Your host, Anthony Gill, is professor of political science at the University of Washington and distinguished senior fellow at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion.  Learn more.
July 5 -- Religion and Psychology.
Featured Episodes
Date: June 28th, 2015

For our annual Fourth of July episode, and for our 250th podcast, we invite our very first “just graduated” high school student, Phoenix Moomaw, to discuss his senior project on the faith of President Ronald Reagan. As the grandson of Reagan’s pastor in Southern California, Phoenix came across several folders of personal letters between Reagan (as governor and president) and his grandfather. He uses these letters and some additional research at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley to determine how much Reagan’s faith affected his policies and style of governing. His answer to this question is surprisingly nuanced.

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Date: June 21st, 2015

In light of the horrific church shooting in South Carolina recently, we present a previously released episode related to one aspect of this news story: church security. While not the only angle to examine recent events from, the issue of church security has been one point of discussion.

Our prayers and condolences go out to all those affected by the events in Charleston.

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Date: June 14th, 2015

To what extent can local governments partner with faith-based organizations to provide social welfare? And what role does the federal government play in this relationship? Jay Hein of the Sagamore Institute discusses his time working with various faith-based initiatives at the state and federal level and what this means for the future of welfare provision in the United States. He also talks about how the Bush (43) Administration expanded the lessons from the US faith-based initiative to Africa.

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Date: June 7th, 2015

Why do some ethnic conflicts become infused with religious rhetoric while others do not? Matthew Isaacs, a PhD candidate at Brandeis University, discusses his dissertation research investigating why Protestants in Northern Ireland were quick to attach religion to their conflict whereas Catholics were not. He also examines the role of Buddhist monks in the civil war in Sri Lanka to discover some interesting patterns. Matt argues that when religious groups within an ethnicity face significant competition among confessional lines, and when resources to these religious groups are on the wane, religion has a tendency to become more salient.

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Date: May 31st, 2015

What role does religion play in shaping cultural notions of gender, and how might this be related to economics and production in both agricultural and industrial societies? And can missionaries inadvertently carry over theological messages to cultures that unintentionally reinforce gender roles? Dr. Carrie Miles, of Chapman University and Empower International, answers these questions in a fascinating look at the intersection of theology, gender, and economics.

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Date: May 24th, 2015

We return once again to the Religious Freedom Project for a panel discussion on the historical dimensions of proselytism, humanitarianism, and development that was conducted on March 4, 2015 at Georgetown University. The panel includes Thomas Farr (moderator), Michael Barnett (George Washington University), Rebecca Shah (Religious Freedom Project), and Robert Woodberry (scholar-at-large).

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Date: May 17th, 2015

What makes for an effective leadership team? Using insights from business analysis, Dr. Warren Bird of the Leadership Network discusses a study conducted in over 200 churches that filtered out the various characteristics of groups that led to success. Our conversation also discusses the recent Pew Forum report on the declining presence of Christianity in the United States and finishes up with how church leadership should address a potentially new religious environment in America.

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Date: May 10th, 2015

What role do religious organizations play in constructing and reconstructing states? Denis Dragovic joins us from Australia to discuss his new book “Religion and Post-Conflict State-Building” and how he not only studied this topic, but also was an active participant in helping people around the world, and primarily the Middle East. Prof. Dragovic explains how religious groups — both international and domestic — help to contribute to the three key areas of state-building: legitimacy, security, and basic needs. Along the way, he also recounts how he helped rescue one of his aid workers who was kidnapped by rebels!

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Date: May 3rd, 2015

What relationship is there between Christianity and alcohol? We discuss this question with Prof. Michael P. Foley (Baylor University) as he leads us through his book “Drinking with the Saints,” which is one part bartender’s guide and one part spiritual manual” (according to Regnery Press). This fun conversation reveals interesting historical tidbits on everything from beer to whiskey to wine, and Prof. Foley even reveals a couple of his own cocktail recipes created in honor of the saints.

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Date: April 26th, 2015

What is the Sikh religion and how have Sikhs fit into American society? Rajdeep Singh of the Sikh Coalition explains the history, tenets, rituals, and practices of his faith, as well as the challenges this religious minority has faced in the United States. We discuss how Sikhs have been instrumental in championing religious liberty with cases about religious garb in Oregon and issues of occupational safety.

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