In 2023

We are seeing religious rhetoric and moral authority misused in many parts of our society. In state legislatures, the kind of sectarian language that would have never been uttered just a few years ago has become commonplace. And religious agendas are turning up at every level of government. In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis is enacting the anti-LGBTQ, racist and reactionary agenda of a far-right fringe of the electorate. Nationally, Americans United for Separation of Church and State seeks to preserve the wall between religion and government that protects true religious freedom for all.

The DeSantis administration in Florida seems to be in a race with the state legislature to impose as many narrow, exclusionary policies and laws as possible. Erasing racist history, banning books, outlawing “Woke” rhetoric as if it were some kind of nefarious agenda… The list is long, and the impact is daunting. Matt Hartley is a former board member and chair of the Interfaith Center of Northeast Florida and serves as the director of the Interfaith Center at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. He joins Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, host of State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio program and podcast, to examine the impact all this is having in education – and in families – in the state.

Americans United was founded 75 years ago by folks from across different ideological and theological backgrounds. Today, the nonprofit is led by Rachel Laser,  who has a long track record of uniting faith-based and secular leaders to make progress on the most important issues of our time. Rachel joins Paul to discuss the organization’s history, its current initiatives including Americans United’s lawsuit challenging Missouri’s draconian abortion bans, and the upcoming Summit for Religious Freedom in Washington, D.C. and online on April 22-24.

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