#21: Race, Religion, and the Ultimate Punishment

In this month’s episode, we talk to Melynda Price about her book At the Cross: Race, Religion, and Citizenship in the Politics of the Death Penalty. She tells us what she learned while examining both the law and the public opinion surrounding this fraught issue. And in One Last Thing, Dan has been to the movies a lot and Tim has a special request of the audience.

Some of the things we talked about this month:

Tim and Dr. Price geeked out a little bit over the excellent podcast More Perfect, and especially the episode called “Object Anyway.”

Dan gave Marcus Theatres some love (and asked for swag).

Dan was also excited about the films Logan and The Lego Batman Movie.

Tim talked about the theory in Asymmetric Politics. And here’s that survey that shows Democrats are more interested in compromise than Republicans, at least in theory.

#20: The Politics and Theologies of “the Boss”

On this month’s Impolite Conversation, we take a break from the news of the world and get back to what’s really important: Bruce Springsteen. First, we discuss how Springsteen’s music informs his politics (and vice versa), and then we dive deep into the theologies (plural) that exist in the Boss’s lyrics. If you’re not familiar with Springsteen’s music, here’s a place to start. And in One Last Thing, Tim discussed the novel Underground Airlines, and Dan recommends the latest Star Wars story.

#19: Religion and Politics in Contemporary China

On this month’s Impolite Conversation, our friend Courtney Bruntz stops by the studio to talk us through which forms of religion are legal in contemporary China, which ones are banned, and which ones fall in between the two. And in a special year-end One Last Thing, we look back at OLTs past and find the ones that best sum up the year gone by.

Some of things we talked about in this episode:

Dr. Bruntz told the story of Chairman Mao and the mangoes.

Dan referenced this scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

Dr. Bruntz also told us about Xian’er, the robot monk, and his claymation adventures.

Dan’s One Last Thing to sum up 2016 was about the many releases from Marvel Studios.

Tim’s OLT returned to ESPN’s documentary Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?

Original air date: 1/3/17.

#18: Waging War on Christmas and Hanukkah

On this episode of Impolite Conversation, Tim and Dan get into the holiday spirit by talking about the alleged war on Christmas with historian Jarret Ruminski, who is skeptical that the war amounts to much, and then chat about what it’s like to be in a Christmas-obsessed culture and not be Christian. And in One Last Thing, Dan’s been re-reading a classic novel, and Tim recommends a heavenly TV show.

Some of the stuff we talked about this time: Dr. Ruminski mentioned John Gibson’s The War on Christmas, Stephen Nissenbaum’s The Battle for Christmas, and Corey Robin’s The Reactionary Mind. He also talked about the Coke web site that discusses the origins of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

In our conversation about Hanukkah and related issues, Dan brought up the Friends episode entitled “The One With the Holiday Armadillo” and the South Park song “A Lonely Jew on Christmas,” and brought up the fact that Barbra Streisand has a Christmas album. (She actually has three.)

In One Last Thing, Dan recommended A Confederacy of Dunces and Tim discussed this article about getting involved post-election, then recommended the NBC sitcom The Good Place.

Original air date: 12/6/16.

IC Supplemental: Election Results 2016

Will there be a difference between Trump the candidate and Trump the president? In this Impolite Conversation Supplemental, Dan and Tim talk (and vent, and curse a little) about the outcome of the presidential election and what it might mean for American Muslims and white evangelicals.

Original air date: 11/13/16.

#17: The “God Gap” and Final 2016 Campaign Thoughts

This month on Impolite Conversation, we talk with a scholar who wants to challenge the conventional wisdom on the “God gap,” and then look back on the 2016 campaign, as well as forward to the next four years. And in One Last Thing, Dan has a thing for bulletproof guys in hoodies and Tim ruminates on a little-discussed aspect of the polling process.

Some of the things we discussed on the show:

Original air date: 11/1/16.

#16: Reading the Bible With Latinx Eyes

On this episode of Impolite Conversation, Miguel de la Torre joins us to talk about how the marginalization of Latinx culture creates new space for Biblical interpretation. And in One Last Thing, Dan has been re-re-re-watching Captain America: Civil War and Tim has found A Few Reasonable Words to keep the pain away.

To read more about one of the biggest movies of the year, this is a good place to start.

The website for A Few Reasonable Words is here.

And you can find Harry Frankfurt’s great essay On Bullsh*t here (and lots of other places).

Original air date: 10/4/16.

#15: Teaching Evolution and Trump in Utah

For the month of September, Tim Hill and Dan Clanton discuss the challenges to teaching evolution with Josh Rosenau of the National Center for Science Education and Donald Trump’s difficulties in Utah with Quin Monson of Brigham Young University. And in “One Last Thing,” Dan’s gone to the movies again, while Tim is contemplating that which cannot see at all.

Click here to explore Joshua Rosenau’s work, and here for Quin Monson’s book. The Mary Sue article Dan quoted can be found here. And this is where you find out more about LUX and what comes next in the hunt for WIMPs.


Original air date: 9/6/16.

#14: Supreme Court Roundup 2016

On this episode, we chat with friend of the show Ann Duncan about the Supreme Court term that just ended and how the death of Justice Scalia affected the decisions (or lack thereof). And in One Last Thing, Dan finds beauty in the 2008 film For My Father and Tim finds ugliness in the ESPN documentary Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?

Original air date: 8/2/2016

#13: Using the Bible in Political Debate

In this month’s episode we talk with Frances Flannery, co-editor of the forthcoming book, The Bible in Political Debate: What Does It Really Say?, about how politicians use the Bible and how biblical scholars wish they would do so. And in One Last Thing (OLT), Dan is Fall-ing for Gillian Anderson, and Tim has found yet another podcast.


Dan’s OLT was about the BBC TV show The Fall

Tim’s OLT was about the new WNYC podcast More Perfect

Original air date: 7/5/2016