Nearly 20 years ago, health officials declared measles eliminated in the United States. Now, an outbreak has caused the number of cases to surge to the highest level in 25 years, in large part due to declining vaccination rates. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, we will explore tension between religious freedom and the public good.
Despite religious leaders from a wide array of faith traditions encouraging adherents to vaccinate their children, some parents are still claiming a religious exemption. Donald G. McNeil, Jr., New York Times science and health reporter, has been closely covering the measles outbreak. This week, he will join State of Belief host Rev. Welton C. Gaddy on the show to examine what’s fueling religious objections to vaccines and how leaders are responding to protect the health of children.
The Trump era death-by-a-thousand-cuts assault on our free press continues seemingly without an end. While most Americans are distracted by the crush of tweets and outrageous headlines we’ve come to expect, the White House has begun revoking press passes for media and almost entirely stopped holding press conferences. The level of attacks on free press may be a new normal here in the United States, but reporters and media in other countries have long faced similar threats. Welton will sit down with David Crumm from the International Association of Religion Journalists to discuss the state of religion journalism and to mark World Press Freedom Day, which was first designated by the United Nations in December 1993 to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom.
A recently released annual review of anti-Semitism from the Anti-Defamation League identified 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents in 2018. Issued in the aftermath of the shooting at the Chabad in Poway, the ADL’s report details the near historic levels of anti-Semitism in the United States, including a doubling of assaults and the single deadliest attack against the Jewish community in American history. Welton will speak with Aryeh Tuchman, associate director of the Center on Extremism at the Anti-Defamation League, about the grim findings and what they mean both for the Jewish community and for our country.