Podcasts/Sacred Tension-Power Worshippers 2MASTERED70ysd

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Power_Worshippers_2MASTERED70ysd SUMMARY KEYWORDS people, book, christian, abortion, rock candy, happening, life, talks, directives, world, christianity, religious, religion, feel, called, chapter, bob jones, absolutely, specific, read SPEAKERS Rebecca Shaw, Stephen Bradford Long, Matt Langston

00:00 You're listening to a rock candy Podcast. I'm Erica Michelle, I host a voice diary called brown sugar diaries on the right kick network where I spill all the tea about my dating experiences life lessons, my journey to healing and wholeness my life as an entrepreneur, student, doctor, CEO of a nonprofit, and I give my opinion on the current happenings of the world. You see why I have a lot of stuff to talk about Tim into brown sugar barons, wherever you listen to podcasts and listen up on this or why you cook your business should okay.

Stephen Bradford Long 01:04 This is sacred tension, the podcast about the discipline of asking questions. My name is Steven Bradford long and we are here on the rock candy Podcast Network. For more shows like this one go to rock candy recordings.com. All right, we are continuing our book club discussion about the power worshipers. do start with the first episode you will be very lost I am once again joined by notorious alcoholic and...

Matt Langston 01:33 what Why do I always get introduced as a notorious alcoholic? It's not I'm not notorious you. I'll tell you exactly where I am. Where I'm drinking. And what,

Stephen Bradford Long 01:44 what and what? And then you will tell us all of the things that you told your therapist yesterday. Absolutely.

Matt Langston 01:50 That's what drinking is for to just recall,

Stephen Bradford Long 01:54 which is why for this conversation about evangelical trauma, we are getting very sloshed. And we are joined by madam librarian herself, the office manager of rock candy recordings. Rebecca Shaw.

Rebecca Shaw 02:07 Hello, hello.

Stephen Bradford Long 02:08 All right. So we are continuing the conversation. Again, thanks to my Patrons for making the show possible. Also, thanks to everyone leaving very nice five star reviews on Apple podcasts. All of that really does help. If you haven't already, just leave five stars on Apple podcasts or write a nice little review and I will read it on air is this isn't on air. This isn't live. I will read it on the show. Please do that. It really does help. Okay, so we have a lot to talk about. So let's just get right into it. So we were going to discuss briefly about how houses so by the time by the way, by the time this episode comes out, the presidential election might have happened. And so we might be we might be coming to you from the sunny pre apocalyptic past. Here in October.

Matt Langston 03:02 Live on toxic air.

Stephen Bradford Long 03:06 Good, good try. So okay, Rebecca, you are going to tell us about hell houses.

Rebecca Shaw 03:12 Right. Oh, man. I was just thinking back to Matt, you were saying something about black and white viewpoints. Yeah. Within evangelical Christianity and how, you know, this child evangelism

03:29 thing,

Matt Langston 03:29 Child evangelism fellowship.

Rebecca Shaw 03:31 Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, you go and you paint this picture. That's very stark, very black and white. very, like, if you don't walk this fine line, you are condemned, right? Like, if you give into being a person, right, you are condemned. Yeah. And my church never did this. We actually did trunk or treat, which I think was very trick or treat trunk or treat trunk or treat where we would like we were on a main road. And so we would have church members bring their cars and set up like a little trick or trading thing for for people, which was, I think, fairly progressive. For them. Yes. It was like a community engagement where it for once they were not overly pushy.

Matt Langston 04:15 But this was like the sterilized alternative to actually going out and trick or treating.

