Truce is a history podcast about the Christian Church, from pyramid schemes to political campaigns. Is the US a Christian nation? Why do some Christians like Donald Trump? Season three explores how the rise of communism and socialism in Russia changed the American Christian Church. Podcast Magazine says Truce is, "reminiscent of Malcolm Gladwell". Truce is hosted by Chris Staron, writer/ director of the films "Bringing up Bobby" and "Between the Walls", and author of "Cradle Robber".
A Christian Response to the Attack on the US Capitol
When I was a kid, we were playing at a friend's house. I fell and scraped up my knee pretty badly. Dirt and rocks were in the wound. My friend's mom was a nurse, so she got out her medical kit. She did her best to pick out what she could and then showed me her bottle of iodine. Iodine is a strong anti-microbial. Highly effective for cleaning wounds. But, like rubbing alcohol, it stings pretty bad.
Pain, she said, is not always a bad thing. Pain is what our body uses to tell us something is wrong. That we need to make a change. If your appendix hurts, it's helpful. Because if they didn't, you'd have no way of knowing that they were going to burst. Sometimes, we need to feel pain.
I don't know about you, but I'm pretty raw today. I haven't been able to focus on much. Yesterday, January 6, 2021, a mob of Trump supporters, incited by Donald Trump, stormed the Capitol building in Washington DC. It was an act of terrorism. A coup attempt on US soil. I'm angry. I'm scared. And what hurts the most is to know that evangelical Christians share the blame. We were a big part of his support base. Despite his stirring up rebellion, his lies about everything from the size of his inaugural audience to the shameful claims of a rigged election, his obvious conflicts of interest, racism, sexism, and potentially criminal dealings with Deutsche Bank, many of my people stand by his side. And there is nothing he can do to break that spell. Some Christians will support him no matter what.
I started this podcast three years ago for a lot of reasons. There is one big reason, though. I wasn't public about it. I've spent a lot of hours debating whether or not I should tell you. But I started Truce because I think my people, Christians, are headed for persecution. Not because of the Bible. Not because we believe in Jesus, and the world hates Jesus. But because we're acting like children. We worship oligarchs and their money, even though Jesus told us not to. We ignore the poor, even though Jesus commanded us to take care of them. We've acquired a taste for hate, even though the Bible says to love our neighbors. We've sought vengeance when it's clear that vengeance belongs to the Lord.
I don't think anyone deserves to be persecuted. Hear that. Nobody deserves persecution. But I think we're building a pretty strong case against ourselves. Christian media will try to put a positive spin on it, say it's not our fault. That the heathens hate Jesus. Know that this is the reason: because we turned our back on our calling in pursuit of power.
I probably wounded you in saying that. That's okay. We've grown so used to thinking that we deserve a life free from pain. I want to remind you that pain is not always a bad thing. It tells us when we're bleeding, when we're wounded, when we're sick. I think a lot about the Babylonian's taking over Judah in the Old Testament. God's people acted wickedly generation after generation. So they paid for their wickedness.
I won't offer us comfort today. I just won't. Because we won't change until it hurts. Our positive and uplifting media outlets have robbed us of our ability to lament. To grieve. Yes, pray for this country. But if we stop there, we're missing the point. We need to repent, turn from our evil ways, humbly and graciously serve others as Jesus served. Repent.
Until we do, let it hurt. Let today hurt.
God help us.
McCarthyism Before McCarthy
Many of us are familiar with Joseph McCarthy and his infamous hearings on Communism in the US government. What we don't know is that McCarthy was far from the first person to use these tactics. In this episode of the Truce Podcast we examine the Rapp-Coudert Committee-- an effort in the New York City school system to root out Communists, Fascists, and Nazis who might be teaching students. In the end, even outspoken Christians participated in this witch hunt, which targeted mostly Jewish teachers and staff.
Why were Americans so afraid of Communists?
Was it against the constitution to withhold rights from people because Rapp-Coudert was just a hearing?
What would you have done if you were accused of being a communist? Would you have named names?
Why were Jewish people targeted for violence by the Christian Front?
Do the actions of one part of a group define the entire group? In this episode, some communists advocated for using schools to teach communism. But, to our knowledge, nobody in the district did that. Yet they were accused of having done so.
Who do we scapegoat today in our society?
Knowing that the Soviets did have spies working in the US government (like Klaus Fuchs who stole nuclear secrets), what should the government have done to root out spies?
Bad Faith: Teachers, Liberalism, and The Origins of McCarthyism by Andrew Feffer
Fatty Arbuckle and the MPAA: episode of the Truce Podcast where we talk about how Christians censored the golden age of cinema
The Santa Clause comic strip from the top of the show
Smithsonian article about Soviet spies
Brief article about the House Un-American Activities Committee
Helpful article about the Communist Control Act
Positive Memories of 2020
Give a little money to help support Truce! Details are at www.trucepodcast.com/donate
2020 has been a difficult year for many. I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss things that went well. So I opened up a phone line to collect stories from you, the listeners. Thanks to everyone who submitted their stories!
I'll be opening up the phone lines again in another month to collect more listener feedback.
Happy New Year and thanks for supporting Truce!
Christmas Episode Exchange
It's time for our second annual Christmas Episode Exchange! Each year I put out a call on the Christian Podcasters Association Facebook page for 5-minute mini-episodes based on the theme of Christmas. Now I'm going to present several of the best from that group.
1) An Endurance Christmas
from the Truce Podcast
2. Letters from Home Podcast
by Meg Glesener
3. Life, Repurposed Podcast
by Michelle Rayburn
4. Moments with Moni Podcast
by Monika Hardy
Are Nativity Scenes Illegal on Public Land?
