Whether in Christchurch, New Zealand, or here in America, in communities around the world there is a great need for healing and reconciliation that answers a scriptural call for a peace that includes beating swords into plowshares. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, we’ll hear how the “swords” of hate speech, guns and other tools of violence are being beaten down and transformed into positive change.

It was yet another heartbreaking mass murder in a sacred space. In the aftermath of the slaying of 50 Muslims in two mosques on Friday, March 15, the world fell to its knees in horror. The New Zealand government has taken immediate action to address the availability of assault weapons, such as the ones used in the mass killing. The most important question now needs to be, how have actual Muslims been impacted by this horrific event as expressions of hate and bias continue unabated. To unpack the violence experienced in the Christchurch community and to address this very question, State of Belief host Rev. Welton Gaddy is grateful to bring reporter Emma Green back to the show. Emma recently took a comprehensive look at the aftermath of the attacks in New Zealand with a piece entitled, “This Could Have Been Their 9/11 Moment,” in the latest edition of The Atlantic magazine.

Just a few years ago, we were sounding the warning about the well-funded, self-righteous political religious right as they faced the reality of defeat in the culture wars. In an exile of sorts, they have expended a significant amount of both cash and energy on exporting their theocratic, hate-laden agenda to vulnerable countries from Russia to Uganda. Today, they are back from exile and ensconced in the halls of American power, doing all it can to disassemble the secular, pluralistic nature of our nation. To explain her in-depth coverage of that success, Welton Gaddy will speak with investigative journalist Sarah Posner about her recent chilling report for Vice Magazine entitled, “Is Authoritarian Europe Becoming the New Hope of the Religious Right?”

And here in the United States – where we experience our own disproportionate and ongoing epidemic of gun violence in our communities – two men are taking quite literally the call to “beat swords [or guns] into plowshares.” Co-authors Michael Martin and Shane Claiborne are currently on a nationwide bus tour, complete with an actual blacksmith, that invites people to bring weapons and turn them into garden tools. Welton will sit with Shane and Michael to discuss the tour and their brand-new book, “Beating Guns: Hope for People Who Are Weary of Violence.”

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