Rebecca Shaw 04:19 Well, it was, we were also close to a neighborhood. So it was like wrapped into that. Yeah, but it was supposed to be like a sterilization of Halloween of some sort. But then then one year I got invited to go to Hell House, which happened in the church like it, it started in their basement, and it took you through this little dramatization of the story. And one of the members I it was the only one I've ever been to so I have no context outside of this experience. But this, you know, this family and one of them is obviously not Christian. You have the non Christian character and the ones who are trying to save them. and you can't see my air quotations because this is a

Matt Langston 05:03 no yeah. So if you back up just a little bit because I think this is a really fun thing. Yeah. Like the so hell houses are judgment houses, as they're called are essentially whenever churches go in there they're most of the time like Protestant evangelical churches yes they will gut out the the church and they will create these little stations like 100 Yeah, like a haunted house but for scenes to happen and scenes to play out scenes of hell, right? So, so you can go and damnation essentially, like go into there. And you're introduced to these characters. Now the characters are played by most of the time people in the youth group, right? You probably have child Evangelism Fellowship members as well, I don't know, there's no way to know we can't go back in time. But they will follow these two characters through these different scenes. And so you as a group are moving through the church, with your friends that you've invited to come to this or with your own youth group. And throughout these different scenes, you see this narrative of these two kids, who essentially one chooses the path of righteousness and the other one chooses a path of eternal damnation. And you get to see in the Christians mind actually, like, yeah, what this actually looks like. It's a reinforcement of the Christian worldview and how they believe that the world operates.

06:20 And and it's very interesting, there are a few traumatizing points of this. For me one was a car wreck, which because at some point in the narrative, these people have to die, which is traumatic, right, and they can't die peacefully, heaven forbid.

Stephen Bradford Long 06:40 They can't die a good death.

Rebecca Shaw 06:43 To try to die in a way that is traumatic for everyone involved, right? In the case of the one I went to it was this horrific car crash. And then you are further traumatized by walking through. And there's this again, coming back to the mythos that we talked about in the first episode, the seven circles of hell. So it was layered, and you eventually worked your way up into the sanctuary,

Matt Langston 07:11 which is more of a Dante and it was yeah, it was a very daunting biblical one. It was

Rebecca Shaw 07:17 very, very paradise loss.

Matt Langston 07:19 Yeah.

Stephen Bradford Long 07:20 I remember seeing a documentary about hell houses. This was several years ago, there was a there I forget. I think it was just called HAL house, not the semi decent found footage movie on shutter. But what does shutter shutter so there was one scene about, like a gay guy who was dying of AIDS, and how he was being dragged down into hell. While dying of AIDS just

Rebecca Shaw 07:53 horrific. Sounds like a spin off of Angels in America. Well,

Stephen Bradford Long 07:57 it it thinking back on it now. It was really like a drama to zation of chick tracks. Yeah, anyway, yeah. So kind of harkening back to the first part of our conversation in the last episode, which was about the infiltration of Christian nationalism into schools in and into kind of EU settings to capture the minds of young people. I'll house is just another way another extension of that another extension of doing that scaring children shitless and presenting

Rebecca Shaw 08:33 things in a very, very black and white context. There's no room for error.

Stephen Bradford Long 08:38 Right. So all right, speaking of horror, it's past Halloween now. But we're going to go with the Halloween theme and talk about bodily autonomy, and the Christian nationalist disregard and outright abuse.

Matt Langston 08:54 Also Michael Myers disregard for it. I mean, Christians are very similar to Michael Myers. Yes,

Stephen Bradford Long 08:58 he preys on young women.

Matt Langston 09:00 I may be so bold, yes, absolutely.

Stephen Bradford Long 09:03 So we should just insert because Christian nationalist has is kind of a vague term, we should just insert Michael Myers or whatever. Substitute one word for the other. So there is a there is a chapter in the power worshipers that discusses bodily autonomy. And I found this one of the most horrific chapters in the book I did as well because it it talks about Catherine Stewart, the author, it talks about Katherine Stewart's own experience with this and how there are and how the the hospital system in America is. I don't know what percentage but it's a large percentage. Right

Rebecca Shaw 09:47 here. I have the I have the chapter right here. It's one in six hospital beds is under a Catholic run institution.

