98 episodes

An in-depth examination of the culture and politics of white Evangelical Christians by two ex-evangelical ministers-turned-religion professors. If you have ever wondered what social and historical forces led white evangelicals to usher Donald Trump into the White House this is the show for you.

As former insiders and critical scholars of religion, Dan Miller and Bradley Onishi have a unique perspective on the Religious Right. Guests have included Chrissy Stroop, R. Marie Griffith, Janelle Wong, Randall Balmer, Katherine Stewart, and many others.

Straight White American Jesus Bradley Onishi + Daniel Miller

    • Politics

An in-depth examination of the culture and politics of white Evangelical Christians by two ex-evangelical ministers-turned-religion professors. If you have ever wondered what social and historical forces led white evangelicals to usher Donald Trump into the White House this is the show for you.

As former insiders and critical scholars of religion, Dan Miller and Bradley Onishi have a unique perspective on the Religious Right. Guests have included Chrissy Stroop, R. Marie Griffith, Janelle Wong, Randall Balmer, Katherine Stewart, and many others.

    America First vs. the American Dream

    America First vs. the American Dream

    Sarah Churchwell is Professor of American Literature and Chair of Public Understanding of the Humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. In her book, Behold, America (Bloomsbury 2018) she explores the entangled history of America First and the American Dream. 

     'The American dream is dead,' Donald Trump said when announcing his candidacy for president in 2015. How would he revive it? By putting 'America First'.

    The 'American Dream' and 'America First' are two of the most loaded phrases in America today, and also two of the most misunderstood. The American Dream began as a pledge for equality rather than as a dream of supremacy and 'making it big'. America First has not just served as an isolationist term, but as an early slogan of the Ku Klux Klan with surprising links to the present. 

    Both phrases were born nearly a century ago and instantly tangled over capitalism, democracy and race, coming to embody opposing views in the battle to define the soul of the nation. Behold, America recounts the unknown history of these two expressions using the voices that helped shape that debate, from Capitol Hill to the newsroom of the New York Times, students to senators, dreamers to dissenters.


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    • 58 min
    Weekly Roundup: RBG. Amy Coney Barrett. Breonna Taylor. And, Respectable Evangelicalism?

    Weekly Roundup: RBG. Amy Coney Barrett. Breonna Taylor. And, Respectable Evangelicalism?

    Brad and Dan discuss four main stories on this week's roundup: 

    1. The passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has led to Amy Coney Barrett as the frontrunner to replace her. Brad outlines the history and contours of the charismatic Catholic community to which she swore an oath and asks how it affects her nomination. 

    2. Through a discussion of Locke and American history, Dan helps us understand why protecting public property is always such a priority in cases involving the destruction of human life. Why was her apartment complex more valuable than Breonna Taylor's life? 

    3. The peaceful transfer of power, the GOP's ongoing efforts to suppress voting, and the threat of election insecurity. 

    4. Following on a new piece by Chrissy Stroop, we ask: Have "respectable" evangelicals lost control of the extremist movement they built? 


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    • 56 min
    Christian Nazis, the Third Reich, and Our Current Political Moment

    Christian Nazis, the Third Reich, and Our Current Political Moment

    Brad speaks with historian Ricard Steigmann-Gall, author of the Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity 1919-1945. They discuss how the Nazi party used a Christian social identity as a way to signal who the true and good citizens were, how the melding of religious and national identities was the first step for racism and anti-semitism, and how the USA was an example for Nazi eugenicists. Throughout the conversation both of them make comparisons to the pervasiveness of Christian nationalism in the contemporary United States and how it is feeding fascist instincts, violence, and division. 


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    • 53 min
    Weekly Roundup: Patriotic Miseducation

    Weekly Roundup: Patriotic Miseducation

    Brad and Dan discuss a coterie of stories at the intersection of race, nation, and religion. First, they dissect the president's announcement of a new commission on "patriotic education" as a thoroughly Christian nationalist move. They then turn to William Barr's comments about how COVID shutdowns are the worst annulation of civil liberties in American history except for slavery. They link both these things to the "1619 Project," clarifying how this is a struggle over who gets to tell the story of the United States and what it means for our implications in it. This leads to a discussion of the many White folks who are recognizing that they can no longer identify with the GOP or the term evangelical because those groups are unwilling to face the realities--and responsibilities--of the American narrative. Finally, they reveal the hypocrisy of pro-life groups silent on the mass hysterectomies reportedly taking place at ICE detention centers. 




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    • 54 min
    Purity Culture, National Security, and Racism

    Purity Culture, National Security, and Racism

    Brad speaks with Dr. Sara Moslener, author of Virgin Nation: Sexual Purity and American Adolescence from Oxford University Press. Dr. Moslener outlines the history of purity culture from the 19th century to the present, highlighting the eugenicist and racist ideologies that fueled it. One of the often overlooked tropes is how sexual purity was enforced through appeals to patriotism--as if keeping the borders of the body secure would help keep the nation's borders impenetrable. They also discuss contemporary purity movements, such as Silver Ring Thing, that convince young people that living their best life is a matter of sexual chastity and giving away one's virginity will ruin their life irrevocably. 


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    • 47 min
    Weekly Roundup: 9/11, COVID, and the Promises and Perils of Civil Religion

    Weekly Roundup: 9/11, COVID, and the Promises and Perils of Civil Religion

    Brad and Dan begin by discussing how 9/11 is an event marked by acts of civil religion--ceremonies, rituals, and symbols that enable the nation to remember and mourn. Brad asks why we haven't had such things implemented to help grieve the loss of the 200,000 Americans who have died of COVID. Dan breaks down the explosive recordings/material in the new book from Bob Woodward--including Trump's recognition of its deadly airborne transmission in February. They finish with a detailed discussion of how Trump has slipped with White Evangelicals and Catholics, how Biden has gained ground with those groups, and if there will be some real payoff there for the Democrats. Biden has crafted his message to these groups through his national director for faith outreach--who is an ex-evangelical. It's a complicated debate that includes issues like abortion, Christian nationalism, and religious liberty. 


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    • 53 min

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