#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

#60: Nones in the US and Canada

This month we talk to sociologists Joel Thiessen and Sarah Wilkins-Laflamme about their new book None of the Above: Nonreligious Identity in the US and Canada. And in One Last Thing, Dan has been contemplating the apocalypse while Tim just wants to annoy the villagers.

Some of the things we talked about in this episode:

Dr. Wilkins-Laflamme mentioned the work of Phil Zuckerman, The Disappearing God Gap?, and this open access article written by our guests.

Dan’s OLT was Justice League Dark: Apokolips War.

Tim’s OLT was Untitled Goose Game.

0:00-1:12: Introduction

1:16-60:15: Thiessen and Wilkins-Laflamme interview

60:19-65:13: Dan’s OLT

65:14-67:15: Tim’s OLT

67:15-68:22: Credits

68:25-68:50: Outtake

IC Supplemental: Trump Vs. Democracy

On our first supplemental episode in almost three years, we talk about the president’s decision to assault peaceful protesters in order to walk to a church and hold up a Bible. Here are the books and articles we referenced along the way:

How Democracies Die, by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt

The Christians Who Loved Trump’s Stunt,” by McKay Coppins

Trump’s Brandishing of the Bible Plays Into a Cultural Legacy of Racism and Colonialism,” by Katie Edwards and Helen Paynter

Trump’s Church Photo Has No American Precedent. Does It Have One in Fascism?” by Talya Zax

Christian Nationalism Talks Religion, But Walks Fascism,” by Samuel L. Perry and Andrew L. Whitehead

Here are the reactions to Trump’s stunt by Franklin Graham, Ben Sasse, and Pat Robertson.

The New York Times reported on Trump’s approval slipping among evangelicals.

And here’s an early oral history of the incident.


Finally, this happened after we recorded, but it seems only fitting to include these images of the portion Pennsylvania Avenue that has been ceremonially renamed “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”

#59: Christian Nationalism & COVID and AKA Jane Roe

On this episode of Impolite Conversation, we invited Andrew Whitehead, co-author of Taking America Back for God, back on the show to explain to us how Christian nationalism complicates life in a pandemic. Then we chatted about the new FX documentary AKA Jane Roe. And in One Last Thing, Dan is glad he gave a show another chance, and Tim has branched out into a new form of comfort viewing.

Some of the things we talked about on this show:

Dan mentioned Bruce Lincoln’s book Holy Terrors.

Andrew talked about this sign from an anti-closure rally.

He also mentioned two books, Thy Kingdom Come by Randall Balmer and The Power Worshippers by Katherine Stewart.

Here is the story of Nino Vitale, who refuses to wear a mask because he believes his face is made in the image of God.

And here is some polling information regarding evangelicals, and regarding COVID.

Finally, here is some background about Operation Rescue.

Dan’s OLT was season 2 of Titans.

Tim’s OLT was Gourmet Makes from Bon Appetit. He recommends starting with the Pop-Tarts episode.

0:00-1:01: Introduction

1:05-21:50: Whitehead interview

21:54-38:20: AKA Jane Roe discussion

38:24-40:58: Dan’s OLT

40:58-43:42: Tim’s OLT

43:42-44:44: Credits

#58: The American Church’s Complicity With Racism

On this month’s episode, we talk to Jemar Tisby, author of The Color of Compromise, about the shameful history of the American church’s complicity with racism and racial oppression. And in One Last Thing, Dan and Tim switch personalities: Dan has been listening to a podcast, while Tim has been listening to an audiobook.

Some of the things we discussed in this episode:

Mr. Tisby mentioned the books The Civil War as a Theological Crisis, by Mark Noll and White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo.

Mr. Tisby also talked about GT Gillespie, Myrlie Evers and the Supreme Court decision Shelby County v. Holder. He also encouraged listeners to watch all of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which too often gets reduced to the single sentence about “the content of their character.”

Tim brought up Lee Atwater’s infamous comments about race and winning elections, and he and Mr. Tisby talked about Republicans’ strange insistence on turning ballot access into a partisan issue.

Dan mentioned Orval Faubus, Vincent Harding, and the book Noah’s Curse, by Stephen Haynes.

Dan’s OLT was the podcast Office Ladies.

Tim’s OLT was the book Destiny of the Republic, by Candice Millard.

