We are heartbroken this weekend to once again witness an act of murderous hate targeting members of a religious group in their place of worship. State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, was recorded prior to the deadly attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA, and so our focus is on the pipe bombs sent to prominent Democratic leaders across the country as well as on reports that the administration is hell-bent on erasing any federal acknowledgement of the very existence of Transgender Americans. We also highlight the latest Nuns on the Bus Tour for Tax Justice, scheduled to arrive at Mar-a-Lago in Florida just before the midterm elections on November 6th.
Right now, there are people traveling thousands of miles across lands unknown to them, in a desperate search for a better life. With no Moses to guide them, they are being called a “caravan” – just another of an endless list of dehumanizing rhetorical attempts to leverage misery into a threat, and a threat into electoral advantage. The Honduran refugees are not likely to reach our borders until many weeks from now, if at all. Meanwhile, a bus full of nuns is heading in the other direction, on a cross-country tour aiming for Florida. Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice is the original Nun on the Bus, and she’s back on State of Belief this week to tell host Rev. Welton Gaddy about the “Tax Justice Truth Tour.”
Transgender Americans are a frequent target of the Trump administration, including an abrupt presidential Tweet announcing an imminent ban on Transgender servicemembers in our military. This week, a leaked memo from the Department of Health and Human Services outlined a proposed plan to re-define gender as “a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth,” essentially erasing transgender people from federal law. Welton will welcome Rabbah Rona Matlow, who is America’s only transgender, nuclear-qualified, Navy veteran rabbi, back to the show to discuss this development, and also to explore what all of us need to know about the Transgender experience in this complicated age. It’s part of Whosoever You Love, our semi-monthly series affirming the worth and full value of LGBTQ persons within and beyond religion. Whosoever You Love is supported by the Arcus Foundation, dedicated to the idea that people can live in harmony with one another and the natural world. Learn more about Arcus and its partners at ArcusFoundation.org.
“People these days are more divided than ever.” It’s a sentiment that few will argue with. But the research group More in Common has been asking if the news media is complicit in obsessing on and possibly exacerbating this divide. Stephen Hawkins is research director and senior associate at More in Common, USA, an organization which seeks to celebrate “What we all have in common rather than what divides us.” Welton and Stephen will discuss the newly released Hidden Tribes report and what it tells us about the exhausted majority.
And finally, we end with a Word from Welton on this moment in our history, as we are forced to deal with bombs… And morally compelled to do so with ballots.