This week, the delayed State of the Union address – religious language and all – was met with celebration on one side and a distinct lack of surprise on the other. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, we’ll analyze the address, take a deep dive into the continuing discrimination of Muslims and get a run-down of this year’s National Prayer Breakfast.

There wasn’t much surprising about this year’s State of the Union address. The president mostly stuck to his script, but there was still the characteristic bravado and informality that we’ve come to expect. This week, State of Belief host Rev. Welton Gaddy will speak with political management expert Greg Lebel to break down the policies laid out, whether that makes any difference when it comes to actual policies implemented, and take a first look at some of the candidates who hope to take his job.

The National Prayer Breakfast is a congressional event attended by the president that annually flirts with inappropriately using religion to influence public policy. This year, in particular, it was the perfect model of the kind of sectarian, divisive evangelical theocratic language that our founders would have denounced. Welton will speak with Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, about  the prayer breakfast and the many areas where freedom of religious practice ends and the freedom from religion begins.

A new book, Our Muslim Neighbors: Achieving the American Dream, An Immigrant’s Memoir, takes an empathetic look at life for Muslims in this country. Author Victor Begg discusses the impact that divisiveness and bigotry can have on the human spirit, even when people are able to overcome immediate obstacles caused by Islamophobia. This week, Welton will sit down with Victor to examine the lessons of the book and what it’s like to be Muslim in America right now.

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