As Americans of all political stripes and faith backgrounds prepare to head for the polls on Tuesday, Election Day, the context is stark. While the causes of the horrific violence we have been witnessing seem abundantly clear, they differ and depend on the perspective of the viewer. The struggle to restore safety and civility will be long and hard. But it is heartening to see acts intended to “other” those who are different, to divide and even destroy some of us – bringing many of us together instead.

The horrific shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh followed a week of  other hate-motivated violence across the country. A politically worked up van-dweller in Florida was arrested in connection with pipe bombs that were sent to political leaders and public figures. A man in Kentucky who attempted to shoot worshippers in a predominantly African American church turned his gun on two black people in a supermarket after seeing the church door was locked. This week on State of Belief host Rev. Welton Gaddy will speak with the Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, senior minister at Middle Collegiate Church in New York City, about what is happening to us, what we are becoming, and what religious leaders can do in this current moment in history in addition to reminding congregants that election day is Tuesday.

Election Day is Tuesday. There’s been a lot less focus on the so-called “Catholic Vote” compared to past election years despite their historic position as an influential voting bloc. A new book from Dr. Steven Millies, director of the Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union, titled, Good Intentions: A History of Catholic Voters’ Road from Roe to Trump tracks the “Catholic Vote” from 1972 when the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade to the 2016 election to chart how Catholic voters’ views have changed and how they’ve remained the same. Steve joins Welton this week to share his predictions for how Catholics will turn out on Tuesday, election day.

A lot has been written since the horrific attack on Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, only the latest in a seemingly endless list of bloody assaults on religious communities – and that’s only the tip of a growing iceberg of acts of hate and intimidation targeting the same vulnerable groups. Many of us see the connection between those acts and the vitriolic language used by politicians. This week, Welton will sit down this week with Fred Garcia, Interfaith Alliance board member and president of Logos Consulting Group, to discuss stochastic terrorism, political “othering,” and the way mass communication is being used to fuel grievances against minority groups, spurring certain people into violence. After all, election day is Tuesday.

And we’ll hear a special Word from Welton on the state of the Union after last week, calling on all who are able to vote on Tuesday, election day.

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