With the presidential election a little over a year away, campaign season is in full swing. For Democrats especially, this is a cycle unlike any other, with a record-breaking number of candidates vying for the Party’s nomination. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, we’ll look into what else sets this election cycle apart.

With the Democratic primary becoming increasingly competitive, we’d like to take a step back and analyze the different factors at play in a race where issues, polling and media coverage can change in a flash. Greg Lebel, a veteran political expert and current advisor to presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg, will join Rev. Welton Gaddy, host of State of Belief, to discuss how religion and faith is influencing the campaign narrative and national dialogue thus far.

For people who follow a particular faith, religious background, or even tendency toward spirituality, an underlying reason many are are drawn to these worldviews is help with grappling with life and common challenges. Grief, for one, is an inevitable and life-altering experience. Rev. Gaddy will sit down with J. Dana Trent — an ordained Baptist minister, professor of World Religions and Critical Thinking at Wake Tech Community College, and author of Dessert First: Preparing for Death While Savoring Life — to discuss her perspective on how we can more constructively think about death across religious beliefs.

In our final segment this week, we’ll hear from the man who has been part of the show for almost a decade, but with whom listeners may not be as familiar. Ray Kirstein, State of Belief’s producer, will join Welton to discuss his experience working on our show since September 2010, and what has kept him interested and involved for so long.

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