On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that a 40-foot cross could remain on public land. The decision puts the Court in the business of defining sacred symbols, minimizing the significance of a symbol that has been profoundly meaningful to generations of Christians. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, we will hear about a faith-based entrance into 2020 done right and learn about the current threats to religious freedom in addition to the one from SCOTUS.
Earlier this week, faith and community leaders with the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival hosted a forum for presidential candidates to address issues of poverty. The discussion led by the Rev. Dr. William Barber is similar to forums that happen in communities across the country every election year and an example of how people of faith can engage political candidates without reinforcing one set of beliefs over another. Jack Jenkins, award-winning national reporter, was in the room where it happened to cover the event. He’ll join State of Belief host Rev. Welton Gaddy this week to talk about the D.C. gathering and what we can expect in the 2020 election.
Interfaith Alliance is a national organization that celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. One of our partners in the work to protect religious freedom is Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Rachel Laser is in her second year as executive director of the organization, which works to protect freedom of religion for all from government interference and control – and government from sectarian religious influence. On this week’s show, Welton will welcome Rachel to the program to discuss challenges at the intersection of religion and government today, and where there are glimmers of hope.
Earlier this month, we marked the third anniversary of the devastating massacre at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people, mostly LGBTQ, were murdered and 53 others were injured while celebrating Pride. Most Americans honored those impacted at Pulse with vigils, remembrance, and a recommitment to working for equality, but one group of self-described religious leaders marked the solemn occasion with a “Make America Straight Again” conference in Florida. Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, will join Welton on State of Belief this week to discuss what happened at this hateful conference and how we can support the rights of LGBTQ+ people in the face of such vitriol.