Stephen Bradford Long 09:55 And so these these hospitals, these Catholic hospitals are governed by a list

Rebecca Shaw 10:02 ethical and religious directives, yes,

Stephen Bradford Long 10:05 E, AR DS, er DS, ethical, religious direct McGard. Okay. And basically, you know, it's been a while since I read this chapter. So I'm working off of memory

Rebecca Shaw 10:21 most All right, I have it pulled up right here. So I can fact check you. Great. Thank

Stephen Bradford Long 10:24 you. The madam librarian is on it.

Matt Langston 10:27 Thank you. PolitiFact Shaw.

Stephen Bradford Long 10:29 So basically, these these hospitals operate under very strict conditions have in a in a myopic and obsessive way, protecting, quote, unquote, the sanctity of life, but how this often turns out is actually denying people necessary services that could save their life until the very last moment, right in which it is necessary, which means causing horrific undue trauma to people who need life saving interventions, but because say it could potentially result in the death of a fetus, they put the woman's body, the mother's body, I should say, through through undue trauma and peril and peril. Yeah. And Katherine, Katherine Stewart's personal story here, I think, was it a pregnancy that had

Rebecca Shaw 11:24 it was a pregnancy gone? awry? Yeah. And I

Matt Langston 11:27 actually I've, there's part of me that doesn't want to hatch her own egg for because it is absolutely worth picking up this book, even for just being able to read through this chapter. She beautifully crafts, this very dramatic experience for her. Yeah, and how all of these different sort of outside factors, right, or religiously motivated actually end up hindering and hurting and damaging people? She is She She doesn't give the only anecdotal.

Rebecca Shaw 11:57 No, she does change names of people that she she quotes in the chapter is called controlling bodies, or what religious liberty looks like from the structure. Right? Right. And she, she's incredibly brave, to, to bring this up and to share her, you know, not not only just the story in general, but these stories. And something that I think is worth pointing out, we were talking about the ethical and religious directives, these directives are not decided by a board of medical practitioners. These are determined by bishops, yes, by religious leaders who may, you know, who have presumably no medical training.

Matt Langston 12:48 I haven't taken Hippocratic Oath, right?

Stephen Bradford Long 12:50 To take an Hippocratic Oath, who are also presumably celibate and men.

Rebecca Shaw 12:55 And also, the thing that struck me the most was that, as she's talking about her own story, she didn't know any of this at the time. And it was only when she was writing this book that she found out about, you know, the Catholic run directives. And something she points out over and over again, they don't have to tell you why they are denying you treatment. Right,

Stephen Bradford Long 13:18 exactly. So if the closest hospital to you is a Catholic hospital, and you may not know as Kathleen, you may be Oh, and it's run by the by these directives invented by bishops, then you could find yourself in a hospital bed with a pregnancy gone awry. And literally having your life put at risk because of these undue religious burdens. And this is a violation of the patient's religious freedom. Yeah,

Rebecca Shaw 13:45 this also ties in not just with, you know, she, she primarily focuses on abortion, and how that plays into this. But she also discusses a very specific end of life scenario where, you know, these these directives can determine if you have chosen to say, you know, I've been given six months to live, right. I know, it's going to be painful. I know. It's going to be horrific. Yeah, I'm going to lose my memory. I don't want to put myself and my family through that.

Matt Langston 14:20 Right. I will take away your freedom to choose Yeah. How How, why and when you are a burden to those around? Yes, in a very critical phase of that. And that's maybe that's not the best way of phrasing that. For me. That's how I feel. I have Have

Stephen Bradford Long 14:37 either of you read Andrew Solomon, I have not worked on suicide. So he wrote a book called the noonday demon, which is about depression, but there's a chapter on it about it in that book about suicide. And he talks about the the, what's the technical term for it aided suicide of his mother and his mother decided that it was time for her to go. Yeah. And, and it's an incredibly powerful and moving story. But basically, one of the points that he drives home is that he never He the author never wants to be put into a position where the choice of suicide is taken away from him because the the choice to live is a fundamental human right. And, and it's uncomfortable to talk about it, it's uncomfortable to think about this. But, but the choice to die with dignity is, is a fundamental human right. And that, you know, that's, that's a huge ethical issue that we don't really have to get into in the show looks different in cultures, all world religions, and so if a person with a specific religious tradition, take a pagan or, you know, an atheist or not that that's a religious tradition, but but people with different views of the universe, their autonomy, and their choice of how they want to die. And can you think of like a more significant and human choice Yeah, to be made, how to die, how do you and when to die like that is an important choice. And to find yourself entirely by accident by like the roll of a dice, this just happened to be the hospital bed that you landed in. And for that choice to be taken away from you, because of these bishops. Deciding what is right and wrong for you, even if you are not of their religion,

