This weekend, tune in to State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, to hear from one religious leader on why DOMA needs to go; to learn why one journalist thinks the country’s most religious state is also home to the highest teenage birth rate; and to hear discussion of the new pope and the direction the Catholic Church is headed. Also, Welton will reflect on this week’s historic election of Pope Francis.

Why DOMA Needs to Go, a Religious Perspective
Later this month, on March 27, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the Defense of Marriage Act case. There’s a broad coalition of people – religious leaders, the White House, governors and everyday Americans – working to abolish the Clinton-era law. One of those religious leaders, longtime senior pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church in New York, the Rev. Pat Bumgardner, joins Welton on State of Belief this week to discuss why DOMA needs to go as well as the social justice implications of the law and the impending Supreme Court decision.  Rev. Bumgardner is also the Executive Director of the Global Justice Institute. Click here for extended interview video and transcript.

In Mississippi, at the Intersection of Sex-Ed and Religion
Mississippi is the most religious state in the union. It’s also the one with the highest teen birth rate. Freelance journalist Andy Kopsa has been following the situation in Mississippi and the state’s new religiously-influenced sex-ed program for Atlantic Magazine. She’s on State of Belief to discuss the role religion is playing in obstructing effective sexual education in Mississippi and the rest of the country.

What Pope Francis Means for the Church and the World
This was a big week for Catholics around the world as Argentina’s Jorge Mario Bergoglio was chosen to be the first South American and Jesuit pope in history. Kevin Eckstrom, editor-in-chief of Religion News Service, will discuss the implications of the election of Pope Francis and explain what his election may tell us about the direction of the Church.

A Word from Welton: The State of the Catholic Church
After the huge week that Catholics and the entire religious community have had, it’s impossible not to note the sheer number of people that gathered in Saint Peter’s Square in excitement and anticipation for a new leader. Welton offers his reflections on the election of Pope Francis and the state of the Catholic Church on this week’s State of Belief.

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