Press Releases

Bishop Jane Holmes Dixon Joins Staff of The Interfaith Alliance

Washington, May 18 – The Interfaith Alliance today announced the appointment of Rt. Rev. Jane Holmes Dixon to the new position of Senior Advisor for Interreligious Relations.

 

Dixon’s experience and leadership within the church will take TIA to a new level of expertise in the national religious community. She has tirelessly worked for religious cooperation and social justice throughout her career.

 

“Bishop Dixon’s work has provided a prophetic and inspirational emphasis throughout the faith community for many years and we are privileged to have her on staff to drive The Interfaith Alliance to be a leader in the fight to uphold our religious and civil freedoms,” said the Rev. Welton Gaddy, President of The Interfaith Alliance.

 

Dixon was ordained as priest in 1982 and was only the second female named bishop by the Episcopal Church where she served Washington, D.C.

 

“My personal experience as a female in church leadership gives me a foundation on the importance of reaching out to people across the spectrum,” Dixon said.  “With the support of The Interfaith Alliance I will make sure everyone has a voice at the table and that each voice is heard.”

 

Dixon has served as chair of TIA’s Board of Directors and was named Washingtonian of the Year in 2001 by Washingtonian Magazine for promoting “tolerance and togetherness” following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Faith, Religion and the Environment

 This Sunday, May 28, on The Interfaith Alliance Foundation's radio show State of Belief, Rev. Welton Gaddy takes an in-depth look at the role of faith and religion in protecting our environment with several leaders in the field. This dialogue hit the mainstream news in February when a coalition of evangelical leaders sponsored an initiative pushing for environmental action.

Gary Gardner, Director of Research at the WorldWatch Institute and author of the book Inspiring Progress: Religions’ Contributions to Sustainable Development, explains why religion is “an indispensable factor in achieving a sustainable world. Religion can help us rethink some of our roles and move them up the ladder.”

Welton talks with Chief Jake Swamp of the Mowhawk Nation, founder of the Tree of Peace Society, about the value of preserving our planet for generations still to come and shares a traditional Mohawk prayer for the Earth. Chief Swamp also gives his advice to the President about the environment.

“I would advise [President Bush] to look his children in the eyes and say to them, ‘The decisions I make today…will not hurt my grandchildren.’”

The show will also feature Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches and Rev. Claire Butterfield, head of Chicago’s Faith in Place.

This issue is extremely important to people of faith and is at the center of debate on what are the next steps to improve our planet for the future. State of Belief is committed to keeping this issue on the front burner and encourages everyone to do what you can in local communities to increase knowledge of global warming.

What Should the Definition of Marriage be?

Washington June 1 – On this Sunday’s "State of Belief," The Interfaith Alliance Foundation’s show on Air America Radio, Rev. Welton Gaddy talks with the president of the Unitarian Universalist Association and hears from grassroots religious leaders about the Federal Marriage Amendment. Welton also talks to Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune about religious leaders recent declaration on violence against women in religious congregations.

The Federal Marriage Amendment is scheduled to go to the Senate floor next week for debate and a vote.  The amendment has been called a “partisan tool” in election year politics as the Administration panders to its radical religious right base.  Many people say the amendment writes discrimination into the Constitution without cause. One of those people is the Rev. Bill Sinkford, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

“This is not an arbitrary or theoretical discussion,” Sinkford says. “This is about real human beings.”

Sinkford has performed many same-sex marriages in his church and remembers the first one with pride.

“My overriding feeling was one of joy as it is with the celebration of any couple,” Sinkford says. “[Same sex marriages] pose no threat to other marriages and they pose no threat to the institution of marriage.”

 

Three grassroots clergy speak about coming to Washington, D.C. last week to talk to their senators about the amendment. Rev. Steve Copley, Rabbi Eugene Levy and Rev. Betty McCollum talk about the reasons many clergy do not support this amendment.

The Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune, founder and senior analyst for the FaithTrust Institute, joins Welton to discuss the National Declaration by Religious Leaders to Address Violence Against Women, saying religious leaders must acknowledge and confront such violence. 

“There is a too common belief among our religious leaders that these things don’t happen in their faith community,” Fortune says.

State of Belief Greatest Hits: Part 1

Washington June 9 – This Sunday’s "State of Belief," The Interfaith Alliance Foundation’s show on Air America Radio, highlights the best moments in the show’s brief history. Guests to be highlighted include: Sen. Patrick Leahy discusses Supreme Court nominations; Esther Kaplan explains the power behind the religious right and their goals; NPR correspondent and high priestess of Wicca Margot Adler explains the problems with reporting on religion in current society; and author Chris Hedges tells Welton about a totalitarian movement in the U.S. that is similar to the Middle East.

 

The show will also include two of its weekly features, Your Voice and Preaching to the Choir. In Welton’s commentary he reminds listeners how the White House office of Faith Based Initiatives is harmful to us all saying, “the president issued several executive orders in his first term that have been bad for religion and bad for democracy.”

In just six months State of Belief has done what no radio show before has by bringing religion and politics together for a helpful discussion. In covering topics from the right-wing takeover of the government and the federal marriage amendment to the environment and the economy Welton has opened the doors for dialogue among religious leaders and politicians as well as all Americans.

“I knew the concept of our show was a good one,” said Welton, “but I had no idea it would be widely embraced across the country. Each week I hear from people who listen to it on the radio, iPod, or computer and their reaction is amazing. Our discussions have sparked conversations at work, in the home and in houses of worship and I could not be more pleased.”