This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, Rev. Welton Gaddy and his guests take a look at several hot-button issues at the intersection of religion and politics in the news this week. We’ll hear from scholar and writer Patricia Miller about the changing relationship between Catholic women religious and the Vatican; we’ll check in with journalist Sarah Posner about religion on the campaign trail and highlight an important voter resource; and we’ll learn about one organization’s important work to highlight LGBT rights violations around the world. Finally, Welton will share some thoughts about the continuing situation in Ferguson, Missouri, and the role the faith community is and could be playing. Download Icon

The Bishops and the Women Religious
While Pope Francis’ time at the Vatican has been marked by a powerful shift in tone and policy, the Church hierarchy’s relationship to Catholic women and women religious has remained notably unchanged. The recent assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious – which was placed under the strict supervision of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2012 – largely downplayed the struggles in this relationship – with one notable exception. This week, Welton will talk with writer and scholar Patricia Miller about Sister Elizabeth Johnson’s powerful critique of the Catholic hierarchy at this year’s LCWR convention.

Politicians in the Pulpit and Religion on the Campaign Trail
This week Interfaith Alliance released our guides designed to help politicians and faith communities navigate the complicated relationship between religion and politics during the 2014 midterm elections. To help introduce listeners to the many pitfalls when religion and politics mix, Welton sits down with veteran journalist Sarah Posner to talk about some recent examples. From Pulpit Freedom Sunday to the suit against the IRS brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, don’t miss this reminder of the risks of religious politicking and political religiosity.

“Erasing 76 Crimes”: The Global Struggle to End LGBT Criminalization
Next, Welton invites on journalist and activist Colin Stewart whose website 76crimes.com is an invaluable resource for tracking the criminalization of homosexuality around the world. While the persecution of LGBT people across the globe has become an increasingly important issue for many Americans, faith communities, and the U.S. government, many were disappointed that the President did not push the issue at the White House’s recent summit of African leaders. Welton and Colin will discuss the administration’s work on this issue and whether the summit was a missed opportunity.

Ferguson and Faith Communities
Finally, Welton shares some of his own thoughts about the ongoing situation in Ferguson, Missouri. Are faith leaders and faith communities stepping up to the challenge in the proud tradition of the Civil Rights movement? And are there lessons from those historic moments that can be of value to us today?

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