Every single week, these days, we feel like we need to apologize to you for not reacting on our show to the latest outrage, lie or scandal flooding the headlines. But to be of greatest service, we try to remember the value of going deeper and not just dropping everything in reaction to the next 280 characters. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s radio show and podcast, we take a look at the divisions in America today, and get a better understanding of the religion-cloaked rhetoric behind the latest headlines about Russian operatives at the Annual Prayer Breakfast.

This week, news broke that Marina Butina, a woman charged with conspiracy and acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Russia, tried to use the National Prayer Breakfast “to establish a back channel of communication.” The annual breakfast hosted by members of Congress is led by a secretive religious organization known as “The Family.” Few people know more about this mysterious group than Jeff Sharlet, an award-winning author and journalist. Jeff is the author of the New York Times best-selling book, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, and he joins State of Belief host Rev. Welton C. Gaddy to break down this week’s headlines and share what he’s learned from his investigation into this fundamentalist religious cohort within the upper echelons of American politics.

We all know how polarized our country has become in recent years. A new survey from The Atlantic Magazine, in partnership with Public Religion Research Institute, makes it clear just how divided we are. Emma Green, a writer at the Atlantic whose most recent byline is titled “One Country, Two Radically Different Narratives,” will join Welton this week to explore the way in which the two sides of the American electorate are moving away from each other on issues as foundational as democracy itself.

The term “culture wars,” for most, is shorthand for a divisive political campaign disguised as religion that ultimately marginalizes LGBTQ people, disempowers women and pushes a single brand of Christianity. It’s also a phrase most often associated with the modern Evangelical Christian movement – which is why the origin of a counter-campaign is so surprising. A group of prominent Evangelical women is working to “pause the culture wars.” Lisa Sharon Harper will join Welton this week to share the details and what these women hope to accomplish.

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