Speaking last week at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Trump vowed to “get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment,” which for decades has prevented efforts to turn houses of worship into partisan weapons. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s radio show and podcast, we’ll discuss the dangerous implications of a partisan pulpit.

Guest host Rabbi Jay Michaelson, filling in for Rev. Welton Gaddy from snowbound Brooklyn, will be joined by Rev. Barry Lynn, longtime executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Rev. Lynn will discuss the purpose and practice of the Johnson Amendment and cut through the disinformation coming from the political religious right. He’ll also share his experience working with Rev. Gaddy to fend off a challenge to the amendment in 2002 and tell listeners how they can protect church-state separation during the Trump years.

Jay will also be joined by Sarah Posner, the investigative journalist who broke the news that a sweeping anti-LGBT executive order was circulating within the White House, awaiting the President’s signature. The draft order couched anti-LGBT discrimination within a “religious freedom” framework, but the end result would have been a substantial rollback of equal rights. Sarah will discuss her scoop as well as reports that Trump’s daughter and son-in-law derailed its implementation — at least for now.

Research consistently shows that the more contact Americans have with people from diverse backgrounds, the less they fear and the more they appreciate people who aren’t like them. Few places demonstrate that as clearly as Nebraska, where organizations have worked for years on this issue. We’ll hear some of these refugee resettlement success stories from Lacey Studnicka, Development Officer with the Lutheran Family Services Refugee Program.

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