In 2013

This weekend, tune in to State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, to hear some hopeful news about efforts to protect the poor and hungry from the effects of the latest federal budget crisis; to learn about the conservative Christian origins of the latest iteration of McCarthyesque rhetoric; and to find out why, for some, the term the “Nones” is unhelpful and inaccurate.

A Circle of Protection
The seemingly-endless series of manufactured budget crises continues to dominate public debate here in Washington, but polls show Americans becoming increasingly disinterested in these crises. This week, Rev. David Beckmann joins Welton to discuss why it’s crucial for people of faith to remain engaged – and to offer three concrete steps any of us can take toward that end. Rev. Beckmann is president of Bread for the World, and the recipient of the World Food Prize for his work. He is also one of the many signatories to last week’s Circle of Protection letter to national political leaders calling on them to resist cutting food and poverty programs in the name of solving our federal budget crises.

McCarthyism: 2013 Edition
For those of us paying attention, and old enough to recognize McCarthyism when we hear it, the sensationalist tone Texas Senator Ted Cruz has brought to Washington during his first few months in office is starting to bring back memories. There are analysts who say the enduring power of charging one’s political opponents with anti-American beliefs is due, in part, to the religious or quasi-religious identity of one’s political supporters. Sarah Posner, senior editor at Religious Dispatches Magazine joins Welton to discuss the McCarthyesque demagoguery of Senator Cruz, and the conservative Christian origins of that kind of rhetoric. You can read what she’s written on the subject here. We also touch on Tim Tebow’s decision to cancel his appearance at Pastor Robert Jeffress’ First Baptist Church in Dallas.

“Don’t Call Us the ‘Nones’”
Several national polls last year identified a fast-growing subgroup among Americans, the religiously-unaffiliated, often using the shorthand moniker: the “nones.” However, author Christian Piatt says the label does a disservice to those who are “spiritual but not religious.” He joins Welton on State of Belief this week to explain why the newly-popular label is unhelpful and inaccurate. Christian’s column “Don’t Call Us the ‘Nones’: In Praise of Religious Independence,” appeared this week in the Washington Post “Guest Voices” section.

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