This past week marked the 26th anniversary of the implementation of RFRA, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The legislation was intended to protect religious freedom for people of all faiths and none. Yet, many leaders of the religious right have attempted to weaponize the policy in recent years in order to justify bigotry. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, we will get an update on the work being done to combat hate, masqueraded as law, in our public offices.
Over the past several years, Americans have seen a significant increase in hostility toward and even attacks against minority communities. This is a sad reality for any community, but particularly so for a country that was founded on the values of pluralism and religious liberty. Deborah Lauter, executive director of the New York City Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, will join Rev. Welton Gaddy, host of State of Belief, to discuss the critical role the agency plays in a diverse city of eight million.
As we become more polarized, so do our perceptions of one another. All too often, Christianity is discussed on the two extremes of fundamentalist or social justice-oriented. The reality, however, is that the majority of Americans view their faith as far more nuanced. Welton will sit down with Dr. Mark Vernon — author of A Secret History of Christianity: Jesus, the Last Inkling, and the Evolution of Consciousness — to discuss the intersection of philosophy and psychology as it relates to Christian theology.
And finally, returning to the show this week is Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance. Jack will have an update on what the Alliance is doing to protect faith and freedom for all, from lobbying legislation on Capitol Hill to organizing grassroots efforts across the country.