RELIGION

How July 4th and Juneteenth Can Bring America Together

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Happy Independence Day Weekend!

In this episode of The State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly podcast and radio program, host Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush interviews Rev. Thomas L. Bowen, White House Senior Advisor for Faith Engagement. As the nation celebrates the Fourth of July, the conversation ranges to Juneteenth, an important holiday celebrating freedom and the end of enslavement in this country.

Thomas discusses his upbringing in Elyria, Ohio, and the mentors who shaped his path, including Mary Wright Edelman and Gardner Taylor. The conversation explores the significance of religious freedom, interfaith unity, and the historical importance of Juneteenth. He highlights President Biden’s commitment to social justice, influenced by his Catholic faith, and the role of faith in fostering community and resilience. The episode underscores the intersection of faith, social justice, and public engagement in promoting unity and understanding in a divisive and dangerous time.

“We’re not only a nation of immigrants. We are a nation of refugees. I think we need to examine that and look at that, because when you put that image in your mind, you see that people are leaving something.  People are coming here for something. There’s something that makes them leave their family and come. And I think that we need to look at that. These these are stories. These are our history as a nation. This is a problem we get in: we don’t know our history, and we don’t know our story. I mean, there’s a certain aspects of it, but we’re not just a nation of immigrants. We are a nation of refugees.

– Rev. Thomas Bowen, White House Senior Advisor for Faith Engagement. He earned the nickname “DC’s Pastor” during his service in the Washington Mayor’s Office. An ordained Baptist minister, Thomas is the Earl L. Harrison Minister of Social Justice at Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., where he has served since 2002.



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