State of Belief: Where Religion and Democracy Meet

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While some traditions and congregations may be more inclusive than others, LGBTQ+ people have always had a presence in faith communities. When faith communities are affirming of LGBTQ+ people, it creates opportunities for more welcoming spaces, challenges forces of division, and fosters a society that embraces pluralism and intersectionality. This affirmation and inclusion also expands religious freedom for all by promoting peaceful coexistence and challenging the exclusionary and discriminatory white Christian nationalist agenda.

This week on The State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush is joined by Dr. Royal G. Cravens III to explore the history of LGBTQ+ inclusion within faith communities. They discuss how faith and LGBTQ+ communities can empower each other to engage in positive political action and dismantle the barriers that often separate faith and acceptance.

“I think the one thing that’s so important for me to say now is that the idea that one person can’t be both LGBTQ+ and religious, that’s a false construction. It’s a political construction, largely. It’s something that was created to fuel political division. And so I think it’s really important if you can understand that, then it makes sense that LGBTQ+ people are deeply influenced by faith; that faith, how we’re socialized into it, because it’s part of the world that we live in, especially in American politics, that it makes sense that it would influence how LGBTQ+ people engage.”

-R. G. Cravens III, senior research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center. R.G.’s recent book is titled: Yes, Gawd! How Faith Shapes LGBT Identity and Politics in the United States. The author of several important recent SPLC reports, including CAPTAIN, which stands for Combating Anti-LGBTQ Pseudoscience Through Accessible Informative Narratives. he is the previous recipient of the Bailey and Cynthia Weber Award from the American Political Science Association and has held fellowships with the Social Science Research Council and Public Religion Research Institute.

Every week, Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush hosts lively, funny and poignant conversations with inspiring religious and civic leaders; as well as artists and activists from across the country. Listeners get a potent mix of spiritual wisdom, political strategy, and hopeful commentary from national and local leaders who are rising up to meet this urgent moment in America. With the tagline: “Where Religion and Democracy Meet,” State of Belief is a celebration of our nation’s diversities and an invitation to join together to, in the words of the great James Baldwin, “Achieve our country.”

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