Matt Langston 16:32 right. It's taking away taking away your agency. Yeah, in a very critical moment of your life, or end of life.

Rebecca Shaw 16:40 Right. And the thing is, you know, she goes into this doesn't just affect hospitals. It's the instance with the end of life situation that she cites was in hospice care. That was also a Catholic run facility, or even she even mentioned, an incident with a pharmacist who denied birth control. I think it was I could be wrong on that. Yeah, I think it was, I think it was birth control to this woman who had like, she had prescription for it, right? And he was like, well, this goes against my relief. So I'm denying you, right, this medication, right. And that just ties into this whole idea. And this comes back to broader themes within project within American Christianity of men controlling women's bodies. Absolutely. Yes. And that hit me as a woman, of course, of so many ways that I have been told not to lead ministry, how, you know, women's bodies are commented on in so many different ways. And so this chapter particularly hit me really hard.

Stephen Bradford Long 17:51 Yeah, yeah, I can definitely imagine how that would be the case. And Katherine Stewart's personal story here is how she had a pregnancy gone awry. She landed by accident, completely unsuspecting into the Catholic hospital, and she bled out 40% of her her blood, yes, 40% of her blood. And she was there for hours, just bleeding. And she was begging for help. Like, please, I need help. I can feel myself dying, basically. And I mean, it's his harrowing story. And it all came down to they don't want to impose on the feed. Right,

Matt Langston 18:36 right. Having actual medical professionals who are dealing with her type of scenario day in and day out, feel like too, that they should be doing something different and that they want to be providing aid and caring for someone but because of these religious directives, that they're actually asked to go against what they believe,

Rebecca Shaw 18:57 right? And they're at risk of losing their jobs, right, if they go against it. And you think about the statistics at the beginning of the book, one in six hospital beds. That's a lot.

Stephen Bradford Long 19:09 That's a ton. That's so many, and you can land in one of those entirely by luck of the draw. Yes. And so there's also the the broader issue here of, of abortion, which the Satanic Temple has been trying to address.

Rebecca Shaw 19:26 Does she mentioned that in this book, or am I imagining that?

Stephen Bradford Long 19:29 I don't? I don't remember. I think she does. He might. I don't

Rebecca Shaw 19:33 even posted about it recently. Who did Neil Gaiman? Oh, really? He did. Yeah. On his Tumblr about about because I'm old and

Stephen Bradford Long 19:43 yeah, I mean, people can go listen to this to these episodes that I did. I did an episode with Jane assets about the TST abortion ritual, the Satanic Temple abortion ritual, which of course made gigantic waves and reinforced A lot didn't reinforce but made people even more suspicious of, you know, what Satanists are actually doing with unborn babies. But all that aside, the real the real purpose for this is to provide security and support for for Satanist. People with wombs who find themselves pregnant and need an abortion for whatever reason, but a lot of states, especially southern states impose horrific,

