This weekend on State of Belief, we hear alarming new data on Americans’ knowledge of the First Amendment. We also take a look at the moral implications of “Stand Your Ground” laws, after last month’s verdict in George Zimmerman’s case; and get some context regarding recent hostile reactions to the idea of a Humanist military chaplaincy.
Stand Your Ground Laws
There’s been no letup in public debate regarding Stand Your Ground Laws since the George Zimmerman verdict in Florida last month. It’s a national topic – and no wonder: 31 states have some version on the books. Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, a writer and theologian at Chicago Theological Seminary, wrote an insightful piece on the moral implications of “Stand Your Ground” that appeared in the Washington Post “On Faith” section, and she will be joining us on State of Belief Radio to talk about the harm such laws do to both those who die – and those who kill – under the auspices of such legislation. CLICK HERE FOR EXTENDED INTERVIEW VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPT
The First Amendment
In recent years, no public debate is complete, it seems, until the US Constitution is dragged into it. Whether it be Obamacare, gun control, NSA spying allegations, or religious liberty, the Constitution in general and the first two Amendments in particular come up all the time – which is why it’s so disturbing that at least in the case of the First Amendment, civic knowledge seems to be at record lows. That’s revealed in The First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University’s annual “State of the First Amendment Survey,” and you’ll hear highlights from Dr. Charles Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum.
This summer, Congress held three separate committee votes on expanding the military chaplaincy to include Atheist and Humanist chaplains. While it turns out the idea never had a prayer, the hostile and even hateful responses the debate provoked demonstrate a deep lack of understanding among political leaders and the general public. So we’ve called upon Chris Stedman, a young Atheist interfaith activist and the Assistant Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University to explain his work and help contextualize the debate. Chris is the author of the book “Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground With the Religious.” CLICK HERE FOR EXTENDED INTERVIEW VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPT