted red and what this means going forward for both parties, especially with the ongoing expectation of a Hillary Clinton presidential bid.

Death with Dignity or an Assisted Sin?
Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old who suffered from an incurable brain tumor, chose to end her life last weekend — but not before sparking a national debate about so-called right-to-die laws. Maynard and her family moved to Oregon, one of the states that grants a terminally ill patient the right to end his or her life, after she was diagnosed. Welton will speak with Religion News Service Senior National Correspondent Cathy Lynn Grossman, a veteran religion journalist, who published an overview this week about how different denominations view the issue.

One Pastor’s Change of Heart
Rev. Tim Kutzmark
, pastor of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading, Mass., no longer opposes death with dignity laws. We’ll ask why he changed his position to support a person’s right to die. Unitarian Universalism is the only religious denomination to support a terminally ill patient’s right to choose whether to end his or her life. Welton and Tim will also evaluate the most important ethical arguments on the issue, and if any other states are making progress to pass their own right-to-die laws.

Now What?
With a major shift in political power in Washington, Welton will share the ways Interfaith Alliance will continue to make religious liberty a priority in its work with elected leaders and others.