Since our first moment on air, we’ve tried to elevate voices of inclusivity and moderation – voices that are far too rarely heard, but are absolutely essential. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s radio show and podcast, we’ll hear some of those voices discuss a few of the most contentious political issues of the day – gun violence prevention, LGBT inclusion and access to reproductive rights.

Since the horrific shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, a growing number of people have stepped up to organize in support of gun violence prevention. The level of attention to the need for reform it doesn’t just feel different this time, there are signs that it is different. For the first time in the aftermath of a headline-grabbing mass shooting, gun sales have not surged. A big piece of the reason it seems like change is possible this time are the courageous survivor-student activists. With a number of marches and school walk-outs this month, we wanted to pause at the intersection of activism and faith-inspired advocacy.  The Rev. Jennifer Butler, executive director of Faith in Public Life, will be on State of Belief this week alongside host Rev. Welton C. Gaddy to discuss the work against gun violence led by faith leaders that has been going on for years in a new age of grassroots engagement.

Called “the Scariest Catholic in America” in a recent New York Times column, Father James Martin will join Welton this week to talk about how the church could do a better job in owning up to their mistakes in their treatment of LGBT persons. Father Martin is the author of Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity, which was recently revised and republished in paperback. The controversial book stirred outrage among conservatives. Welton will ask Father Martin why.

Abortion has long been an absolute cornerstone of conservative Christian politics in this country. It’s driven evangelicals to the polls with single-minded fervor. It’s inspired candidates go so far as to imply conception resulting from a rape must be the will of God and has federal officials working to prevent multiple refugee rape victims from accessing abortion service. In a recent column at Religion Dispatches, provocatively titled “Pro-Born: A Former Evangelical on the Single-Issue Politics of White Christians,” an assistant professor of religion and self-described former evangelical takes on the culture war agenda. This week, Welton will talk to the author of that column: Dr. Bradley Onishi.

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