Dec 08 2006
Sally Quinn points out that religion is playing an increasingly prevalent role in the public square. “I don't think I picked up the paper once this week without reading a story that has something to do with religion, but that is larger than religion,” she says.
Jon Meacham acknowledges that covering religion in the media is a difficult task. “Too often, we [in the press] tend to value the passion and the volume of people's voices on these issues more than we do the expertise and the nuance,” he says.
“On Faith” brings together dozens of religious experts and leaders, including former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Pastor Rick Warren. Reverend Gaddy and Bishop Jane Holmes Dixon, who serves as a senior adviser to The Interfaith Alliance, are both members of the panel.
According to the “On Faith” website: “And so, in a time of extremism, how can people engage in a conversation about faith and its implications in a way that sheds light rather than generates heat? The point of our new online religion feature is to provide a forum for spirited talk, drawing on a remarkable panel of distinguished figures from the academy, the faith traditions, and journalism.” The program is online at: http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/.
Also on the show: Reverend Barry Lynn, president of Americans United for Separation of Church and State on the Supreme Court’s decision to rule on the constitutionality of the president’s Faith-Based and Community Initiatives program.
Dec 15 2006
Washington, D.C. – On this Sunday’s “State of Belief,” The Interfaith Alliance Foundation’s show on Air America Radio, Reverend Welton Gaddy examines the controversy over a promotional video for an evangelical Christian group filmed inside the Pentagon. Welton is joined by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, president the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and author of With God on Our Side. The foundation has called on the Department of Defense to investigate whether military regulations about religious proselytizing were violated.
The evangelical organization, Christian Embassy, produced a ten minute video that features uniformed military officers praising the efforts of the Christian Embassy to spread their faith within the military. Much of the video was filmed inside the Pentagon, and the officers, including three colonels and four generals, appear in uniform. Nothing indicated that the views expressed by these officers on the video were their own and not the views of the DoD.
“When you have senior members of the United States military doing what they did… it absolutely violates the Constitution as well as several DoD regulations,” says Weinstein.
Last week, disgraced former Majority Leader Tom DeLay launched his political blog, and the first posting condemned the Military Religious Freedom Foundation for its opposition to the Christian Embassy video. Weinstein responds angrily to the criticism “Tom Delay is a disgrace to America, a disgrace to the Constitution, and he is a big coward. I would love to do three rounds with him in an HBO special,” he says.
Weinstein, a former White House lawyer in the Reagan administration, believes the implications of this incident go far beyond the First Amendment. “This video is the number one best recruiting tactic for al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah,” he says. “It strengthens our enemies because it adds a religious dimension to our military operations.”
Also on the show: Dr. William Shulman, president of The Association of Holocaust Organizations, discussing the Holocaust denial conference in Iran; Jay Bakker, son of evangelist Jim Bakker and star of the new documentary series “One Punk under God;” and Sally Turner, religion reporter for The Independent in London, discussing the popularity of the Church of the Jedi Order in the U.K.
Statement of Rev. Dr. Welton Gaddy: On U.S. Representative Virgil Goode’s Recent Letter Regarding the Quran and Muslims
Dec 21 2006
Representative Goode’s comments about the Quran and Muslims are further evidence of the deterioration of tolerance and religious liberty in this country. It is beyond belief that an elected representative of the American people would so willfully demonize another religion based on nothing but xenophobic nonsense. It would seem to me that when taking the oath of office, one should place their hand on the book that holds the most meaning for them – be that the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Quran, or the Constitution.
Dec 22 2006
Washington, D.C. – “State of Belief,” The Interfaith Alliance Foundation’s show on Air America Radio, is planning two special episodes to close out 2006 in an interfaith celebration of the winter holiday season. Also, Rev.
What traditions do Jewish families observe on December 25th? What is the American Christmas experience like for Muslim immigrants? How do Buddhists view the Christmas season? And how do interfaith families deal with the holiday? Welton poses these questions and others to: Air America Producers Brendan McDonald and Dan Pashman; comedian Marc Maron; Arien Bahawdry, a Muslim immigrant; Dmitri Bakhroushin, a member of the Buddhist Council of New York; and Reverend Jane Holmes Dixon, former Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.
Also, last Sunday, nine Episcopal parishes in
Diana Butler Bass, a church historian and author of Christianity for the Rest of Us, tells Rev. Gaddy this conflict is inevitable. “Much of the new life in the Episcopal Church is coming out of our more liberal congregations,” she says. “The conservative churches have been sidelined by churches that are more open.” In fact, Butler Bass indicates, “I have an incredible amount of evidence that the vitality of the Church is growing from the center to the left in the Mainline.”
Also on the December 31 show: Rabbi Irwin, author of the book Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life; Dr. Obrey Hendricks, author of the book The Politics of Jesus.