#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

#53: The Meaning of Dec. 25 and Anti-Semitic Violence

For the holidays, we’re digging into why Christmas is celebrated on December 25–and no, it’s not just because of Saturnalia. And then we chat about the sharp rise in anti-Semitic violence the past few years and whether or not there’s any reason for hope. And in One Last Thing, Dan read another audiobook this month and Tim has been flipping through the scholarly journals.

Some of the things we talked about this month:

Our guest, Dr. McGowan, brought up mariology.

Here are discussions of the planned attack on the synagogue in Pueblo, CO and the successful one in Poway, CA. And here is a description of the vandalism in an Omaha, NE cemetery.

Dan mentioned a verse in the Gospel of John that refers to Jews as the children of the devil. (And here is why it shouldn’t be taken out of context.)

Dan’s OLT was about Mythos: The Grek Myths Retold, by Stephen Fry.

Tim’s OLT was about “Kids These Days: Why the Youth of Today Seem Lacking,” by John Protzko and Jonathan W. Schooler.

0:00-0:58: Introduction

1:02-27:06: McGowan interview

27:10-50:40: Anti-Semitic violence discussion

50:45-53:49: Dan’s OLT

53:50-56:49: Tim’s OLT

56:50-57:49: Credits

#52: Christian Right in the States and Faith in the 2020 Democratic Nomination Fight

This month, we talk to Tim’s longtime friend Kimberly Horn Conger about her work documenting the Christian Right at the state level. Then she sticks around to help us break down how the 2020 Democratic hopefuls are using faith, and whose rhetoric might be most effective. And in One Last Thing, both Dan and Tim are reflecting on bad behavior.

Some of the things we discuss in this episode:

Dr. Conger referenced several Supreme Court cases, including Obergefell v. Hodges, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and Webster v. Reproductive Health Services.

She also mentioned the book The Rights Turn in Conservative Christian Politics, by Andrew Lewis.

Dan mentioned The Culture of Disbelief, by Stephen Carter.

Dan’s One Last Thing was about How to Behave Badly in Elizabethan England, by Ruth Goodman.

Tim’s One Last Thing was about the Twitter account @presvillain and the essay “On Bullshit.” (Tim also mentioned Calvinball. If you don’t know Calvin and Hobbes, drop everything and buy one of Bill Watterson’s books.)

0:00-1:41: Introduction

1:45-20:58: The Christian Right in the states

21:02-38:19: Faith in the 2020 Democratic nomination fight

38:24-41:13: Dan’s OLT

41:14-45:57: Tim’s OLT

45:58-47:01: Credits

47:05-47:24: Outtake

#51: Holy Disunity and Trump as Messiah

This month we talk to Presbyterian minister Layton Williams about her new book Holy Disunity and her thesis that authenticity is more important than unity. Then the two of us settle in to chat about the “quasi-messianic” language that’s come out of the White House recently. (Note: we knew when we recorded this episode that the events we discussed in our B-segment would have been overtaken by other scandals many times over by the time it came out, but we had no way of knowing there would be an actual impeachment inquiry underway. So enjoy this window into the more innocent time that was the middle of last month.)

Some of the things we talked about in this episode:

Here is the tweet and the video that made our second segment possible, and here is the article that inspired us to talk about it.

Dan mentioned this moment as possible evidence of Trump’s cognitive decline.

Tim’s OLT was about the New York Times1619 Project.

And Dan’s OLT was about the audio versions of Robert Caro’s biographies of Lyndon Johnson.


0:00-1:44: Introduction

1:48-22:33: Williams interview

22:38-45:44: “Trump as messiah” conversation

45:49-48:09: Tim’s OLT

48:10-51:22: Dan’s OLT

51:23-52:21: Credits

#50: Teaching the Teachers and What We’ve Learned

It’s our 50th episode! This month we talk to Christopher Murray, a DC-area high school teacher who started a program to teach his colleagues about the religious diversity they might find among their students. And then we spend a few minutes chatting about what we’ve learned in our first 50 episodes. Finally, in One Last Thing, Dan is going on vicarious coffee dates and Tim is revising the history of early 90s TV.

Some of the things we discussed in this episode:

Here is the article that inspired our talk with Chris Murray.

Tim referenced this famous experiment.

Dan’s OLT was about Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

Tim’s OLT was about Zack Morris is Trash. (He especially loves this episode.)

0:00-1:18: Introduction

1:22-14:43: Murray interview

14:47-28:47: 50th episode chat

28:52-31:56: Dan’s OLT

31:57-35:09: Tim’s OLT

35:10-36:10: Credits

#49: Supreme Court Wrap-Up 2019

This month we return to our August tradition of discussing the 2018-19 Supreme Court term with friend-of-the-show Ann Duncan. And in One Last Thing, both Dan and Tim have been watching TV of a supernatural variety.


We burned through a lot of Supreme Court cases in this episode. If you want to read the decisions for yourself, the cases are American Legion v. American Humanist Association (Establishment clause), Box v. Planned Parenthood (abortion), Bucklew v. Precythe (death penalty), Madison v. Alabama (also death penalty), Gamble v. US (abortion again, kind of), and Commerce v. New York (the census).

Ann referenced this tweetstorm by the President of the United States of America and recommended the latest season of NPR’s Embedded.

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

Tim’s OLT was about the Amazon Prime miniseries Good Omens.

0:00-1:24: Introduction

1:28-40:36: Supreme Court discussion with Dr. Ann Duncan

40:41-43:06: Dan’s OLT

43:06-45:36: Tim’s OLT

45:36-46:40: Credits