0:00-1:19: Introduction

1:23-34:59: Tisby interview

35:04-40:11: Dan’s OLT

40:11-43:47: Tim’s OLT

43:48-44:55: Credits

#57: Robb Ryerse Is Running For Our Lives

This month on Impolite Conversation, Tim talks to Robb Ryerse of Brand New Congress and Vote Common Good about his work with those organizations, as well as his own run for Congress in 2018, which he chronicled in his memoir Running For Our Lives: A Story of Faith, Politics, and the Common Good. And in One Last Thing, Dan has been watching gritty adaptations of lighthearted comics and Tim just wants to hold at bay the anxieties of our current moment.

Some of the things we talked about in this episode:

Pastor Ryerse was inspired to run for Congress by this episode of the Robcast from evangelical author Rob Bell.

He also mentioned Brian McClaren’s idea about a constitutional reading of Scripture and the Netflix documentary Knock Down the House.

Tim and Pastor Ryerse talked about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s speech about her faith during an Oversight Committee hearing in February.

Dan’s One Last Thing was about the Netflix series Titans.

Tim’s One Last Thing was about Arvo Part’s “Spiegel im Spiegel.”

0:00-1:02: Introduction

1:06-26:54: Ryerse interview

26:59-29:47: Dan’s OLT

29:48-31:56: Tim’s OLT

31:57-33:03: Credits

#56: Nerd Podcasting Supergroup!

This month on Impolite Conversation, we join forces with the guys at Straight White American Jesus (you should really go subscribe) to form a nerd podcasting supergroup! Then…the four of us just sit around and talk about evangelicals in America and Brazil. And in One Last Thing, Dan and Tim have both been watching Amazon Prime, but for very different reasons.

Some of the things we talked about on this show:

Tim went back to his high school days reminiscing about The Arsenio Hall Show, but what Dan wanted was Super Friends.

Mitt Romney’s historic vote in the impeachment trial might have something to do with Donald Trump’s relative unpopularity in Utah. In any case, Utahns seem to be okay with it.

No one (in America, anyway) knows more about Bolsonaro and Brazilian evangelicals than Amy Erica Smith.

Tim mentioned this climate change commercial from 2007.

Dan mentioned the Left Behind series and the bluegrass song “Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb.”

Tim also referenced Jonathan Chait’s article about how Republicans hold a globally unique position on climate change among mainstream conservative parties.

Dan just wants everyone to remember that Anita Bryant once got a pie in the face.

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

Tim’s One Last Thing was about Troop Zero.

And in case you missed the reference, here is Ron Swanson enjoying Lagavulin. And here is more information about the Voyager probes and the golden records.

0:00-1:42: Introduction

1:46-40:53: SWAJ conversation

40:57-44:02: Dan’s OLT

44:02-47:30: Tim’s OLT

47:31-48:30: Credits

48:34-48:57: Outtake

#55: The Politics of Chosen-ness and Trump on Religious Liberty

For February, we talk to Michael Coogan about his book God’s Favorites: Judaism, Christianity, and the Myth of Divine Chosenness. Then Dan and Tim about the new rules announced by the Trump Administration last month regarding religious liberty. And in One Last Thing, Dan has been staying in to watch TV, and Tim has been going out to the movies.

Some of the things we talked about in this episode:

Dan mentioned the book I Still Believe and the classic article “Canaanites, Cowboys, and Indians.”

Dr. Coogan alluded to those evangelicals who believe Trump’s election was the result of divine intervention. Here is the show we did in March 2019 on the movie The Trump Prophecy.

You can read about the event at which Trump announced his new religious liberty rules (and see video of some of it) here.

This is the famous (or infamous, depending on you point of view) Christianity Today editorial that Tim referenced.

Dan’s OLT was The Mandalorian.

Tim’s OLT was Knives Out. He also mentioned this conversation about the movie at the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast.


0:00-1:28: Introduction

1:32-21:43: Coogan interview

21:48-32:21: Religious liberty conversation

32:26-36:02: Dan’s OLT

36:03-39:24: Tim’s OLT

39:25-40:30: Credits

40:36-40:52: Outtake

#54: Uighur Erasure in China

This month, we get our good friend Courtney back in front of the microphone to discuss the “cultural genocide” occurring in Xinjiang province in northwest China. And in our year-reviewing One Last Thing, we’re both thinking about Netflix original series as ways to encapsulate 2019.

There isn’t a lot of stray talk in this episode, but you can learn more about the oppression of the Uighurs here, here, here, and here. And here is the UN definition of genocide.

Dan’s OLT was about season 3 of Netflix’s Stranger Things.

Tim’s OLT was about Netflix’s Russian Doll.

0:00-1:00: Introduction

1:05-38:44: Uighur conversation

38:48-40:41: Dan’s OLT

40:42-43:41: Tim’s OLT

43:42-44:48: Credits

44:53-44:57: Outtake