May 20, 2017 – Torch-bearing racists on the march

Harking back to a dark chapter in American history, a menacing, torch-bearing racist mob marched on a Southern city last weekend. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s radio show and podcast, we’ll speak with that city’s mayor.

Host Rev. Welton Gaddy will be joined by Michael Signer, mayor of Charlottesville, VA. Home to the University of Virginia and just over 100 miles from the nation’s capital, Charlottesville is typically a progressive bastion. That changed last Saturday when white nationalist leader Richard Spencer, of “hail Trump” infamy, and his racist supporters came to town to protest the city’s plans to remove a Confederate monument.

When Mayor Signer, who is Jewish, condemned the protest, he found himself on the receiving end of a torrent of anti-Semitic attacks. You won’t want to miss his first-person account of this disturbing episode – as well as his inspiring message of hope.

The Chautauqua Institution, founded in 1874 in upstate New York, began with a focus on – and continues to offer – religion-themed programming. We were thrilled to learn this week that retired Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson has accepted the position of Senior Pastor and Chair of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith in Society at Chautauqua. Welton will speak with Bishop Gene, who is a hero to many for his lifetime of work on faithful inclusivity, about his plans in his new position.

Finally, our nation’s less-than-diplomatic President has set off on his first foreign trip. With stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican, what could possibly go wrong? We’ll get thoughts from Religion News Service Editor-in-Chief Jerome Socolovsky.