This week on State of Belief, Welton comes to you from Boise, Idaho, where progressive faith movements – including the participation of our affiliate, Interfaith Alliance Idaho – are alive and well. Tune in to hear two Boise residents talk about the challenges of providing outlets for alternative voices – be they radio shows or Reform Jewish communities – in a state like Idaho. Plus, we’ll hear about one immigration reform advocate’s program to address the immigration crisis from a scriptural perspective.
Finding Sanctuary in the Sanctuary: Immigration Reform and the Church
So often, civil debate over the nature of our country’s immigration laws is drowned out by the yells and fear-mongering of the “kick ‘em all out” crowd. We are therefore pleased to welcome Rev. Alison Harrington, the pastor of Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Ariz., who works to oppose this overwhelmingly negative rhetoric by advocating for immigration reform infused with a scriptural context. Rev. Harrington describes her church’s Sanctuary program, which since May 13, has been offering Sanctuary to one undocumented immigrant and his family in a demonstration of scriptural and basic human goodness.
Fundraising, Scheduling and Diversity: The Challenge of Community Radio
As many of us are surely aware, the spectrum of alternative voices on the radio continues to grow ever narrower. With this in mind, Welton sits down with his host for the weekend, Radio Boise station manager Jeff Abrams, to gain a better understanding of what it takes, in 2014, to offer a community its own radio station. Jeff outlines some of the difficulties of fundraising for independent radio and the challenge of building a program schedule that reflects his community’s growing diversity, and gives our listeners insight into the Boise faith community.
Exploring Jewish Life and Environmentalism in Idaho
Next, Welton will check in with Rabbi Daniel Fink, leader of Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel in Boise, which meets in the oldest synagogue building in continuous use west of the Mississippi. As a Reform Jewish leader in a largely Mormon and Evangelical Christian state – and for several years, the only rabbi in all of Idaho – Rabbi Fink has a unique perspective on interreligious cooperation in his community. He also reflects on the wonders of Idaho’s natural resources, and the way that his faith background has helped him underscore the importance of protecting the environment.
The Berghdal “Controversy” and the Naked Politicization of Morality
Finally, Welton has some thoughts to share about the controversy behind President Obama’s decision to secure the release of Bowe Berghdal, America’s last POW in Afghanistan. Right-wing leaders, including the “moral” Family Research Council President Anthony Perkins, have used Berghdal’s release as yet more cannon fodder in the anti-Obama culture wars – as unbelievable as it seems.