Tune in this weekend to Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast State of Belief to hear a discussion of religious liberty from four different angles – the mainstream media, the Amish, the national litigation director of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the a legendary civil rights activist.
The Rise of the Culture Warrior Candidate
As his star has risen in the Republican presidential primary, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has been rock-steady in his culture warrior persona. The same extremist rhetoric that conventional wisdom long held would keep him out of national office now seems to have propelled him to the head of the pack. Kevin Eckstrom, editor-in-chief of Religion News Service, joins us this week to help us understand what’s going on and what role the mainstream media’s affinity for headline-making statements play in Santorum’s surge.
The Private World of the Amish
Amish communities may be a familiar landmark on our religious and cultural landscape, but in many ways the Amish Church remains a mystery to most Americans. This week we are lucky enough to get a preview of a new PBS documentary, “The Amish” and a peek behind the scenes from the film’s producer Callie Wiser. She’ll clue us into why executive producer Mark Samels calls this “the most difficult film he’s ever made” and provide us with new and illuminating insights into the Amish community. The film airs as a part of PBS’ “American Experience” series on February 28.
Religious Liberty in the Courts
As challenges to the Obama administration’s contraception coverage mandate multiply, the courts seem to be recognizing unprecedented new faith-based claims of conscience in private business. This week we hear from Eric Rassbach, national litigation director for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The Becket Fund has had a string of headline-making successes recently, including representing the winning side in the U.S. Supreme Court religious employer Hosana-Tabor case, which the Wall Street Journal called the “most important religious liberty case in a half century.” Rassbach discusses their win representing a pharmacy in Washington state regarding the right of a pharmacist to refuse to dispense Plan B drugs on the grounds of personal conscience and the broader implications of conscience clauses.
Standing up to Franklin Graham
While Santorum continues to pander to those voters who aren’t satisfied with simply disagreeing with President Obama, others, including Rev. Franklin Graham, are persisting in insinuating there are dark, nefarious, un-American and un-Christian forces behind everything the administration does. This week the Rev. Dr. Amos Brown, NAACP national board member, draws upon his decades of civil rights activism to explain why it shouldn’t be any surprise that Graham feels so comfortable calling into question the faith and fundamental values of the President – and why it’s time for other faith leaders to step out more boldly in defending the President.