It’s Memorial Day Weekend. As we remember the service members who lost their lives protecting our hard-won freedoms, the holiday weekend offers the opportunity to rest and renew, to hold our dear ones close, and to recommit to what is a very real battle for the heart and soul of America. On State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s radio show and podcast, this week we’ll get a dispatch from the NRA’s annual gathering in Dallas, consider what life must be like for career government workers inside this presidential administration, and hear about a very special interfaith Ramadan Iftar.
The unshakable, almost religious support that some display for the National Rifle Association’s absolutist agenda can be perplexing for many other Americans. Randy Potts, who recently wrote about the connection between rifles and religion for “The Baffler” magazine, will join State of Belief host Rev. C. Welton Gaddy to share what he witnessed earlier this month in Dallas where nearly 90,000 people gathered for the NRA’s annual meeting.
Living at a time when there seems to be a breaking news controversy nearly every hour, the greatest threat to our democracy may be sheer exhaustion. The non-stop news cycle presents dueling dangers – getting so overwhelmed that unsustainable levels of fear and anxiety set in, or tuning out completely in an understandable act of self-preservation. Greg Lebel, retired assistant professor of political management at George Washington University and presidential campaign veteran, will join Welton this week with his thoughts on what it’s like to be inside a campaign or an administration when things get intense – and how to keep our heads above water when that intensity rises.
It’s the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a time that involves daily fasting and a communal meal – Iftar – to break the fast each night at sundown. There are lessons people of all faiths and of no faith can learn from this spiritual practice – and at a time when American Muslims continue to face hostility and discrimination from many sources, acts of solidarity are taking many forms. Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, will speak with Welton this week about a special Iftar he took part in last week, and why interreligious celebrations are particularly important right now.