It’s been a big week in the news, with “religious freedom” legislation passed in Indiana and Arkansas making headlines for their potential to be used as vehicles for discrimination. At State of Belief, we take seriously the need for freedom from bias and discrimination, and so we ask our listeners to check out and get involved in the new Interfaith Alliance campaign, Everyone Only. Everyone Only asks business owners to stand up for genuine religious freedom and equal rights for America’s LBTQ community – ask your favorite shops and restaurants to participate today!
This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, we take a pause for the Easter and Passover holidays to revisit some of our favorite segments from shows past.
The Congressional Prayer Caucus: Alternative Thoughts
Up first, we’ll travel back in time eight years to listen to a segment taped during a conversation between host Welton Gaddy and Rep. Charlie Rangel of New York. When the segment first aired in 2007, there was a great deal of attention being placed on the newly formed Congressional Prayer Caucus, which – controversially – focused solely on a Christian expression of faith. Among other topics, the pair talks about the caucus and the role of religion in political and public life. Finally, as a bonus, you’ll also get to hear the Congressman’s prediction for the outcome of the then-upcoming presidential primaries, including his take on then long-shot candidate for the presidency: Senator Barack Obama.
What Your Minister Isn’t Telling You
The April 2007 edition of State of Belief also featured a conversation between Welton and Rev. Oliver “Buzz” Thomas. Oliver, a Baptist minister, author, educator, attorney and community leader, had just published a book entitled, 10 Things Your Minister Wants to Tell You (But Can’t Because He Needs the Job). It’s invaluable to hear the challenges faced by faith leaders who find themselves required to exhibit absolute certainty while at the same time feeling pressure to avoid addressing some of the most pressing issues in their congregants’ lives.
A Reflection (and Update) on Omaha’s Tri-Faith Initiative
State of Belief then takes you back to April 11, 2009, when the show first brought listeners the fascinating story of the Tri-Faith Initiative in Omaha, Nebraska. The TFI, a nonprofit organization, brought together members of the three Abrahamic faiths in a commitment to create an interfaith center to facilitate learning and respect. After looking back on the history of the group and its mission, we’ll bring you an update on the construction of the Tri-Faith Center, which is now slated to begin in 2016 with the campus completed in 2017.
In Brief: Section Snippets from the Past
We’ll also hear a couple of shorter segments from past episodes. In the spirit of the Easter and Passover holidays this weekend, State of Belief reprises some of Welton’s thoughts on the intersection of those holidays from a 2007 broadcast. Listeners will also hear a few minutes from a 2010 interview with Dawn Kepler, the founding director of Building Jewish Bridges, on holidays and interfaith families. Finally, we’ll air a discussion with the now sadly deceased Rev. Dr. Forrest Church, in which he and Welton discuss his book, So Help Me God: The Founding Fathers and the First Great Battle Over Church and State, in a conversation that is as timely today as it was seven years ago.