This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, host Rev. Welton Gaddy will dive into some of the hottest and most interesting issues in religion and politics today. We’ll hear from Terry Swartzberg, a Jewish activist in Germany, about the risks of overreacting to reports of growing anti-Semitism in Europe. We’ll also sit down with Greg Lebel of George Washington University to discuss alarming developments in the age-old “politics versus policy” question, and look at recent “Religious Freedom Restoration” laws at the federal and state level with Interfaith Alliance’s executive director Rabbi Jack Moline. Download Icon

How to Challenge Europe’s Rising Anti-Semitism: Jewish Visibility
In the wake of increasing political anti-Semitic rhetoric and violence throughout Europe, including the deadly hostage situation at a Parisian kosher supermarket and the murder of four at a Jewish museum in Brussels, many Jewish Europeans are asking if there is still a place for them on the continent. As many as a third of them, according to a 2013 survey, have already left or are considering leaving. This week, Welton sits down with Terry Swartzberg, a Jewish activist in Germany who says that it’s essential to be visible – even though many in his community are afraid to be.

Politics > Policy?
Many observers of Washington and the state of our national political system today are concerned about the lack of important legislation passed by our elected representatives in Congress. Are politicians more concerned with funding their reelections and avoiding negative sound bites than with doing their jobs and helping the people they swear to serve? To help think more deeply about this question, State of Belief welcomes Greg Lebel, Assistant Professor of Political Management at George Washington University to talk about whether politics are trumping policy in matters of vital significance to the United States.

The “Utah Compromise” and Religious Freedom
Rabbi Jack Moline
, Executive Director of Interfaith Alliance, joins Welton in the studio to talk about the “Utah Compromise” on gay rights. The compromise, heralded by the Mormon leadership, bans discrimination against LGBT individuals in employment and housing, while extending the same exemptions granted religious employers under state law allowing discrimination on race, religion and gender. Is there a middle ground? Jack will consider this question and share some of his thoughts of the latest crop of “religious freedom restoration” laws from across the country.

And Welton has some thoughts about this year’s conflicts over LGBT participation in St Patrick’s Day parades. Is this, finally, just another chance to dishonestly claim violation of “sincerely held religious beliefs” – or is it the green beer talking?

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