On this episode of State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, Rev. Welton Gaddy will discuss the state of three ongoing culture war issues in our country – climate change, interfaith dialogue and the struggle for LGBT equality. First, we will be joined by Claire Markham of the Center for American Progress, who will talk about the faith community’s response to last week’s conference on climate change in Paris. Then, we will hear from the Rev. Dr. Eric Elnes, speaking about his Omaha congregation joining the Trifaith Initiative. Finally, we will return to a segment aired last May with the Rev. Ken Wilson, who reflected on various ways Evangelical communities have approached LGBT individuals – and the “third way” he proposes.

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Post-Paris Climate Change Conference, Faith Leaders Look for Next Steps
Last week, leaders from around the world came together at the United Nations Climate Change conference in Paris to discuss the danger that rising temperatures and other effects of climate change have on us all. This week, Claire Markham, Outreach Manager for Faith and Progressive Policy at the Center for American Progress, joins State of Belief to talk about the impact of the conference on America’s climate policy and what faith-driven climate activists can do with the growing momentum for change.

Interfaith Dialogue and the “Dark Wood”
As advocates for interfaith dialogue and outreach, we’re excited to welcome Rev. Dr. Eric Elnes, pastor of Countryside Commnity Church in Omaha, Nebraska and a member of the Trifaith Initiative – a project bringing together Christian, Muslim and Jewish congregations in a tangible expression of mutual respect and cooperation – to the program. Rev. Elnes is the author of the recently-published Gifts of the Dark Wood: Seven Blessings for Soulful Skeptics (and Other Wanderers). He’ll describe some of the challenges to conventional faith thinking he offers up in his writings and in his work with the Trifaith Initiative.

From the Archives: LGBT Americans and the Evangelical Culture War
Finally, we’ll continue our reflection on the ten years of State of Belief with another one of our favorite interviews from our archives. In May 2014, Welton sat down with Rev. Ken Wilson, founding pastor of the Vineyard Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to discuss his book, A Letter to My Congregation: An Evangelical Pastor’s Path to Embracing People Who are Gay, Lesbian and Transgender in the Company of Jesus. The interview, conducted before the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality, is an eye-opening look into the ways sexual orientation and identity were – and continue to be – subject to culture war rhetoric, particularly at the hand of the Christian far right.

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