The alarming rise of faith-based discrimination and religiously-motivated violence has raised urgent questions about who we are as a nation and how we can build a better future. Across our communities, grassroots activism from faith voices has shown that there is a better path forward if we’re willing to learn from people of all backgrounds and beliefs and move forward together. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, we’ll discuss how religious extremists undermine faith and freedom, and how courageous faith-based leaders are pushing back.
Ten years ago this week, a white nationalist shot and killed seven members of the Sikh community in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. The scars from this horrific attack won’t fade anytime soon – but the strength of the Sikh community in the years since has highlighted the resilience of our faith communities. Kiran Kaur Gill, executive director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education fund, will join Rabbi Jack Moline, filling in for State of Belief host Rev. Welton Gaddy, to reflect on the Oak Creek tragedy and how Sikh teachings informed his community’s response.
It’s not enough to bemoan the decades-long effort by the Religious Right to distort the meaning of “religious freedom” to justify discrimination; it’s essential to reclaim that language, and ensure public understanding of an inclusive vision of religious freedom. Dr. Sabrina Dent, President of the Center for Faith, Justice, and Reconciliation and Founder of Reimagine Religious Freedom, will join Jack to discuss how religious privilege fuels majority grievances around this issue. She’s giving a talk titled Humanizing Religious Freedom for All as part of the American Humanist Association Speaking of Humanism Series.
The rise of Christian nationalism is one of the greatest threats to American democracy. As more and more politicians embrace this ideology, what were once fringe beliefs are becoming increasingly mainstream – but the promotion of these ideas isn’t exclusive to the white Evangelical movement. Sarah Riccardi-Swartz, a professor of religion at Northeastern University, will join Jack to discuss how these dangerous beliefs are popping up in other denominations as well, as laid out in her Religion Dispatches article, Orthodox Church’s Authoritarian Anti-LGBT Statement Poses Serious Threat to Academic Freedom.
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