As freezing temperatures and snow blanket a large part of the country, the relationship between two communities often portrayed as at odds is thawing. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s radio show and podcast, we’ll learn about an effort to build bridges between evangelical Christians and Muslims and get the download on a new app to build digital communities for progressive people of faith.

This week in Washington, D.C. hundreds of faith leaders, including a large number of evangelical Christians, gathered for a multifaith gathering called the Alliance of Virtue for the Common Good. The conference, which included remarks from the new U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, culminated in the affirmation of the Washington Declaration – a commitment to combat anti-Muslim bigotry here in the United States and violence against religious minorities around the world. The Rev. Micah Fries, a Baptist pastor from Tennessee who participated in the conference, will join host Rev. Welton Gaddy this week to what surprised him and how others, especially evangelical Christians, can build bridges to the Muslim community.

From the radio to television to the internet, the political religious right has been extremely effective at harnessing technology to connect and to spread its message. Now an ambitious new attempt to build a progressive faith community launched in the form of an app. Crystal Cheatham, creator of “Our Bible,” will join Welton this week to talk about the “meditation app for LGBTQ Christians, their friends and their allies.”

What happens when a religious family truly believes that prayer has the power to heal, but adheres to that belief even when a child is sick? It’s a tricky issue, but Idaho legislators have introduced new common-sense legislation that tries to balance religious liberty with the protection of children, who have no vote in the matter and may be too young to explain their symptoms. Interfaith Alliance of Idaho Board President Judy Cross is on State of Belief this week to provide a briefing on the bill.

Finally, a word from Welton. This week, Welton will challenge all of us to the difficult task of tuning in every now and then to what’s being said by those with whom we disagree. Because of the level of influence on the current policy agenda, staying comfortably ignorant of the influential voices on the “other side” is too great a risk for any one of us to take.

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