Since 2021, a coordinated campaign to censor certain literature, curricula, and ideas has spread like wildfire across American public schools and libraries. The growing movement to ban books has found startling success, and authors and characters representing marginalized communities – including minority faiths – have been disproportionately singled out. As we mark the start of the annual Banned Books Week, we welcome representatives from two leading free expression organizations on The State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, to discuss the evolving tactics of the book banning movement and how we can fight back together. 

Tracie D. Hall has led the American Library Association since 2020. With a background ranging from librarian to working at the Joyce Foundation and with the City of Chicago, Tracie has seen the power of words, literacy, and books from many angles, and is deeply concerned about how book bans threaten our individual freedoms. She joins Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, host of The State of Belief, this week to preview Banned Books Week, the national campaign, and lessons learned from successful initiatives to oppose book bans.

Sabrina Baêta is on the Freedom to Read team for PEN America, an organization working to defend free expression at home and abroad. She has been on the front lines of the group’s campaign to document the rising number of book bans in state after state, helping to raise awareness about why these efforts undermine our public schools and our First Amendment rights. Sabrina joins Paul to discuss PEN America’s new report, Banned in the USA: The Mounting Pressure to Censor, data on religiously-motivated bans, and the impact all of this is having on writers and readers.

Interfaith Alliance is mobilizing faith communities to defend our freedom to read – on October 18, we’re bringing together Congressman Jamie Raskin and leading advocates on Capitol Hill to discuss how we can mobilize in defense of public education and democracy.

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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