Category: Sexuality & Marriage


Michael Medved on Religion & Hollywood (encore presentation)

Film critic, radio talk show host, and cultural crusader Michael Medved joins us to discuss how religion is portrayed in Hollywood. We focus on Michael’s life story and the accidental manner in how he became a movie critic. Our main focus, though, centers on how Hollywood went from partraying religion in a positive light in movies such as “The Bells of St. Mary” and “Going My Way,” to casting clergy and churches as corrupt. We cover Michael’s role in the critic scandal surrounding Mel Gibson’s epic “The Passion of the Christ” and also tackle the question of why Hollywood has not been making more faith-friendly movies considering the box office success these films garner. There are many more insights in this lively interview.

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Margaret Taylor-Ulizio on Being a Canon Lawyer

If the Catholic Church has canon law, there must be canon lawyers, right?! There are, and we were able to track down and invite Dr. Margaret Taylor-Ulizio to talk about her career path to canon law and what canon lawyers do. While canon law covers a wide range of issues from property rights to employment, we spend time talking about marriage nullity, which comes up with relative frequency and is something that Dr. Taylor-Ulizio has been specializing in recently.

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Sarah Dreier on Anglicans, Lutherans, and African Churches

As certain Christian denominations in Europe and America turn towards progressive values such as the support for same-sex marriage and other LGBTQI rights, how do their affiliated churches in Africa manage this cultural change? Sarah K. Dreier, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington, explores this often overlooked tension within transnational organizations. She discusses how African Anglican and Lutheran churches that have a stable source of funding and/or are facing significant competition from Pentecostal churches are more likely to vocally oppose progressive policies on sexuality and gender issues.

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David Buckley on the Demand for Clergy in Politics

Do citizens in religiously-active countries prefer to have members of the clergy directly intervene in the politics of their nation? While one might assume they would, Prof. David Buckley (U of Louisville) discovers the opposite finding; religious individuals prefer to see their spiritual leaders less involved in governmental decision-making. Dr. Buckley discusses how religious leaders in such countries already have informal networks of influence and how direct involvement in politics runs the risk of tarnishing the moral authority of clergy and dividing their flock.

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Gregory Popcak on Religion, Psychology, & Seven Longings

Can religion coexist with psychological counseling? While some tension has existed between these realms, Dr. Gregory Popcak explains how they are mutually facilitative and discusses his career as a Catholic psychologist. We also talk about his book “Broken Gods” and the why and how humans can become more like “god” (small “g”) and what that means. While it may sound blasphemous, Dr. Popcak notes this was a theme with such luminaries as St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and C.S. Lewis!

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Carrie Miles on Religion, Gender, and Missionaries

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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Hunter Baker on the Past and Future of the Religious Right

In light of the recent victories in favor of same-sex marriage across the US, is there any future for the Religious Right? Prof. Hunter Baker of Union University reviews the history of this (mostly) Christian conservative movement, focusing on some of the lesser-known intellectuals underlying the movement’s early years including Carl F.H. Henry, Frances Schaeffer, and Chuck Colson. He then identifies the peak of the movement at about 2005 and discusses the generational shift happening within the Religious Right and what shape it will take in the near future. Hunter reveals his take on whether right-wing evangelicals need to take a “season of silence” or not as he discusses the work of Jonathan Malesic and James Davison Hunter.

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Rodney Stark on How Religion Benefits Everyone, Including Atheists

Frequent guest and popular academic author Rodney Stark joins us to discuss his new book “America’s Blessings: How Religion Benefits Everyone, Including Atheists.” We discuss whether or not spiritual life in the United States is actually on the decline, and then review how the activities of religious Americans have positive spillover effects for society as a whole in a wide range of areas including health, voluntarism, pro-social behavior, the economy, and intellectual life. We even talk about “s-e-x.” This is a wonderful “starter” podcast for new listeners as it covers a number of different themes we have addressed over the past three years.

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James Felak on Vatican Council II

We are now in the midst of celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Second Vatican Council, which began in the fall of 1962 and lasted three years. Why was Vatican II called? What happened during this monumental gathering of Catholic prelates? And what impact has VCII had on the contemporary Church? Prof. James Felak, a popular guest on the show, returns to answer all of these questions and more. We explore the historical nature of Church councils and where Vatican II sits in the list of important councils.

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Lynita Newswander on Mormons in America

What role have Mormons played in shaping America’s national heritage? We examine that question in light of the increased scrutiny that the Latter Day Saints have come under with one of their members in contention for the US presidency. Lynita Newswander discusses her book “LDS in the USA” (co-authored with Lee Trepanier), talking about the difficulties Mormons have had in terms of social acceptance. Our conversation takes us through a range of topics including how Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith may affect his chances at being elected president.

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