Press Releases

Religion’s Role in Lieberman-Lamont Primary

New York, August 11 - On this Sunday’s "State of Belief," The Interfaith Alliance Foundation’s show on Air America Radio, Rev. Welton Gaddy examines the role that religion played in Senator Joe Lieberman’s defeat by Ned Lamont in Tuesday’s Connecticut Democratic primary. Welton also speaks with David Kuo, BeliefNet.com columnist and former deputy director of President Bush’s unconstitutional White House Office of Community and Faith-Based Initiatives.

 

Former Connecticut House Majority Leader David Pudlin, a prominent Lamont supporter, joins Welton in discussing the Lamont victory, and more specifically, how religion played a role in the Lamont campaign.

 

With the recent appointment of a new director of the president’s faith-based initiative -- which has illegally established government-funded religion -- Welton welcomes the input of former deputy director of the office, David Kuo, who in 2003 resigned in protest.

 

"The White House named a new director to the office, and sent out a press release at 7 p.m. one Thursday evening, and demoted the person's position in the office, and I think that speaks volumes on what they intend to do with the initiative going forward," Kuo says.

 

Kuo also expresses his frustration with the partisan lines that have been drawn around religion. "I'm deeply disappointed that Democrats haven't been more explicitly embracing of people of faith, and I'm very disappointed that Republicans have been continually dismissive of programs to care for the poor.  Nothing changes, it seems."

 

Also, Welton launches State of Belief's new segment, One Nation, Many Faiths, Vote 2006 -- an in-depth look at the role religion is playing in various campaigns across the country.

Religious and Ethnic Intolerance in Politics

New York, August 18 - On this Sunday’s "State of Belief," The Interfaith Alliance Foundation’s show on Air America Radio, Rev. Welton Gaddy focuses in on religious and ethnic intolerance within the political arena, sitting down with Dave "Mudcat" Saunders, author of “Foxes in the Henhouse: How the Republicans Stole the South and the Heartland, and What the Democrats Must Do to Run ‘em Out,” to discuss Virginia Senator George Allen’s recent “macaca” comment and President Bush’s use of the term “Islamic Fascists.”

 

Mudcat states that "politics is about man's will. God's will is about His will; to bring Him into this political controversy, to unite these people who want to see their church from space is blasphemy."

 

Welton also speaks with United Church of Christ minister Robin Meyers, author of "Why the Christian Right is Wrong: A Minister's Manifesto for Taking Back Your Faith, Your Flag, Your Future," on the crossing of politics and religion. Rev. Meyers asserts that "a lot of people fell asleep in the Church, and allowed the gospel to be hijacked by people with a political agenda."

 

Plus, don’t miss the man behind the Church of Jon Stewart.

State of Belief Special Edition: Katrina, One Year Later

New York, August 24 - On this Sunday’s special edition of "State of Belief," The Interfaith Alliance Foundation’s show on Air America Radio, Rev. Welton Gaddy revisits Katrina, one year later. Welton discusses the progress – and missteps – that have occurred in the recovery process, and explores the role that faith has played throughout it all.

 

Welton speaks with Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO of PolicyLink, an organization that has been leading the rebuilding efforts through the past year. Blackwell explains that Katrina recovery should play a major role in the upcoming elections, and that "politicians should be talking about how resources are going to be available for roads, parks and schools -- the things people need to feel welcomed back and successful in their communities."

 

Tom Woodruff, of the Service Employees International Union, talks to Welton about their New Orleans Worker Resource Center, and we hear from experts at the recent Katrina Justice Hearings.

 

Plus, Welton discusses the ways in which ordinary citizens from across the country can continue to help Katrina recovery, one year later.

“Jesus Camp”: Turning Kids into Christian Soldiers

(Washington, D.C.) – On this Sunday’s "State of Belief," The Interfaith Alliance Foundation’s show on Air America Radio, Rev. Welton Gaddy takes a look at the new film “Jesus Camp,” a documentary about an evangelical Christian summer camp for children in Devils Lake, North Dakota. 

 

But this is no ordinary Bible camp – here, campers perform spiritual war dances and learn how to bless a cardboard cut out of President Bush. The mission of this camp is to teach kids to become dedicated Christian soldiers in "God's army." The film’s directors, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, join Welton to discuss the film, which is now playing in New York and will be released nationwide later this fall.

Welton considers the implications of the film with Mike Papantonio, co-host of the Air America Radio show, Ring of Fire.  Papantonio concludes that the camp crosses the dangerous line between religious education and political indoctrination.  “When you look at everything going on in this administration, you have to ask, ‘How can the leaders of this camp be telling those kids that President Bush is God’s anointed savior for our country?,’” he says.

 

In his “Preaching to the Choir” segment, Welton observes, “Knowing the difference between indoctrination and education of young people is crucial, especially in the realms of religion and politics.  The results can vary as widely and dramatically as a person who grows up to live as the puppet of a particular religious ideology – at the greatest extreme, becoming a suicide bomber – or a person who develops a capacity for critical thinking that appreciates questions as well as answers and refuses to place faith in conflict with honest inquiry any more than with personal compassion.”

 

Plus, Welton highlights a more pluralistic summer camp, the Interfaith Alliance’s own LEADD camp.  The week-long program, which stands for Leadership Education Advancing Democracy and Diversity, empowers high school students to become informed and engaged citizens in our religiously diverse nation.  Welton states, “I want to argue vociferously for a form of religious education aimed at the development of a mature person who can think and act for herself or himself about religion, a young person who sees religious actions not as some form of warrior behavior, but as evidence of responsible engagement with and in a civil society.”