In 2012

It has been quite a week at the intersection of religion, government and politics. Tune in this weekend to Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast State of Belief to hear from the Episcopal Bishop of North Carolina about the coalition of faith leaders standing in opposition the anti-gay marriage amendment on Tuesday’s ballot. Also, find out which religious denomination is the fastest growing, what’s next for America’s women religious following a condemnation from Rome, and about the American Humanist Association’s National Day of Reason.

“Pastors Against Amendment One”
On Tuesday, North Carolina voters go to the polls. Even without a crystal ball, we can predict that Mitt Romney will win the Republican primary, and President Barack Obama will win the Democratic primary. So it’s tough to imagine many voters going to the trouble, except that the voters who do turn out will hold the future of many North Carolina families in their hands. They’ll be voting on Amendment One, a mean-spirited and broadly restrictive measure that is redundant in banning same-gender marriage in that state, since it’s already illegal. This week we’re joined by The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, who is the Episcopal Bishop of North Carolina, to talk about “Pastors Against Amendment One,” the coalition of faith leaders he joined to oppose to the amendment. Welton and Bishop Curry discuss the work the coalition has been doing and some of the headlines we’ve seen out of North Carolina, such as the Baptist minister who suggested to his congregation it’s ok for a parent to punch children who don’t conform to standard gender roles. For more on Pastors Against Amendment One, you can visit: Click here for extended interview and transcript.

The 2010 Religion Census
Every 10 years, the Association of Religion Data Archives publishes the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies’ 2010 US Religions Census: Congregations and Memberships Study. One of the contributors is Dr. Dale Jones, director of research services at the Church of the Nazarene Global Ministry Center in Kansas, and he joins us this week on State of Belief Radio. Be sure to turn in to learn with us about the 150 million Americans who do not identify with a house of worship at all and which denomination is growing the fastest. The full study, including state-by-state and other geographic breakouts, is available online at www.thearda.comClick here for extended interview and transcript.

The possible future of the American women religious
It’s no secret that many American Catholics are sick of the church scandals, of the politicization of their faith by American bishops, of much of what their Church has become – and for many of them, it’s the women religious that give them some hope in the future of the Church. But since the story broke about the Vatican condemning the work of American women religious, and imposing a new supervisor on that work, there’s been a lot of speculation about what’s next. Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, joins us this week to talk about the far-reaching impact of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Faith condemnation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Click here for extended interview and transcript.

National Day of Reason
On Thursday, many Americans observed what President Obama proclaimed to be a “National Day of Prayer.” He was legally mandated to do so, in a practice dating back to 1952. Thousands of events took place around the country, most organized by politically-oriented, conservative-leaning Christian groups. In truth, this annual celebration is most ostracizing to Americans who do not subscribe to any faith tradition. But precisely because we do enjoy the liberties guaranteed by our Constitution, Thursday was also observed as a “National Day of Reason,” organized by a coalition of Secular, Humanist and Atheist groups, led by the American Humanist Association. AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt is an old friend of Welton’s – and a former colleague here at Interfaith Alliance – and so we’re delighted that he was able to join us this week to talk about the National Day of Reason. Click here for extended interview and transcript.

What is religious liberty?
The language of religious freedom has been hijacked for political purposes, and it is a grave disservice to the many people around the world who have suffered and even died in the name of their convictions to cheapen these words. It is not religious freedom that’s under attack in this country today; it is the PHRASE “religious freedom.” We’re asking you to help defend it by joining us at

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