Religious freedom is measured by how free individuals are to pursue minority beliefs… And that measure is particularly noteworthy for the freedom to follow an entirely secular set of values. This week on The State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush talks with Gary McLelland of Humanist International, and Nicole Carr of the American Humanist Association about the 2023 Freedom of Thought Report.

We also hear from two award-winning religion journalists, Adelle Banks and Jack Jenkins of Religion News Service. Each brings their top five religion news stories from the past year, as well as thoughts on the themes most likely to make headlines in 2024.

“Our vision is that freedom of religion and belief is a mainstream human right…The idea that religious rights can trump, for example, the rights of women, of LGBT folks, etc. If we can push forward the human rights of all, including religion and belief minorities and others, that really will benefit everybody.” – Gary McLelland, Chief Executive at Humanist International.

“One of the things that gives me a lot of hope is the spectrum of people and groups who are joining arms to try to protect the country against Christian nationalism. And it’s as much people of faith who are doing it as humanists and atheists.” – Nicole Carr, Interim Executive Director, American Humanist Association.

“Clergy have to deal with people divided, not just about the direction of their denomination of their faith group, but just all of these cultural issues. And it’s like it’s an added job description for these clergy that they have to try to help people through.” – Adelle Banks, Religion News Service Project Editor and National Reporter.

“Folks espousing forms of Christian nationalism are either yelling at school boards or being elected to school boards. And we’re seeing various different groups revving up for this 2024 election in ways that kind of have sparked elements of Christian nationalism, various churches and candidates.” – Jack Jenkins, author and Religion News Service National Reporter; author, American Prophets: The Religious Roots of Progressive Politics and the Ongoing Fight for the Soul of the Country.

To expand our reach, State of Belief  is now being distributed via the Religion News Service family of podcasts. Be sure to subscribe to the next generation of State of Belief today via AppleSpotifyAmazon, or  at

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