In 2021

From our local communities, to state legislatures, to even the international stage, we’re seeing powerful figures assert their own twisted interpretations of religious values to justify unconscionable behavior. In order to successfully push back against these efforts, we first need a clear-eyed understanding of what we’re up against and where these leaders have it wrong. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, we will examine these narratives that favor the beliefs of some over the rights of all, and discuss how we can challenge these dangerous ideas.

The shared affinity between the American political Religious Right and Vladimir Putin is no secret. But as the brutal Russian dictator, who some conservatives have called a “defender of Christian values,” continues to lay siege to Ukraine, it’s worth taking a closer look into how this odd love affair came about. Rev. Welton Gaddy, Host of State of Belief, will be joined by Religion Dispatches Senior Correspondent and Modern Russian History scholar Dr. Chrissy Stroop, whose recent article is headlined, Russia and the US have more in common than you might think.

For decades, religious conservatives in this country have twisted the values of Christianity in order to suit their own radical political aims. Listeners of State of Belief are well aware that we deplore this dynamic on a regular basis; what’s sometimes missing from the analysis, however, is a reference point as to what key Christians ethics and morals actually are. Ethicist David Gushee, author of the new book Introducing Christian Ethics, will talk to Welton about the true essence of Christian values.

For those of us who believe deeply in justice, dignity, and equality for all people, regardless of sexual identity or gender orientation, this was a rough week. Conservative governors in Texas and Iowa have launched an all-out assault on the rights of trans youth, while the Florida legislators are moving full steam ahead with their despicable “Don’t Say Gay” bill. But thanks to the efforts of courageous grassroots organizers, we know that these radical politicians won’t get the last word. Val Benavidez, who leads the Texas Freedom Network and is at the forefront of challenging these hateful laws, will join Welton to discuss how we can fight back.

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