Rebecca Shaw 20:27 horrific, dramatized

Stephen Bradford Long 20:28 traumatizing, horrific constraints on access to abortion, for example, one that's most crazy to me is the requirement of a burial ritual for the fetal remain really. So there are certain states and it vary state by state, you need to have a funeral service or some kind of of funeral for the aborted remains. And so and in some states, the the requirement, the cost of this service lands on the person who had the abortion, right, so know where they are, yeah. And so they are putting, that's just one of many examples of putting undue burden on people who need abortions, all of which emphasizes though the fundamentalist Christian belief that a fetus, no matter the term, no matter that life starts at conception, full stop period, and that any kind of intervention after that, to end the pregnancy is actually murdering a person. And so there's also required religious reading that takes place, there is a there's a waiting period where a person will check in to get the abortion and then they will say, Okay, well, now you need to wait 48 hours, or you need to wait 24 hours, right? Here's the problem, if, if a person is lower income, they maybe they already have kids, maybe they have a job, maybe it's in one of these states that only has a tiny handful of abortion clinics and they have to travel cross country in order to get the abortion right. So this the the the, it all starts to stack up against the person in need the person who needs the abortion and, and all of this is done on religious grounds on religious, quote unquote, religious freedom. And what the Satanic Temple is doing is, is saying no, we have religious rights as well. And these restrictions violate our religious freedom. And, and so they they incorporate a religious ritual, it's very simple and very short, into the abortion process. I'm not I might not be articulating this well, so definitely go back and listen to my interview with Jane Essex about this. She is the spokesperson for for the reproductive rights campaign of tst. And more religions need to do this more, more religions need to use the the ground set by the Christian nationalists in order to claim their religious right, it shouldn't just be right Protestants, it should also be pagans. And

Rebecca Shaw 23:19 that brings me to a quote that isn't coming from chapter 10 of her book, where she says, Are we a nation in which one brand of religion enjoys a place of privilege? Are we a nation of laws, except in cases where the law offends the feelings of those who subscribe to our preferred religion? Will we recognize the equal dignity of all our citizens? Or are we the kind of society that keeps contempt upon those groups that our national religion happens to despise? And that the beginning of the very next chapter, she talks about? She says, what today's Christian nationalists called religious liberty is in reality, a form of religious privilege for their kind of religion, right? Privilege is never free. It comes at the expense of other people's rights,

Stephen Bradford Long 24:05 right? Yes, right? She nails it.

Rebecca Shaw 24:08 She does. She is She is so succinct in calling out the injustice is

Matt Langston 24:15 right that's that's one of the things that I love so much about this book. And then I feel like especially all the talk about abortion and rights and everything that we're going through right now is that the aim of Christian nationalism is to create a favorable religious practice to create a theocracy credibly discriminatory, it it doesn't in the name of freedom, it seeks to dismantle every freedom that you have that offends or it's not profitable to this specific exact because

Rebecca Shaw 24:45 the aim is a theocracy, not a democracy.

Stephen Bradford Long 24:49 Are either of you aware of the term seven mountain Dominionism I wasn't until I read this book. Okay. Yeah. So, I mean, what you just said ties into seven mountain Dominionism. And just to really be Bring home. The idea, the reality that Christian nationalism, it's about power, which is why this book is called The Power worshipers. It's, it's about power and consolidating power in people who have a specific view of the world and that isn't, you know, our, our culture is based on enlightenment liberalism, which values freedom of thought, freedom of expression, it values, multiculturalism, it values, the division of church and state. And because it you know, liberalism isn't perfect, it doesn't have a perfect track record, but it but the great triumph of liberalism, is that it? It allows for a four, four, it allows a diversity. Yes, thank you, it allows for a diversity and therefore we all benefit from that. Yes. And, and it's self correcting because of that. This Christian nationalism is a direct thwarting of those underlying principles that I know I'm going to sound like a conservative saying. It is a direct threat on the underlying principles that that make our current world honestly one of the best times to be alive in human history. Even though things are shitty politically right now. I see it as Rebecca, you as a woman, me as a gay guy, Matt, you as an honorary faggot. It makes it those principles of liberalism are what have made the world more hospitable to people like us? Yes. And this Christian nationalism is a direct assault on that. And yeah,

Rebecca Shaw 26:59 well, and I would like to say we still have a really long way to go. Yeah.

Stephen Bradford Long 27:03 Things are far from perfect. Realism itself is not perfect. It

Rebecca Shaw 27:07 is not perfect. Such a long way to go. And yeah, this was, this was a fantastic book.

