In 2018

What a week it’s been for religion in America! Religious leaders of all stripes – from the Catholic Bishops to Southern Baptists, from United Methodists to prominent evangelicals such as Franklin Graham – have publicly denounced the Trump administration policy to separate families at the border. The administration responded with its most blatant misuse of religion yet – claiming the Bible was on its side, prompting an unprecedented outcry from Americans of faith. On this week’s State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s radio show and podcast, we’ll get the latest on a national 40 days of action from the Poor People’s Campaign, keep tabs on what the Religious Right is up to following an annual conference led by Ralph Reed, and hear about interreligious solidarity activism – in Germany.

Nearly 40 days ago, hundreds of faith leaders across the country were arrested protesting the “evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted morality.” The Poor People’s Campaign, which harkens back to an effort envisioned by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. comes to an end on Saturday, June 23 in a massive rally in Washington, D.C. The Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, the co-chair of the campaign, spoke with State of Belief host Rev. Welton Gaddy when the national moral revival launched. She’ll be back this week to discuss the final week of the action, what to expect from the rally and what comes next.

Although the Poor People’s Campaign has a significant national presence, it is truly a decentralized campaign, with many people of conscience and faith-driven organizations taking part. Welton will also speak with Patrick Carolan, executive director of the Franciscan Action Network, about how the Poor People’s Campaign is functioning at a grassroots level and working to reach a large coalition of individuals around the country.

At their get-together last weekend, the ironically named Faith and Freedom Coalition pledged $20 million for political candidates who support the Religious Right and reaffirmed their commitment to challenge any progress being made to expand LGBTQ rights and women’s rights. Peter Montgomery, a senior fellow at People For the American Way, will join Welton to share his first person impressions of the coalition’s gathering and what the future looks like for the Religious Right.

Berlin is considered an edgy, cosmopolitan, diverse and forward-looking city. Culturally and socially, it’s an international German city which never forgets the brutal genocide of the Nazi era. That’s why a couple of recent anti-Semitic incidents there were particularly unexpected – and painful for Jews and non-Jews alike. Activist Terry Swartzberg will join Welton from Munich to discuss the German reaction to these appalling incidents and what it means to be Jewish in Europe in 2018. Terry will also share with our audience ways to stand in solidarity with Jews and all individuals around the world who are victims of bias and discrimination.

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