This weekend on State of Belief, a breakdown of the complicated issue of attempts to end the ban on political endorsements by tax-exempt nonprofits; one group’s prayerful response to Qur’an-burning Islamophobia; and a look at faith-driven environmentalism in action – in court!
Threatened Qur’an Burning Inspires Blood…. Drive
It’s not news that Florida pastor, mustache pioneer and relentless self-promoter Terry Jones is once again making noises about staging a Qur’an burning to mark the anniversary of 9/11. But this time he’s trying to do it in scenic Mulberry, Fla., where the citizens are anything but enthusiastic – and are welcoming the help of a Texas organization, the World Muslim Congress, which plans to stage its annual Unity Day USA event in Mulberry on September 11th as a response, featuring prayers for peace and a community blood drive. Congress founder Mike Ghouse explains how the plan came together.
Political Endorsements from the Pulpit
In a nutshell: under current law, Pastor Smith is welcome to personally endorse a political candidate, work for her election, or even run for office himself. What Pastor Smith cannot do under current law is to endorse a candidate on behalf of his tax-exempt house of worship, nor dedicate the resources of that organization to promoting said candidate. A proposed change to those rules plays right into the hands of some Conservatives who see this as a free speech issue – but as Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism explains, there’s a lot at stake were this restriction lifted – and the greatest loss would be to the tax-exempt organizations themselves.
GreenFaith Fights to Clear the Air
Interreligious cooperation can start with learning about, and appreciating, differences and commonalities among members of different faith traditions. But at its best, the movement can then contribute to the general welfare of society as a whole. A good example of this is the current lawsuit against the US Coast Guard and the Port Authority of NY/NJ, joined by GreenFaith, an interreligious coalition of partners for the environment. GreenFaith Executive Director the Rev. Fletcher Harper is back on State of Belief with the details.