In 2016

With the number of religiously-unaffiliated Americans on the rise and the fiercely secular Bernie Sanders still in the race for the Democratic nomination, secular voters may be finding their voice. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s radio show and podcast, Welton hears from Larry Decker of the Secular Coalition for America about this weekend’s Reason Rally in Washington, DC. Then Lisa Anderson joins us to discuss how the Sojourner Truth Leadership Circle at the Auburn Theological Seminary empowers women and girls of color through education and research. And finally, Welton gets the chance to speak with Rev. Peter Laarman – author of “The Sanders Insurgency: A Return to the Secular Sacred?” – which was recently featured in Religion Dispatches.

Secular Coalition for America’s Big Weekend in DC
It may seem like overtly religion-driven appeals for votes are less frequent this election than in years past, but a closer look reveals that faith-based electioneering is still pervasive, especially at the local level. Meanwhile, non-believers are still viewed with suspicion by many Americans. That’s despite the growing number of Americans who identify as religiously-unaffiliated. Larry Decker, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America, speaks with Welton about one bold attempt to remedy this situation – the Reason Rally this weekend at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. You’ll find out what to expect at the event and what needs to happen for our nation’s leaders to give secular voters their due.

“Trouble the Waters, Heal the World”
This week we hear from Lisa Anderson, Vice President of Intersectional Engagement and Strategic Convening with the Sojourner Truth Leadership Circle at the Auburn Theological Seminary, about de-marginalizing populations that are all too often left in the shadows and empowering voices that would otherwise be unlikely to be heard. Lisa is a compelling speaker and a pioneer in valuing the intersection of the sacredness of the body and the power of self-care in advancing the work of justice.

Bernie Sanders and the Secular Sacred
In a recent piece for Religion Dispatches, Peter Laarman explored the historical context for the enthusiasm of young and middle class voters for Bernie Sanders’ nascent revolution. Drawing parallels between the 19th century populist movement and the struggles of working class Americans today, he cites Mark Twain who once said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” Welton and Rev. Laarman explore how Sanders and the movement that’s sprung up around him could continue to thrive and grow beyond the election and regardless of its outcome.

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