In 2020

Jogging while Black. That is what seems to have led to Ahmaud Arbery’s death – with three white men now under arrest for pursuing and killing him… because he fit a profile. Men who were only arrested two months later, once video evidence of the murder circulated on the Internet and massive outcry — led by Black activists across the country — forced those in power to act. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, we consider how the ongoing pandemic has further drowned out awareness of ongoing racism in our country, as well as how people of good will can counter the selfish demands to reopen everything regardless of the human cost, and research on how young adults are relating to religion.

Among the racial justice activists speaking out most fiercely against this pernicious display of racism and injustice in America are Black faith leaders. The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Ill., will join Rev. Welton Gaddy, host of State of Belief, to discuss his powerful response to the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery in the form of a sermonic film titled The Cross and the Lynching Tree: A Requiem for Ahmaud Arbery.

The dominant narrative around young people and religion emphasizes their strained relationship. And while we are seeing a rise of the “nones” — or those with no faith affiliation — this narrative fails to tell the whole story. Welton will speak with Melinda Lundquist Denton and Richard Flory, authors of Back Pocket God: Religion and Spirituality in the Lives of Emerging Adults, to discuss how young adults are expressing their faith today. The book is the culmination of a multi-year research project on the subject.

As often happens in matters of religious liberty these days, the Religious Right has continued to co-opt what it means to protect our first freedom in its crusade to re-open houses of worship in the escalating pandemic. The Catholic peacemaking organization Pax Christi, however, is offering another approach. Johnny Zokovitch, executive director of Pax Christi, will join Welton to discuss the group’s Pledge to Protect Others.

In this time of social isolation, do you know someone who would benefit from hearing the thoughtful, inclusive conversations we offer? Please share State of Belief with them!

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