Category Archives: Uncategorized

#68: The “Love Jihad”

This month, we talk to Laura Dudley Jenkins, author of Religious Freedom and Mass Conversion in India, about the Indian conspiracy theory known as the “love jihad.” And in One Last Thing, Dan splits theological hairs in discussing an animated Star Wars series, while Tim is feeling (ahem) somewhat more expansive.

Some of the things we discussed in this episode:

Dan mentioned the Deepa Mehta film Fire and the resulting riots.

Dr. Jenkins mentioned this story of a boy whose clock was mistaken for a bomb and the research that suggests it’s easier to inoculate people against conspiracy theories than debunk them after the fact.

She also talked about how farfetched theories provide good signals of group unity. And this story from last summer is a good example of QAnon craziness interfering with genuine efforts to stop sex trafficking.

Tim mentioned the Satanic Panic, which in some ways is still going on.

Dan’s One Last Thing was Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Tim’s One Last Thing was The Expanse.

0:00-1:12: Introduction

1:16-39:07: Jenkins interview

39:12-44:24: Dan’s OLT

44:25-47:42: Tim’s OLT

47:43-48:51: Credits

#67: Rural Conservatism and Dan’s New Book!

This month we talk to Ross Benes, a native son of Brainerd, Nebraska who has written a book about his hometown and his journey away from it and its conservative values. And then Dan tells us all about his new book, The Oxford Handbook of the Bible and American Popular Culture. And in One Last Thing, Dan has been visiting Northern Ireland and Tim has been visiting eastern Tennessee.

Some of the things we talked about on this show:

Mr. Benes mentioned What’s the Matter with Kansas? and Dinesh D’Souza’s What’s So Great About Christianity.

That film trilogy Dan mentioned is The Qatsi Trilogy by Godfrey Reggio.

Dan’s One Last Thing was Derry Girls.

Tim’s One Last Thing was The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young. (But also: go watch In and Of Itself.)

0:00-2:04: Introduction

2:08-20:44: Benes interview

20:49-33:22: Clanton interview

33:26-35:52: Dan’s OLT

35:52-38:55: Tim’s OLT

38:55-39:55: Credits

39:58-40:12: Outtake

#66: Religious Clothing Norms and the Biden Inauguration

This month, we talk to a researcher at the Pew Research Center about her work on the harassment women face around the globe when their clothing is deemed either too secular or too religious. And then we have a chat about the Trump years just ended and our expectations for the newly-installed Biden Administration. And in One Last Thing, Dan is engaging his “lizard brain,” while Tim is worrying about those who spread rumors of lizard people.

Some of the things we talked about in this episode:

We can’t talk about Christian nationalism without mentioning the work of Katherine Stewart, Bradley Onishi, and Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry.

In the early days of the Trump Administration, there was much talk of Trump playing the role of King Cyrus.

Dan mentioned this book by Lynn Davidman, and Tim referenced this article about the backlash to one particular Biden executive order.

Donald Trump has a lot of respect for the sacrament of communion.

Dan’s One Last Thing was the NBC sitcom Superstore.

Tim’s One Last Thing was the book A Lot of People Are Saying.

0:00-1:10: Introduction

1:15-7:18: Majumdar interview

7:23-38:57: Inauguration conversation

39:02-41:46: Dan’s OLT

41:47-44:56: Tim’s OLT

44:57-46:02: Credits

46:06-46:18: Outtake

#65: What Is Religion, Anyway? What Is Politics?

After five-plus years of talking about the intersection of religion and politics, this month we step back and actually try to define our terms, with the help of our old friend Courtney Bruntz. And in our year-ending One Last Thing, Dan reaches for a hopeful note and Tim gives up on humanity.

Some of the things we talked about this month:

Dan and Courtney discussed definitions of religion by Schliermacher, Durkheim, Freud, Ninian Smart, and Stephen Prothero.

Dan mentioned this article by Kathryn Loughton.

Courtney discussed this new book by Richard Jaffee.

Tim’s six-word definition of religion comes from this book by Harold Lasswell.

Dan’s year-ending One Last Thing was the podcast Office Ladies.

Tim’s year-ending One Last Thing was the film God’s Not Dead.


Happy New Year! Thanks for listening in 2020.


0:00-1:33: Introduction

1:37-43:00: Conversation with Dr. Bruntz

43:04-47:16: Dan’s OLT

47:17-49:57: Tim’s OLT

49:58-51:03: Credits

51:07-51:19: Outtake

#64 1/2: The Orange Wave, Episode 0

We’re taking a month off to lick our psychic wounds, so this month friend of the show Bradley Onishi has graciously agreed to allow us to share Episode 0 of his Orange Wave project, which we discussed on our last episode. If you like what you hear, you can find all ten episodes at their web site, along with transcripts and suggested readings. Happy listening!

