In 2019

On Friday, May 17th, the US House of Representatives passed a historic piece of civil rights legislation – the Equality Act to ensure that LGBTQ people have the same rights and protections regardless of where they live in the country. The work to passage, however, was not without pushback as opponents of the bill advocated for a license to discriminate in the guise of religious freedom. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, we will take a look back at the history of religious freedom in this country and at the so-called Culture Wars to understand how what might feel like how it’s always been, is actually be a relatively recent development.

Surprising perhaps only people who haven’t been paying attention since former State Senator Wendy Davis’ 13-hour filibuster in 2013 or last year’s near defeat of Sen. Ted Cruz, progressive voices and activism is growing in Texas. Pushing back on a conservative state legislature, local organizers and advocates across the state are working hard on the ground on issues such as gun violence prevention, LGBTQ civil rights expansion and the preservation of the separation of church and state. To get the latest on what is happening in Texas, Rev. Welton Gaddy, host of State of Belief, will speak with Dan Quinn, research director for the Texas Freedom Network, one of the leading progressive organizations in the Lone Star State.

Religious liberty has been a cornerstone of American history, values and self-concept since long before our founding. But the meaning of that term has changed profoundly – and not only in the relatively recent culture war era. A new book, Sacred Liberty: America’s Long, Bloody, and Ongoing Struggle for Religious Freedom, author Steven Waldman traces the history of religious freedom. He will join Welton on State of Belief this week to share his critical insights into what the greatest dangers are to our first freedoms in our time based on what he’s learned about our history.

Multiple states, including Alabama and Missouri, this week passed the harshest restrictions yet on abortion in an attempt by some conservatives to spur a lawsuit that causes the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Amid the headlines it can seem like the culture war over abortion has always been this way. However, the reality is that around 1984, Evangelical circles abruptly changed position, making opposing abortion their number one goal, joining Catholics. But even Catholic opposition to abortion has not been unanimous throughout the history of the Church.  Dr. Daniel C. Maguire, professor emeritus of Moral Theological Ethics at Marquette University, will join Welton this week to talk about the historical position of the Catholic Church, which he detailed in his latest article for Religion Dispatches at Rewire News: “St. Antoninus: The Patron Saint of Pro-Choice Catholics.”

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