July 1, 2017 – Mixing church and state

The Supreme Court announced a major religious freedom ruling this past week that could undermine Church-State separation for decades to come. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s radio show and podcast, we’ll speak with a law professor who will trace the origins and implications of the ruling in Trinity Lutheran v. Comer.

Host Rev. Welton Gaddy will be joined by Garrett Epps, who teaches constitutional law and creative writing at the University of Baltimore. His recent piece for The Atlantic is entitled, “A Major Church-State Ruling That Shouldn’t Have Happened.” Prof. Epps will explain how a case ostensibly about resurfacing a playground with recycled tires became a stalking horse for the Religious Right’s agenda. As we’ll hear, the Supreme Court’s decision threatens to undermine Establishment Clause and state restrictions preventing taxpayer dollars from subsidizing religious activities.

Last week, millions of Americans took to the streets – and legislators’ offices – to object to the Senate plan to gut the Affordable Care Act, which would defund Planned Parenthood, slash Medicaid and pay off the richest among us. Numerous faith leaders were among them, and some were even arrested – including Kayla Parker, pastor of the Unitarian Universalist congregation in Charleston, WV. We’ll hear her inspiring story.

Followers of the Sikh faith have been the targets of over 300 reported hate crimes since 9/11. At the same time, a majority of Americans confess they know nothing at all about Sikhs and have never interacted with one. We’ll hear about an important new effort to introduce Americans to their Sikh neighbors from Gurwin Singh Ahuja, head of the National Sikh Campaign.