This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, our host, Rev. Welton Gaddy will explore the role religion is playing in national politics as the 2016 campaign cycle intensifies. We’ll hear from Peter Montgomery of People for the American Way who attended Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s “The Response” prayer rally in Baton Rouge, and we’ll talk to investigative journalist Sarah Posner, who has written extensively about the political action of the religious right. Later in the show, Welton will commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Poland’s Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp with Shana Penn of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture.

A Response to Governor Bobby Jindal’s “The Response”
Although the 2014 election cycle ended a few short months ago, it (sadly) is not too early to start thinking about 2016 campaign politics. Especially when several nakedly theocratic potential candidates pander to “values voters” with an outright dismissal of democratic values in favor of “rebuilding” a “God-centered” nation. Is a large religious base a shortcut to unlimited campaign dollars? We’ll hear from Peter Montgomery, Senior Fellow at People for the American Way and Associate Editor at Religion Dispatches Magazine. He described attending Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s “The Response” prayer rally, which drew thousands of attendees in person and online, for The Huffington Post. CLICK HERE FOR EXTENDED INTERVIEW VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPT

Welton also had some direct words for Jindal and his Christianist boosters. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPT

Religious Right’s Influence on National Politics
In addition to “The Response,” the religious right organized a host of political events and rallies across the nation last weekend. Ranging from a march against reproductive rights, to the Iowa Freedom Summit, to an initiative to elect 1,000 pastors to political office to get this nation right with God – it’s important not to dismiss these initiatives as merely fringe efforts. Investigative Journalist Sarah Posner will join us to discuss this movement of the religious right and the implications these actions will have on America’s secular democracy. She’s reported on several of the recent events for Religion Dispatches Magazine.

Observing the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz
70 years after the Allies liberated one of the most infamous death camps, Auschwitz/Birkenau in Poland, it is imperative that the lessons learned following the Holocaust be kept relevant for generations to come. Even today, we see a growing movement in parts of Europe to demonize vulnerable minority groups as responsible for economic and social ills. Shana Penn, Executive Director of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture, will join Welton to discuss the events around the observance of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the importance of remembrance, and lessons learned from that period.

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