On this episode of State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, Rev. Welton Gaddy will discuss his recent trip to Iowa in opposition to far-right extremists making a fundamental(ist) mockery of religious liberty for political gain. We’ll ask Dr. Dennis Goldford, a political science professor at Drake University in Iowa, about fear as a motivator for voters in a time of social turmoil. Zack Kopplin, a student activist who spearheaded the campaign to repeal the Lousiana Science Eduacation Act, Lousiana’s creationism law, will return with stories of “Religious Rants in the Classroom.” And John Santa, Chair of the Malta Criminal Justice Initiative, will share his faith-driven work around criminal justice reform.
Turning “Religious Liberty” On its Head
This past week, Rev. Welton Gaddy traveled to Des Moines, Iowa to keynote a forum on religious liberty. The impetus: Freedom2015, a far-far-religious-right event across town, hosted by a preacher who insists that LGBT Americans are due the death penalty. Loudly. Last weekend, he did it in the presence of 1600 cheering “Christians,” including three that are making a serious run for the White House! It’s likely Welton has some strong words for Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal regarding the oath to uphold our secular Constitution that all three ostensibly aspire to – and what a betrayal of that oath it is to legitimize such a hatefest with their participation.
Will Fear Drive Conservatives to the Polls?
In recent years, we have seen sweeping changes in the American cultural landscape. Dr. Dennis Goldford, professor of Political Science at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa has listened closely as some conservatives have responded with fear and anger at the recent progress we’ve seen on marriage equality and other social issues. With leaders ready to fan the flames of that fear and anger, the potential impact on next year’s elections is important to consider.
Religious Rants in the Classroom
Zack Kopplin was still in high school when he launched a campaign to keep creationist teachings out of public school science classes in Lousiana. As he’s continued this important work, Zack has become an expert on the inappropriate promotion of religion – specifically, Christianity – in schools across the country. His Slate Magazine article is titled Religious Rants in the Classroom, and he’ll share details of some of the chilling incidents he’s come across in his research.
Changing the Paradigm on Criminal Justice – Prisons and Freedom
Earlier this month, President Obama announced plans to make the process of reintegration into society easier for Americans who have served time behind bars. The Malta Criminal Justice Reform Initiative has taken the lead in concrete criminal justice reform at the state level in Connecticut. John Santa, the chair of this organization, has deep expertise to share on how we got here – with a ridiculous percentage of Americans incarcerated – and how, inspired by the Catholic mandate to care for the sick and the poor, his group is leading the way to real reform.