As we mark the passing of George H. W. Bush at age 94, it is impossible to forget how tumultuous the world was during his single term as the 41st president of the United States. While his long career in public service was controversial for many, Bush offered the steady hand on the levers of power that helped avoid most of the hidden pitfalls that could have come with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. It’s hard not to feel both gratitude and longing for an era when American leadership focused on stabilizing, rather than disrupting, international relationships, and on promoting the values of liberty, opportunity, and courage.

Although they won’t be sworn in until January, members of the new Congress have already taken to D.C. The election that sent them to Capitol Hill may have been a month ago, but researchers are only now beginning to understand what happened on Election Day. Pew Research Center recently released an analysis of exit polls from across the country, and this week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, host Rev. Welton Gaddy will speak with Dr. Gregory Smith, associate director of research at the Pew Research Center, about the most significant findings of 2018 and how religious Americans voted this year.

As the world continues to watch the horrifying treatment of refugees, asylum-seekers and immigrants at our southern border, the administration shows no signs of backing down. While the “family-values” Religious Right makes excuses for and tries to justify the teargassing of toddlers, faith leaders and congregations with a more progressive, inclusive theology are coming together to stand with those who have been most harmed by this dehumanizing exercise of government power. The Rev. Jennifer Butler, founding executive director of Faith in Public Life, will speak to Welton this week about her organization’s role as a leader in the effort to extend protections and dignity to immigrants and asylum-seekers.

Hanukkah begins tomorrow night! The Jewish Festival of Lights is a time of hope and perseverance. With a rise in anti-Semitism and just plain nastiness, Hanukkah is a welcome reprieve to reflect and spend time with family. This week, we will hear Welton’s conversation with Rabbi Irwin Kula, president of Clal, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, about the state of our country, the Jewish community’s place in it and how we can all keep hope alive in a seemingly darkening world.

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