March 12, 2019
New Jersey Senator and Democrat presidential hopeful Cory Booker sounds a lot like a modern day evangelist when he exhorts a crowd. He is a person of religious faith and he knows how to stir hearts and minds with words of rebellious hope. His platform includes a call for criminal justice reform in America and the need for that reform. And what is true in all areas of life, the fruits we’re now harvesting as a culture in terms of the criminal justice system have deep roots in our common history – and, maybe surprisingly – in our religious history.
Carmen talks with Dr. Katharine Gerbner from the University of Minnesota in an effort to understand the relationship between criminalization and how religious practices are policed by those in power. So, while we may not be a theocracy nor do we have an official state religion, we have, in our history, privileged some religious expressions over others – to the point of criminalizing some religious practices. Think here: Salem witch trials and how what we call mainline Protestants treated Baptists in the early days of the nation. What professor Gerbner’s research adds to the conversation is the often untold stories of Black religious practices criminalized by slave owners.
Carmen also talks with Travis Wussow from the ERLC about the recent meeting of the U.N. in Geneva. They discuss the history, role and contentious position of the U.N. when it comes to human rights and specifically religious freedom.