#64: The Orange Wave

This month we talk to friend-of-the-show Bradley Onishi from the podcast Straight White American Jesus about his extraordinary podcast miniseries The Orange Wave. And in One Last Thing, Dan goes highbrow and Tim does…not.

Some of the things we talked about in this episode:

Brad mentioned several books: The End of Empathy by John Compton, The Shadow Network by Anne Nelson, Unholy by Sara Posner, and The Power Worshippers by Katherine Stewart. (And here’s last month’s show, featuring Ms. Stewart!)

Brad also mentioned President Trump’s declaration that “I don’t think science knows” and Senator Mike Lee’s recent tweets about democracy, which drew a lot of attention.

Tim discussed the empirical literature on conspiracy theories, including the finding that there are about as many truther Democrats as birther Republicans.

Dan’s One Last Thing was the podcast Erroll Garner Uncovered.

Tim’s One Last Thing included this Channel 4 report, but was mostly about the trailer for Fatman. (Note: In the episode, Tim wrongly identified Channel 4 as part of the BBC. It is a for-profit, commercial station. He regrets the error.)

0:00-2:04: Introductions and an announcement

2:08-35:54: Onishi interview

35:59-38:30: Dan’s OLT

38:31-40:41: Tim’s OLT

40:41-41:48: Credits

#63: The Power Worshippers

In this episode, we talk to Katherine Stewart, author of The Power Worshippers, about her deep dive into the world of Christian nationalism. And in One Last Thing, we’re both seeking solace and a sense of normalcy in the midst of these weird and turbulent times.

NOTE: This interview was conducted before Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away.


Some of the things we talked about on this show:

Ms. Stewart mentioned the work of Kristen Kobes Du Mez, author of, among other things, Jesus and John Wayne.

She also referenced the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Americans United for Life (AUL).

Dan’s One Last Thing was Street Food: Asia.

Tim’s One Last Thing was Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame.


0:00-1:32: Introduction

1:36-38:46: Stewart interview

38:50-41:25: Dan’s OLT

41:26-43:31: Tim’s OLT

43:32-44:39: Credits

#62: The Politics and Religion of QAnon

This month we talk to Marc-André Argentino about where QAnon came from, where it might be going, and how it’s starting to look more like a religion than a simple belief or set of beliefs. And in One Last Thing, Dan is relaxing with a cartoon, and Tim is grumbling about a cartoonish theological argument.

Some of the things we discussed in this episode:

Mr. Argentino made reference to theodicy, Dominionism, and “red pilling.”

He also mentioned Pizzagate, the Wayfair conspiracy theory, the “Satanic panic,” Plandemic, and the recent “Save the Children” rallies. And he talked about the Omega Kingdom Church, though he didn’t mention it by name.

Finally, he discussed the work of Joseph Uscinski and the idea of hyperreality invented by the philosopher Jean Baudrillard. Here is an article Argentino published about QAnon as a “hyperreal religion.”

Dan brought up the fact that QAnon is global now, and referenced a recent Atlantic article by Adrienne LaFrance.

Tim discussed his own Twitter run-in with the tribe of Q.

Dan’s One Last Thing was about Star Trek: Lower Decks.

Tim’s One Last Thing was about God’s Not Dead.


0:00-1:21: Introductions

1:25-37:39: Argentino interview

37:44-40:43: Dan’s OLT

40:43-45:37: Tim’s OLT

45:37-46:41: Credits

46:46-46:53: Outtake


#61: Supreme Court Wrap-Up 2020

This month we continue our annual tradition of trying to ask questions about the Supreme Court term gone by that are intelligent enough to be worthy of the answers we get from friend-of-the-show Ann Duncan. And in One Last Thing, Dan is watching the story progress in a show that he loves and Tim is watching a movie in which no one makes any progress at all.

Some of the things we talked about in this episode:

The cases from this term were Bostock v. Clayton County, June Medical Services v. Russo, Espinoza v. Montana, Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, and Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru.

The past cases which came up in our conversation were Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.

Ann mentioned Blaine amendments.

Dan’s OLT was season two of Hanna.

Tim’s OLT was the movie Palm Springs.

0:00-0:56: Introduction

1:00-42:45: Duncan interview

42:50-46:00: Dan’s OLT

46:01-48:39: Tim’s OLT

48:40-49:49: Credits