In 2018

“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” It may be a cliché, but that doesn’t make understanding history any less important. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s radio show and podcast, we will look back at action and inaction from World War II to the so-called “War on Terror” and the impact those choices had on today.

By now, the United States’ use of torture in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks – often euphemistically referred to as “enhanced interrogation techniques” – is well documented, but perhaps not put to rest. And torture is making headlines once again with the nomination of Gina Haspel to be CIA director. Haspel was instrumental in the Bush administration’s torture program, including running a black site in Thailand, and participated in the destruction of evidence of that program. The Rev. Ron Stief, executive director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, will join State of Belief host Rev. Welton C. Gaddy this week for a sober look at why Haspel’s nomination is so deeply troubling and what it could mean for us if she’s confirmed.

Since the 2016 election, evangelicals voters have been a topic of focus for political observers of all stripes. The religious right’s power as a voting bloc helped propel Donald Trump to the presidency and it continues to make up a core base of support for Republican elected officials nationwide. But, as a new scholarly report entitled Are the Politics of the Christian Right Linked to State Rates of the Nonreligious? The Importance of Salient Controversy finds, the potency of evangelicals and other faith communities as a political force has repelled many Americans, especially young people, from organized religion altogether. Dr. Paul Djupe, associate professor of political science at Denison University in Granville, Ohio and co-author of the report, will join Welton on State of Belief this week to talk about this trend and what it means for faith and politics in America.

Anti-Semitic rhetoric and hate crimes targeting Jews continue to rise after a precipitous spike in recent years. Avowed neo-Nazis running for public office, chants of “Jews will not replace us” and acts of anti-Semitic violence like the murder of teenager Blaze Bernstein in California have us asking: what exactly did we mean when we said, “never again?” Are we vowing to prevent the organized murder of millions, or the incremental steps that lead to it? Welton will speak with Dr. Daniel Greene, guest curator of a new exhibit — “Americans and the Holocaust”— at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., highlighting American public opinion, action and inaction during the Holocaust.

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