This weekend on State on Belief Radio, a frightening explanation of who benefits from the government shutdown and its connection to Christian dominionist ambitions, as well as the surprising results of Pew’s study on Jewish Americans.  And we’ll take a look at what the branch of government starting a term during the shutdown, the Supreme Court, is doing in regard to important matters of religion, government, and politics. Download Icon

Not Shut Down: Supreme Court Starts a New Term
Despite the government shutdown slowing almost everything in Washington, D.C. to a standstill, the Supreme Court began a new term this week – a term likely to yield some critical rulings. Already having agreed to hear Town of Greece vs. Galloway, a case involving prayer at town meetings, what else is the court likely to tackle? The contraception mandate? State-level restrictions on abortion? Adept at covering these issues at the crossroads of religion and government is Lauren Markoe, national correspondent at Religion News Service, who joins Welton this week to discuss how the justices may rule on these decisive religious cases.

Christian Dominionist Thought and the Shutdown
There’s nothing unfairly partisan about pointing a finger at one political party in criticizing the latest government shutdown. One political party has harbored politicians who overtly denigrate the very concept of government as a force for good, some who even overtly campaigned with promises of shutting down the federal government. As Democrats, mainstream Republicans and the American public struggle to understand what’s happening on Capitol Hill, a growing number of analysts point to the dangerous philosophy of Christian dominionism as a driving force. One of the most respected voices offering this analysis belongs to Chris Hedges, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and author of The Christian Right and the War on America as well as Days of Destruction, Day of Revolt. He joins Welton on this week’s show to talk about his recent article “The Radical Christian Right and the War on Government,” as well as his firsthand knowledge of dominionist thought and how it benefits from the Tea Party’s actions in Washington. CLICK HERE FOR EXTENDED INTERVIEW VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPT.

“A Portrait of Jewish Americans”
The Pew Research Center recently published a revealing new study of Jewish Americans.  The findings made headlines, as the study suggests notable shifts in the way Jewish Americans identify themselves and identify with their religion. Part of Pew’s Religion & Public Life Project, the study, titled “A Portrait of Jewish Americans,” examines the changing dynamics of life and identity within the American Jewish community. On this week’s show, Dr. Gregory Smith, director of U.S. religion surveys at Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project, shares some of the most surprising and significant trends revealed in the study’s results.

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