Between President Trump’s State of the Union address dripping in politicized religion-talk, the National Prayer Breakfast, the Iowa caucuses, another Democratic presidential debate, and Senator Romney’s invocation of faith to defend his vote on impeachment, there is a lot to talk about. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, we will break some of this down and explore the impact of these events on our country.

This week’s first-in-the-nation caucus did not go as planned, riddled with logistical complications and clearly partisan sabotage resulting in a race that, as of today, has not been officially called by the AP. Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Executive Director Connie Ryan will join Rev. Welton Gaddy, host of State of Belief, to discuss just what happened in Iowa on Tuesday night, and how the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa will play a role in the election process this year.

While best-selling author Jeff Sharlet is best known for investigative books like The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, recently adapted as a Netflix miniseries, and C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy, the former having been adapted as a Netflix miniseries, a more recent personal crisis sent him out to the places we find ourselves when it’s late at night and we’ve nowhere else to go. Jeff met often-invisible people and rediscovered himself in the process – and captured images and stories that evolved into his latest book, This Brilliant Darkness: A Book of Strangers. At a time of profound and painful division, this search for what we have in common has been called “A visionary work of radical empathy.” The release date is Tuesday, February 11th and the author joins Welton with a moving preview. 

For many members of the LGBTQ+ community, faith is complicated. Many queer people have been hurt in the name of faith, but religion is central to the identity of many others. Michael Vazquez, the new director of the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion and Faith program, will be with us to discuss what brought him to this prominent position, and what he sees as some of the program’s priorities.

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