On this week’s State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show, Welton and his guests will take a hard look at some of concerning situations around the country and around the world. We’ll hear from Pastor Michael McBride of PICO National Network who has been closely following the situation in Ferguson, MO. Two experts will discuss how the conflict in the Middle East has led to an increase of both anti-Muslim sentiment and anti-Semitism in America and abroad. And finally Welton will reflect on Robin Williams’ tragic death and temptation to respond with too little information and thought. Download Icon

Michael Brown, Ferguson and the Struggle to Live Free
Following the tragic shooting of an unarmed Black teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, MO, the ensuing protests and the local police’s startling response, many in the faith community have mobilized around issues of racial violence and injustice in America. This week Welton will sit down with one of the leaders of this movement, Pastor Michael McBride, head of PICO National Network’s Lifelines to Healing Campaign. Welton and Pastor McBride will discuss the racial implications of the events in Ferguson, the continuing struggle between communities of color and the criminal justice system, and PICO’s efforts to organize “Live Free Sabbaths” in churches around the country this weekend.

The Continuing Rise of Anti-Muslim Bigotry in the United States
Even as there seems to be little progress in resolving the enduring conflicts in the Middle East, anti-Muslim bigotry continues to increase here in the United States. To learn more about this disturbing trend, Welton checks in with the president of the Arab American Institute, Dr. James Zogby, about their latest poll “American Attitudes Toward Arabs and Muslims.” Dr. Zobgy will share some of his research from this report including the growing polarization between liberals and conservatives on their views of Arab and Muslim Americans, as well as the – perhaps unsurprising – finding that those who actually know Muslim Americans are less likely to hold anti-Muslim biases.

Addressing the Growth of Anti-Semitism at Home and Abroad
In tandem with the rise of anti-Muslim bigotry, the last few weeks have seen a shocking number of anti-Semitic expressions both in America and around the world. Welton will be joined this week by Rabbi Brad Hirschfeld of Clal, The National Jewish Center of Learning and Leadership, who will help us put this rise in anti-Semitism in context, and discuss ways that faith leaders – and the rest of us – can help counter it, and bigotry against all religious minorities.

A Reflection on Robin Williams and His Passing
Finally, Welton leaves us with some thoughts on the passing of actor and comedy legend Robin Williams. Having written extensively on the issue of depression and suicide, Welton shares his perspective on what each of us should consider before presuming to understand the suffering of another.

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