This weekend on State of Belief, we take a look at what’s next for several flashpoint issues in the faith world. We’ll hear from an expert on the Westboro Baptist Church on the future of that notorious group following the death of its infamous leader, Fred Phelps. Jay Michaelson will share his take on the coming changes in “religious liberty” as we examine the upcoming Hobby Lobby case, which the Supreme Court will take up on. Finally, we’ll hear about “radical giving” from a water activist who’s working to bring this most basic resource to the millions living without it worldwide.
What Now for Westboro? The Future of the Controversial, Notorious Church
In the wake of the death of Fred Phelps, Sr., the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, Welton speaks with Dr. Rebecca Barrett-Fox, an expert on the church and author of a dissertation titled, “Pray Not for This People for Their Good”: Westboro Baptist Church, the Religious Right, and American Nationalism. She and Welton will discuss the present and future of the WBC, and the role that extremists such as the Phelps family and their followers have played as the “obvious” face of homophobia in the United States. Finally, she and Welton ask whether there is something about our culture that makes us need this kind of cartoonish villain – and if so, what that says about us. CLICK HERE FOR EXTENDED INTERVIEW VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPT
“With This Ring:” The Importance of Water Activism Worldwide
Welton will dive into World Water Day, March 22, with Ali Eastburn, founder of the nonprofit “With This Ring,” about her work as a water activist. Ali goes far beyond recognizing that the lack of clean water is a global crisis – not to mention a moral outrage. She also practices radical giving – changing one’s entire life to do with less, so one can give more. Driven by her faith, Ali finds profound satisfaction in following – and promoting – this philosophy.
The Hobby Lobby Case and the Misappropriation of “Religious Liberty”
In anticipation of next week’s oral arguments in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, State of Belief welcomes back Dr. Jay Michaelson, a knowledgeable voice on the many recent attempts to redefine religious liberty in the United States. Jay will walk us through the basic facts about the case and how it pits religious liberty against reproductive rights – issues, he argues, that despite the best efforts of anti-contraception advocates, don’t have to be mutually exclusive. That’s why Welton signed on to a letter, joined by many other faith leaders, calling for respecting individual reproductive choices – choices that religious convictions often lead to include contraception. CLICK HERE FOR EXTENDED INTERVIEW VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPT