This week, to mark Independence Day on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s radio show and podcast, we’ll celebrate the origins of religious freedom in this country and the need to protect this first freedom for all Americans by revisiting some of our favorite – and most patriotic – interviews.
In 2007, State of Belief host Rev. Welton C. Gaddy spoke with Jon Meacham, who had just published the seminal book American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation. Revisiting the conversation this week, you’ll hear Welton and Jon discuss the truth about religion in American public life and how the founders struck a balance between public and private religion.
We’ll continue our visit with the founders and the beginnings of religious liberty in the United States with words from Steve Waldman, co-founder and former editor-in-chief of Beliefnet. Steve is also the author of the 2008 book Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America.
You’ll also hear the late Rev. Forrest Church, who was on the show in 2008 to discuss his book So Help Me God: The Founding Fathers and the First Great Battle Over Church and State.
Rewinding to 2010, we’ll revisit a conversation with former New York Times columnist and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Anthony Lewis, who had just released Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment. We’ll also listen again to reflections from Michael Kazin, professor of history at Georgetown University, on the different meanings of patriotism for Americans.
And we’ll end this week’s show with one of our absolute favorite Independence Day interviews. In 2009, Welton was joined by television producer Norman Lear to talk about his Declaration of Independence Road Trip, an annual national tour dating back to 2001 of an original reproduction of the document owned by Lear and his wife. Norman Lear is also the founder of People for The American Way and Declare Yourself, an effort to get young people to vote.