Young people are leading the fight for a more liveable world, and many are following in the footsteps of Greta Thunberg, who delivered an impassioned speech on climate action at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday. Standing in contrast to 16-year-old Thunberg was President Trump, who not only skipped the vast majority of meetings on climate, but instead chose to spend his time wooing the religious right. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, we will discuss President Trump’s speech on so-called religious freedom.

Following President Trump’s address at UNGA, Interfaith Alliance’s President Rabbi Jack Moline said it best: “If the president is serious about promoting true religious freedom worldwide, he should start with his own policies.” The Rev. Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook, former U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom under President Obama, will join Rev. Welton Gaddy, host of State of Belief, to discuss how the definition of “religious liberty” has changed since her time in office.

With religious extremism and hatred of the “other” measurably on the rise, programs that facilitate interfaith cooperation are more important than ever. And that is precisely what the OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership does: build, engage and train interfaith peacemaking teams. Rev. Gaddy will sit down with Rev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana, Executive Director of the OMNIA Institute, to discuss how religious and political power converge to empower majorities over minorities.

Anyone with a finger on the pulse of faith and politics is sure to be familiar with Religion News Service. RNS has been an invaluable resource to State of Belief since our inception. Bob Smietana, Editor-in-Chief of Religion News Service, will join Welton to discuss the state of religion journalism in this era of “fake news” and demonization of the press.

The Supreme Court will take up the issue of employment protections for LGBTQ workers on October 8th. Having devoted a significant amount of his time to fighting for equality because of, not in spite of, his religious convictions as well as moral beliefs, we’ll hear a Word fro Welton on this important issue.

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