Our first episode aired on January 15, 2006, on Air America Radio Network. Through many twists and turns, challenges and changes, we’ve kept at it for 13 solid years. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, we’ll celebrate our 13th anniversary on the air with a classic interview from our first year. We’ll also explore the ways religion has already been used ahead of the 2020 presidential election and delve into the experience of LGBTQ Christians and how the fight for equal rights has evolved.

The first votes won’t be cast for another year, but numerous Democrats have already announced their intentions to run for the White House in 2020. Many of the new candidates have used religious language as a part of their announcements and to explain their motivations for running for office. Separately, Delaware Senator Chris Coons recently got attention for his use of faith to bridge divides across the aisle and promote bipartisanship. This week, State of Belief host Rev. Welton Gaddy will speak to Jack Jenkins, national reporter for Religion News Service, on the use of religion in the early presidential primary and the invocation of religion and religious language from politicians on the left.

Millions of LGBTQ Americans grow up in families that are openly hostile to their identities. The pain and alienation that this can cause is not something that should be inflicted upon anyone. Amber Cantorna experienced a particularly extreme case of growing up in an unaccepting family: her father is an executive with the conservative, anti-gay organization Focus on the Family. After years of depression and anxiety, Amber came out to her family and was subsequently disowned. Now, Amber has one book out, Refocusing My Family: Coming Out, Being Cast Out, and Discovering the True Love of God, and another soon to be released, Unashamed: A Coming-Out Guide for LGBTQ Christians. She will speak with Welton this week to share her story and discuss the work she’s doing to support other people of faith through the coming out process.

This conversation is part of Whosoever You Love, our semi-monthly series affirming the worth and full value of LGBTQ persons within and beyond religion. Whosoever You Love is supported by the Arcus Foundation, which is dedicated to the idea that people can live in harmony with one another and the natural world. Learn more about Arcus and its partners at ArcusFoundation.org. And find the entire series at www.whosoeveryou.love.

This week, we’re marking the 13th anniversary of State of Belief’s first broadcast. We started this show to provide a way to engage in, and influence, the national conversation around issues of religion, government and politics. To celebrate our anniversary, we’ll re-air one of our very first interviews. In January 2006, Welton sat down with Esther Kaplan to speak her book, With God on Their Side: How Christian Fundamentalists Trampled Science, Policy and Democracy in George W. Bush’s White House. It seems like the conversation between Welton and Esther was a lifetime ago, and yet it’s clearer than ever that this nation is living every day with the consequences of not taking warnings like hers seriously enough.

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