State of Belief - August 29th - 2015

August 30, 2015

The Struggle for Religious Freedom Goes South

From the Deep South to Southern Europe, struggles for religious freedom are sending ripples across our communities. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, Rev. Welton Gaddy takes a look at three different conflicts facing religious communities. We’ll hear about Texas Freedom Network’s fight to keep Christian education out of public schools. We’ll check in with our friend Suhag Shukla at the Hindu American Foundation on the latest debate about adding a Hindu monument to the Ten Commandments monument at the Arkansas State House. And Catherine Orsborne, director of the Shoulder to Shoulder campaign, will tell us about how anti-Muslim bigotry stops us from helping those refugees most in need.

What Did you Learn In School Today?
Across the country the Religious Right and their allies in Congress, state legislatures and local school boards, have waged a quiet campaign to bring religious teachings into public schools and to funnel public money to private schools. As they say, everything’s bigger in Texas, including the Religious Right’s agenda. Dan Quinn, communications director at the Texas Freedom Network, will join Welton this week to fill us in on the most recent struggles around religion in school and what the implications are for the rest of the country.

The Very Dire Consequences of Islamophobia
We all know that anti-Muslim bigotry takes a serious toll on our country. We see it in our political debates, in protests against mosques and community centers, and in policing and national security. But have you ever thought about how it changes our debate about refugees and immigration? This week Catherine Orsborn of Shoulder to Shoulder will discuss how anti-Muslim bigotry has stopped the U.S. and countries across Europe from adequately addressing the refugee crisis in Syria, Sudan and across the Middle East.

The Statues and Statutes of Religion Freedom
When we debate religious freedom in America, we usually debate the statues and laws that govern religious practice in our nation. But, increasingly often these days, we’re talking a lot about statues. The Arkansas State Legislature has just mandated a memorial to the Ten Commandments on the capitol grounds. So a group of Hindus petitioned the state to add a Hindu statue to the display, a request that has garnered surprisingly broad interfaith support. Tune in to hear from Suhag Shukla, co-founder and executive director of the Hindu-America Foundation, talk about why the work to make these public displays of religion more inclusive is so important.

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