The 1983 Supreme Court case Lynch v Donnelly brought church and state together in one important decision. In it, the court decided that a city-owned creche (also known as a manger scene) could remain on private land because it was part of a greater display. It wasn't a stand-alone creche. It was surrounded by Christmas trees, a Santa's village, and more. The diorama could stay because it held no significant religious value. It was, in their words, "ceremonial deism".
In this modern era where it seems like religion is slipping away from public life, it's good to stop and ask what we're losing. Do our public displays of piety have any real Christian weight to them in the first place? What are we fighting for if "In God We Trust" doesn't specify which God it's referring to?
Supreme Court audio for this episode was used with a Creative Commons License from Oyez.org. The audio was edited from it's original form.
Full Lynch v. Donnelly audio
US Treasury article about symbols on money
One Nation Under God - book by Kevin Kruse
Helpful Slate article about Christmas displays
Helpful article about ceremonial deism
Ligonier article about Festival of the Booths
Pawtucket and the Industrial Revolution
Majority opinion on Lynch v. Donnelly from Justia.com
Where do you see examples of ceremonial deism?
What do expressions of ceremonial deism hope to achieve in our society? Does it work? How can we make them better?
Do you like seeing God on the money? Why?
Where would you like to see more of God in the public square? Where would you like to see less?
Should we be more specific in our public displays?
Do you think the manger scene can be both religious and non-religious?
The American Coup in Guatemala
In 1954 the United States government, led by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, staged a coup to oust President Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala. For what reason? To help the United Fruit Company.
United Fruit was a giant company, capturing over 90% of the market in its heyday. The juggernaut found President Arbenz to be a nuisance when his agrarian reform meant they would be paid for some of their unused land, which would be given to peasants. With the help of powerful friends like Allen Dulles (the Director of the CIA), the United States staged a coup, installing Castillo Armas in his place.
All of this took place while the USA was busy framing itself as a Christian nation. What does that mean for the Christian Church today? Are we a nation that supports that kind of behavior?
Our special guest for this episode is Stephen Schlesinger, co-author of the excellent book "Bad Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala".
What threat did President Jacobo Arbenz pose to United Fruit?
United Fruit owned many utilities in Guatemala from the trains to telephone lines. How would you feel if our utilities were owned by foreign entities? If they controlled our natural resources?
Do you think the land reform deal was a good one for their country?
Were people like John Foster Dulles right to overthrow Arbenz?
How might it have benefited them to do so?
In what way could the actions of the US in the 1950s reflect poorly on Christianity domestically and abroad?
It has been argued that American consumers benefit when Latin American and African countries are thrown in disarray. It means cheaper diamonds, gold, rubber, and more while also stranding the people in those countries in poverty.
Does it bother you that you may be benefiting from unbalanced countries?
Do you find the assumption that we are benefiting to be offensive? Why?
Is there anything we can do about it?
"Bad Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala" by Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer
CIA Document profiling Arbenz
YouTube clips of a documentary on the Guatemalan coup
Then Vice President Nixon talking with Armas after the overthrow
Statistics on Fruit
Financial Times article about United Fruit
Book "One Nation Under God" by Kevin Kruse (for the bio info on the Dulles brothers)
Peurifoy's cable to Washington
President Arbenz's farewell speech
List of governments that the US has overthrown
Customer ReviewsSee All
Chris skillfully presents well-researched, important stories in an engaging way. I really appreciate how he goes beyond the usual surface conversations on important topics. I highly recommend the Truce Podcast!
Good For Younger (i.e. Millennial) Listeners Who Lean Socialist
Attempts to address deeper social issues but succeeds at banality. Contains “facts” but really fails to piece them together for anything meaningful, sort of like the way a fourth grader would pull facts out of an encyclopedia for a class project.
When it does formulate a conclusion, that conclusion is - surprise! - typically very amenable to themes of social justice and collectivist thinking while putting in a healthy dose of anti-Capitalism that would make Marx proud. I’m sure it’s a hit with the younger crowd, most of whom are no doubt a product of years of Government school indoctrination.
It doesn’t seem to occur to them that to juxtapose their “progressive” (in quotes, because progressivism is inherently regressive, recycling old, failed ideas that lead to misery and death squads) ideas with the term “Capitalism”, is to take the same lens or point of view that Marx himself took to arrive at his utopian fantasy of socialism.
The episode on Communism versus Socialism is a perfect example of some pretty shallow analysis., that fails to point out anything original or particularly significant.
So, go ahead and subscribe. Listen to more of the whining about “exploitation, systems that keep people poor” and the like, all on technology like iPhones, computer chips and the internet, none of which is the product of the worldview they espouse. But them again, Marx was funded by his wealthy buddy Engels, whose money came from industry.
Every Marxist needs support from those who create things, in search of profit in a competitive market.
Sad to unsubscribe
Chris I love your heart man. Really sorry to unsubscribe here but I think you have misplaced the role of government and church. This has nothing to do with trump. He is here one day and gone the next like Biden will be but I exhort you brother to look closely at the role God has allocated for the government and the role that God has allocated for the church. I think by condemning most Christians like you did in your most recent podcast you have hurt your credibility. Take a look at the body and how they are moving in this time and what God is doing. Look at apologia Church, Grace Bible Church and Doug Wilson’s church in Idaho. I know you are hurt by everything going on but I would encourage you to look at the hope we have in Christ as Christians and the promise that He is sanctifying the bride, even when the bride shows its warts.
I think you recognize that Christians shouldn’t be afraid of persecution (which is true) while supporting socialist ideology that God is not for. You’re missing the forest for the trees because of some bad actors who prize safety above all in the body (which you and I know is not what God has called the first priority in the body, it’s the spreading of the Gospel that is).
God bless you man and know that I am praying for you but I cannot in good conscience continue to subscribe.