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".
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
Billy Graham v. Communism
Billy Graham may have been the most important evangelist of the 20th century. His words were heard by millions of people around the world. He preached in person, on television, magazines, radio, and film. His impact is still felt today. He is also one of the people most responsible for tying Christianity, Capitalism, and the United States. But his legacy didn't stop there. While he denounced communism, he went to great lengths to ensure that communists had access to the gospel too.
Our guest this episode is David Aikman, author of "Billy Graham: His Life and Influence".
Is Jesus' message individualistic, collectivist, or something in between?
If the majority of a nation's citizens say they are Christians, does that make it a Christian nation?
Does hobnobbing with the wealthy and politically connected occasionally backfire? Like, say, when you've come out backing Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal as Graham did?
Is it possible to cross political and theological lines today in order to spread the gospel?
When do we prioritize the gospel over social issues and when do we have to put our foot down?
When do you walk out into the stadium and take down the ropes that divide us and when do you leave the ropes where they are?
Graham sermon "A Way of Life" from this episode.
Newsreel of his 1949 crusade
Truman's statement on the Soviets having the bomb
Decision Magazine article about Graham's crisis of faith
The Evangelicals by Frances Fitzgerald
One Nation Under God by Kevin Kruse
Billy Graham's evangelistic efforts in Romania, Hungary, and China
Was Billy Graham anti-communist?
Billy Graham's sermons
Was Billy Graham a fundamentalist?
What is the difference between fundamentalist and mainline churches?
We Want A King
What do American Christians really want in the Trump era? I think that we just want representation. We want someone to stand for us, to fight out battles. But that gets tricky. There is a story in the Old Testament that gives us some clues about how that temptation can hurt us in the end.
Have you ever received a gospel tract? What was your reaction?
What kind of information do you think is essential on a tract?
Have you ever received a tract for a different religion?
How did that make you feel?
How did you know it was from a different religion?
Is it okay for corporations to evangelize?
What are the risks of that?
Are capitalism and Christianity the same thing?
If so, where does it say that in the Bible?
Does it feel threatening to question the connection between capitalism and Christianity? Why?
Rebrodcast: Why Does Donald Trump Appeal to Evangelicals?
This was one of our first ever episodes! We're rebroadcasting it today because the 2020 US Presidential election is upon us. One of the questions that keeps coming up is: why does Donald Trump appeal to white evangelical Christians? This episode was produced three years ago, so it may sound a little different, but the information is still relevant to today. President Trump has made it pretty clear that he does not know the basic tenants of Christianity. So why do we say that he is one?
The Ad Council, CIA, and Christian America
The CIA, big business, and the Ad Council worked together to create the America that we know and love today. Together, they bonded our ideas of patriotism, capitalism, and religion. But not many of us know who the Ad Council is. Sure they created Smokey Bear, the Crash Test Dummies, and the Crying Indian ads... but who are they?
Wendy Melillo, author of "How McGruff and the Crying Indian Changed America: A History of Iconic Ad Council Campaigns" and professor at American University, joins us to discuss her research into the Ad Council.
Religion in American Life Video Ad
Wendy Melillo's fascinating lecture on her book
The creepy "Why?" ad we referenced in the episode
Ad Council's own history website
Have you ever been impacted by advertising? How did it make you feel?
Does it matter where our ads come from? Even public service announcements?
How do you feel about the CIA paying for ads to impact Americans?
Should responsibility for big problems like plastic waste fall on individuals, big corporations, or both?
Do you think the Bible says anything about one economic model over another?
Fatty Arbuckle and the MPAA
Did Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle murder Virginia Rappe? That questions defined the film industry for thirty years. Upset with Hollywood's moral failures, Christians demanded changes. We took over, fighting until the studios decided to censor themselves.
This special episode of Truce ties into our last episode with Abby Johnson of the Unplanned movie.
This episode explores:
* Who was Fatty Arbuckle?
* Who was Virginia Rappe?
* Did Fatty Arbuckle murder Virginia Rappe?
* What is the MPAA?
* What started the Motional Picture Association of America?
* Did Christians really censor the golden age of films?
Customer ReviewsSee All
Best Show on Recent Christian History
I’m so thankful for Truce. Chris does a great job diving into tough theological and historical issues. As a theologian myself, I greatly appreciate the effort put into this show.
I appreciate this journalistic approach to history and it's relationship with the Chritian church and Christian faith. Not always what I want to hear, but well presented information that one needs to know to understand the fuller story. Kudos! A refreshing listen that stretches without getting preachy or caught up in partisan antics. Professionally done, fair, honest. I highly recommend.
I was hooked after the first listen
I binged all the content while at work and I plan on going through them again! They are well put together and I appreciate the quality of this podcast. Keep up the great work!