This Sunday's State of Belief Radio: Special Edition
Welton is joined in the studio by Rabbi Jack Moline, rabbi of Agudas Achim congregation of
"We have to open doors and overcome roadblocks,” Welton says. “We have to forge a common ground with some whom most of us probably would not have anything to do with.”
We also hear from Reverend Susan Russell, Senior Associate for Parish Life at All Saints Church in
Welton also shares highlights of The Interfaith Alliance’s National Leadership Gathering held earlier this month in
Rev. Welton Gaddy - Public Enemy Number One!
Washington, March 30 – On this Sunday’s "State of Belief," The Interfaith Alliance Foundation’s show on Air America Radio, host Rev. Welton Gaddy talks with photographer Jose Camilo Vergara about the churches of the urban poor; tells listeners how the so-called "War on Christians" has branded him America's public enemy number one; and agrees - gasp! - with Bill O'Reilly!
Welton also explores U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's recent words -- and gestures -- with David Cole, law professor at Georgetown University and Legal Affairs correspondent for The Nation.
Reverend Debra Haffner, Director of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, talks about how organized religion has contributed to sexual confusion in America -- and the growing religious movement to affirm sexuality. And a New Jersey councilman ponders what one does when your religion and your town mandate different days of rest.
Jose Camilo Vergara's latest collection, How the Other Half Worships, features over 300 photographs of churches, pastors and congregants in some of America's poorest urban neighborhoods. Vergara tells Welton what he has learned about religion in America, and the ties that link human beings: "The religion I was seeing was a much more emotional religion. People were not afraid to come right up and say, 'Thank God I have a driver's license! Thank God my son got out of jail!"
Welton discusses his strong feelings "related to all this talk about Christian persecution. I feel my American values are under attack, not my Christian values... The faith I know has no fear of living in a secular society. It has no difficulty pledging allegiance to a government that treats all religions equally and also respects those who hold to no religion at all. I am wary of people who would sacrifice the very freedom that gives them the right to sound ludicrous complaints, who would compromise the essence of democracy, to bring the whole nation in line with their vision."
The Faith Community Loses a Patriot, the Administration forgets about our poor and Welton's Curch Speaks Up!
The Interfaith Alliance Urges President to Eliminate Unconstitutional Faith-Based Office
Washington, April 18 – Today, in response to the resignation of James Towey as director of the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives, The Interfaith Alliance again called on President Bush to end his unconstitutional experiment in government funding of religion and to eliminate that White House office and similar offices in federal departments and agencies.
“Mr. President, for the sake of religious liberty, please stop mixing religion with politics in the appropriations process and stop violating the Constitution by sponsoring and funding favored religious groups,” said the Rev. Welton Gaddy, president of The Interfaith Alliance. “A past director and a past deputy director of the president’s faith-based office have testified that it is and has always been a program designed to gain political advantage rather than to increase help to those in need. While the president has talked endlessly about the need for federal funding of religious organizations, he has decreased total funds going to faith-based social service providers in recent years.
“Because the Congress wisely refused to approve the president’s programs to funnel money to organizations that discriminate in hiring and that proselytize recipients, the president issued several executive orders in his first term bringing in five years of public policy that have been bad for religion and bad for democracy.
“We believe that appropriate partnerships between religious organizations and the government for the purpose of helping those in need can be of great mutual benefit. For many decades, organizations like Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services and United Jewish Communities have performed invaluable services with financial assistance from the government. But they carefully separate religious activities from their 501(c) (3) social services programs. They follow all civil rights laws and they don’t discriminate in hiring based on religion. We encourage the continuation of federal support for such healthy partnerships, but neither job applicants nor recipients of assistance should have to risk the sacrifice of their religious freedom.”
Is America a Theocracy and if so, What’s Next!?
Phillips’ book has been the center of attention for several weeks now as he claims the Republican Party is edging toward theocratic government. Phillips, a former Republican strategist, warns that
"As the religious imprint on the Republican Party grew,” Phillips says, “there was an increase in the blurring of the lines between the church and the state.” And he warns of President Bush's "odd view of himself," claiming that the President possesses an "egocentricity verging on messianic self-appointment."
James Towey, Director of the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives, resigned this week, but the news was barely reported. In his remarks he calls critics of the faith based initiative “secular extremists” – to which
“The faith based initiative is the perfect example of what is wrong at the intersection of politics and religion today,”
Hollyn Hollman, General Counsel at the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, joins
“We’re going to see that a lot of harm has been done and the office has been counterproductive,” Hollman says. “Our concerns are legal and moral. There is a fundamental conflict in the faith based initiative this Administration has pushed.”