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.
May 31 - Miles on Religion and Gender Roles.
Featured Episodes
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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Date: April 19th, 2015

In a wonderful complement to last week’s episode, Daniel Libenson — creator of jUChicago and The Institute for the Next Jewish Future — discusses the religious challenges facing Judaism in contemporary America and what might need to happen in the future. We explore these issues through the lens of his work with Hillel and his other institutional creations, and how he is using “design thinking” to provide creative ways to engage secular Jews in their historical faith.

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Date: April 12th, 2015

How does an economist discuss being a religious minority in America? Prof. Carmel Chiswick returns to the podcast to discuss her new book “Judaism in Transition.” Using the tools of economics — particularly the concepts of full price, time costs, and human capital — explains the challenges American Jews face in a Christian culture and how Judaism has changed over time to reflect responses to various costs and benefits. We also talk about some of the newer demographic challenges facing Jews, including intermarriage, later marriage, and empty nesters.

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Date: April 5th, 2015

Why would anyone ever become a prison chaplain? And what do prison chaplains do? Jeff Henig, who recently became employed as a prison chaplain in Arkansas, discusses his life story and how he entered the world of prison ministry. Along the way we learn a lot about a cappella music and the difference between jail and prison,. Jeff also shares some of the spiritual, psychological, and legal challenges prison chaplains face, as well as telling us some important life lessons he’s picked up through this whole process.

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Date: March 29th, 2015

Spring break is upon us, and while many of you are heading to the sunshine, we revive a popular interview from our archives on dark networks. We will return shortly with new episodes.

Dark networks are clandestine organizations that often engage in nefarious behavior. Often associated with religious terrorist groups, these dark networks are the focus of our discussion with Prof. Sean Everton of the Naval Postgraduate School. He covers the nature of these groups, how we learn about them via network analysis, and how counter-insurgency efforts are being crafted to disrupt these networks in places like Colombia, Indonesia, and Iraq.

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Date: March 22nd, 2015

Author and professor Jim Papandrea returns to our podcast to discuss his new book “Seven Revolutions,” explaining how Christianity helped to alter our perceptions of, and actions toward, the human rights, community responsibility, and governance. We discuss what historical changes occurred in Christianity’s first four centuries and what that historical experience can tell us about religion’s role in the “post-Christian era” of today.

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