This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, Rev. Welton Gaddy takes a look at several issues confronting American religious communities today. First we’ll hear from the immediate past president of the Islamic Society of North America, Imam Mohamed Magid, about how the American Muslim community has been affected by the recent escalation of violence in the Middle East. Next we’ll check in with another radio host, Mike Papantonio of Ring of Fire Radio, on what may determine the course of this year’s midterm elections. Finally, Diane Butler Bass joins us to talk about the impressive women shattering the “Stained-Glass Ceiling” and achieving leadership roles in mainline protestant denominations. Download Icon

American Muslims and the Response to ISIS
Sadly, when tragedies like the conflict with ISIS in Iraq and Syria hit the Middle East, American Muslims often face discrimination and prejudice. But while the media continues to paint the entire Muslim community with broad strokes, community leaders on the ground are working to build bridges. This week Welton will sit down with Imam Mohamed Magid, who has just completed his term as president of the Islamic Society of North America, to talk about the effect these events have had on the Muslim community, the work that ISNA is doing to respond to ISIS and to help strengthen ties between the American Muslim community and Americans of other faiths.

The Election Cycle… or The Ring Of Fire
This week State of Belief is broadcasting from the Ring of Fire Studios in Pensacola, Florida, which gives Welton a great opportunity to touch base with an old friend of the show, Ring of Fire Radio host Mike Papantonio. Mike is an expert on U.S. politics and, as this week marks the official start of the 2014 campaign season (even if it feels like it’s been going for a year already), there’s no better time to talk to him. Welton and Pap will cover everything from the so-called culture wars to the actual wars going on in the Middle East and Ukraine and how they will play into this year’s election.

Breaking the Stained-Glass Ceiling: Women Gaining Leadership in the Church
Next Welton invites back on the show religious historian and writer Dr. Diane Butler Bass to discuss the rise of several women clergy to the top ranks of leadership of large mainline Protestant congregations. Welton will ask Dr. Bass about the factors that have prevented women from reaching these positions in the past and what is changing now.

A Loss for Marriage Equality in Louisiana
Since the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Windsor last June and found that the federal government could recognize the marriages of same-sex couples, marriage equality has seen a remarkable streak of victories in federal courts across the country. Sadly that streak was broken last week when a federal judge in Welton’s home state of Louisiana upheld that state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Welton ends the show this week with a few thoughts about this loss in his home state and his recommitment to fighting for marriage equality across the nation.

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