In 2018

The week started with the arrest of religious leaders engaged in civil disobedience across the country and saw the Congressional appointment of an anti-LGBTQ crusader to a body charged with overseeing religious liberty. On State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s radio show and podcast, we’ll break down recent headlines, and learn about new ways to create better ones in the future.

A new national moral revival launched last weekend with several hundred arrests of religious leaders on Capitol Hill and in events across the country. The new campaign harkens back to the effort to bring together marginalized people from across the country planned by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. before he was assassinated. Called the Poor People’s Campaign, it seeks to “challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted morality.” The Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, who along with the Rev. William Barber is co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, will join State of Belief host Rev. Welton C. Gaddy this week to learn more about this 40-day nationwide campaign of moral action – and how to get involved.

From Washington to Jerusalem, there are Religious Right dreams coming true, while the rest of us – religious and secular folks alike – look on in confusion and consternation. Between the Christian supremacist pastors praying over the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem and the appointment of a theocratic white evangelical leader to a government post overseeing international religious liberty, it truly does seem like the role of religion in our public life has been turned on its head. Jack Jenkins, national reporter for Religion News Service, will join Welton this week to help us figure out which way is up as he gives us some insight into the news at the intersection of religion and politics.

Sadly, a campaign in Oklahoma to prevent anti-LGBTQ discrimination from becoming state law failed. Last week, Governor Mary Fallin signed a piece of legislation that allows private foster care and adoption agencies to refuse to place a child in any home that the agencies say violates its “written religious or moral convictions or policies.” The coalition of faith-inspired activists, however, are not giving up in the face of defeat. Rabbi Abby Jacobson, president of Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma, will speak with Welton this week about the lessons they learned and what’s next in the effort to protect the separation of religion and government in her state.

And we’ll have a special Word from Welton as he reflects on religious freedom in the age of Trump and notes the hypocritical irony earlier this month when this president announced a new faith-based initiative to mark the National Day of Prayer – the day after finally publicly acknowledging he made a six-figure payoff to silence a woman with whom he had an extramarital affair.

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