June 24, 2017 – Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, where have the Southern Baptists gone, Trump’s apocalyptic appeal

This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, our host, Rev. Welton Gaddy will examine religious and cultural implications of the Wonder Woman film, the shrinking membership of the Southern Baptist Convention and the disturbing parallels between the president’s rhetoric – and that of Americans who truly believe the end is near.

Recent weeks have brought a resurgence of the superhero movie: Wonder Woman. The film, which stars Israeli-born actor Gal Gadot, set a new opening weekend record for a film with a female director, Patty Jenkins.  Yet the movie is facing controversy in Lebanon, because of Gadot’s Israeli roots. To reflect on this, Host Rev. Gaddy revisits an interview he conducted with Simcha Weinstein, the “comic book rabbi” and author of the book Up, Up and Oy Vey.

Reports earlier this month revealed an unexpected drop in the membership of the politically powerful Southern Baptist Convention. Contrary to conventional wisdom which has claimed that it’s only been progressive faith traditions that have been shrinking, the dogmatic and exclusionary denomination has lost some one million members in the past decade. To reflect on this phenomenon Rev. Gaddy interviews Dr. Diana Butler Bass, progressive theologian who has long warned of the culture wars backfiring on the political Religious Right.

Here at the intersection of religion, government and politics, we’ve spent a good bit of time pondering the unlikely alliance of Donald Trump and conservative Christians. More than one knowledgeable guest has posited that evangelicals had reached a craving for political power that overcame any religious convictions. While that may be true for many, it still felt like only a partial explanation. Welton speaks with Dr. Greg Carey, author of several books on Apocalyptic Christianitym who recently wrote a Huffington Post article titled How Apocalypticism Strengthens the Evangelical Affinity For Trumpism.