In 2021

Disunity continues to plague the United States in powerful and often threatening ways. As an overtly Christian observance of a National Day of Prayer looms, how does that bring together those championing the “humble re-dedication of the Nation to Almighty God” and the tens of millions of non-Christian and secular Americans? We’ll also look at our houses of worship from two perspectives: as targets that need protection, and as places of refuge for the desperate.

This Thursday is the National Day of Prayer. Unfortunately, political religious right activists have claimed this observance to propagate the myth that the United States was founded as an exclusively Christian nation. That is why since 2003, May 6th has also been recognized as the National Day of Reason, calling for acts of public service inclusive of adherents to both secular and sacred belief systems. Kevin Bolling, executive director of the Secular Student Alliance, will join Rev. Welton Gaddy, host of State of Belief, to discuss the benefits of this alternative in a nation as richly diverse as ours.

As President Biden marks his first 100 days in office, we can begin to see the impacts of his administration on our country’s immigration policies, allowing thousands of immigrants – including undocumented people – and their loved ones to breathe easier. Welton will sit down with the Rev. Randall Keeney, vicar of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, which offered four years of sanctuary to Juana Tobar Ortega, who late last month finally walked free.

Hate and discrimination have been on this rise over the past several years, and minority faith communities have often been a target. Now, one response comes in the form of the Interfaith Security Council in New York City. No, it’s not a band of ordained superheroes, but a diverse group of faith leaders and experts working together to keep congregants safer. We’ll hear from one of those leaders, Rabbi Robert Kaplan. He heads up the Center for Community Leadership at JCRC.

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