Beliefs review: Religion and social justice

"I think the most perverse phrase in the Bible [is], "Am I my brother's keeper? Am I my sister's keeper?" With the implication that we're not attached to each other; we have no communal attachments. I want to say: we do. They exist across our town lines, they exist across our national lines, they exist across our religious and cultural lines; we're attached to one another. And I'm going to figure out ways that religion - and religious stories - can help us act in that way."

-Rev. Steve Jungkeit, First Congregational Church of Old Lyme

As we look back on our first six months of Beliefs, we’ve noticed some themes in the stories and topics we’re bringing you. We’ve covered origins and practices, abuse and pain, and hate speech and bigotry.

Another theme we’ve seen is the enduring commitment in religion to social justice and community. This week on Beliefs, we’re returning to three compelling moments that speak to the way religion asks us to help and protect one another. 

Political activist and social justice advocate Rabbi Rachel Timoner from Congregation Beth Elohim is our first guest. Timoner speaks on the inherent responsibility she feels toward social justice as a rabbi and Jew. 

Continuing our review of community and social justice is our conversation with Rev. Steve Jungkeit, senior minister of the 350-year-old First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, who speaks with guest host Karen Hayward about a Puritan approach to modern society.

Our last conversation is with Fr. James Martin, a Jesuit priest, scholar, author, and editor-at-large of the Jesuit magazine “America.” Fr. Martin is the author of the book, “Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter Into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity.”