This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, Welton and his guests discuss three recent developments in the world of religion, culture, and politics. Tune in to hear some valuable insight about federal courts in Pennsylvania and Oregon striking down same-sex marriage bans, the role of debt and a culture of materialism in the future facing new college graduates, and how the shocking court ruling in Sudan will affect the international community. Finally, Welton sits down Kevin Eckstrom of RNS to discuss Pope Francis’ visit to the Holy Land. Download Icon

Overturning the Ban: Analyzing the Developments in Pennsylvania and Oregon
With a major step in the right direction, this week courts in Pennsylvania and Oregon have struck down bans on same-sex marriage. Welton will sit down with  Dr. Sharon Groves the Director of theReligion and Faith Program at the Human Rights Campaign, to discuss the implications of these court decisions and the role that progressive faith communities have played in bringing marriage equality to state after state. Their discussion will delve deeper into the role of how these decisions are changing the landscape for religion and LGBT rights in America, and whether these decisions are a glimpse into the future of marriage equality.

A Heavy Burden for College Grads: Student Debt and a Culture of Materialism
It has been an exciting, yet sobering week for graduating college seniors as they face many new adventures along with record high levels of college debt. To discuss the moral and ethical implications of this situation, Welton will speak with Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary. Rev. Jones will help explain the complexities of this dynamic and the potential for new forms of community and service that it can create.

Shocking News from Sudan: The Role of Religion in Women’s Rights around the World
Shocking news from Sudan last week as Meriam Ibrahim – a woman who is eight months pregnant – was sentenced to death, for converting to Christianity. However, as President Jimmy Carter has recently noted, this is but one case of religion conflicting with women’s rights. Welton will discuss this ruling and similar concerns about the role that religion plays in the subjugation of women around the world with self-proclaimed “femmevangelical” Rev. Jennifer Crumpton. The Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy, and a Pastoral Associate of Park Avenue Christian Church in New York City, Rev. Crumpton brings a unique perspective to share on the case in Sudan, President Jimmy Carter’s recent comments about women in Christianity, and the intersection of religion and gender around the world.

Pope Francis in the Holy Land
Finally, Welton invites back one of our favorite guests – Kevin Eckstrom, editor of Religion News Service – to discuss Pope Francis’s visit to the Holy Land. Welton and Kevin will chat about the importance of Pope Francis’s meeting with the Orthodox Patriarch, as well as many significant Jewish and Muslim leaders in the region. Don’t miss this opportunity to witness religious history through the eyes of one of the greatest religion writers of our time.

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