Matt Langston 27:15 This was this kind of book was like eye opening for me in that I feel like I've smelled a skunk for so many years. Talked about Yes. And then this actually like give, because there's so so many different things like culturally that I just took for granted as a kid. All of the different things that the different places in which Christian media is being created and being broadcast into homes. I grew up listening to focus on the fan. Oh, yeah. Adventures. Dr. Dobson? Dr. James Dobson? Yeah, fine. There's this financial advisor named Larry Burkett, who's also mentioned in the book, Dave Ramsey, Dave Ramsey, I mean, they're my parents, I love these people, that it seems so benign, it seems so like we're just giving information to Christians who are trying to live a better life, we're giving information to parents who are at their wit's end and don't know how to raise their kids or need some pointers or want to make sure that they're doing it correctly. And I feel like there are these people who are like, I am happy to sweep in and tell you what God wants you to do with your finances. I'm happy to show you how God wants your children raised. And all of this is propaganda. It is because it's giving these generalized, very political, sorry, religiously charged information to people who are looking for it, not taking into account that they are individual people, that that not every one piece of advice is okay for every single person. Well, and also propping up those harmful ideologies at the same time.

Rebecca Shaw 28:46 Washes a lot. Yeah, it assumes a lot. Yeah. I think something closer to the mic. Sorry. This is this is my second podcast episode.

Matt Langston 28:59 Yes, these are doing so good. She

Stephen Bradford Long 29:01 is doing so great debut podcast.

Rebecca Shaw 29:03 Um, Matt and I were reading this book around the same time, it was after Stephen had read it. And we both started in on it. And I just kept having these moments of this spiderweb of feelings that I like these things, these little puzzle pieces that I've been trying to fit together my entire life that never makes made sense. These these bits and pieces that I've been trying to weed out from like, Okay, what, what is my actual faith? Yeah. And I had done this by examining the different strands of Christianity and seeing what held up what was different, right. And then again, like, again, what I felt to be right, and what I knew to be right, about, you know, how we should treat each other. Yeah. kindness and love and not being judgmental. Yeah. Yeah. And so I had begun to tease out like, the hard truths from the propaganda. And that used a word earlier in the first episode demystifying, and in my notes I had written like, detoxifying your face. And below that I wrote gaslighting, indoctrination and social hierarchy. Yeah. As things and you know, these, these are all like things on the periphery and reading this book kind of pulled everything into focus. It filled in the missing jigsaw pieces. And it was this big aha.

Stephen Bradford Long 30:40 Yeah. Yeah, I had the exact same experience because it was like a bird's eye view. Or it was like Catherine Stewart gave me the map. Yeah, to to understand why. To like to, like, navigate what the fuck I experienced there. And so I found, I found it really relieving. Because it's like this. This is what I experienced. This explains the historical and philosophical and political underpinnings of what I grew up with.

Rebecca Shaw 31:15 It also made me think, Oh, I wasn't crazy.

Stephen Bradford Long 31:18 Yes, exactly. Because there's this gaslighting emerge from the world. You know, it's like that show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt where yeah, you emerge from the love that show you're trying to you're trying to tell people what you went through, and you just can't like, trying to tell other people who didn't experience this. What you lived through in the evangelical world, and it's so fucking hard and you walk away from, from it being like, am I the crazy 1am? I just overreacting to this.

Rebecca Shaw 31:47 Now, here's a little bit of a history history. And I get the three of us all went to Montreat. College. Yes, we

Stephen Bradford Long 31:55 were all. We all sat together biology class together.

Rebecca Shaw 32:01 Granted, there were only four of us in the Yeah, the other one. She was the baseball person. That's right. Yeah. Anyway, um, but I just for baseball.

Stephen Bradford Long 32:12 It's code for lesbian. Who knows?

Rebecca Shaw 32:18 Who knows. But I remember just like, there were times. I'm not in biology, specifically, but just at Montreat in general, whom, when I and others were feeling frustrated with the state of things, and would occasionally read through the Bob Jones, Code of Conduct Guidelines to make ourselves feel better, that Montreat at least wasn't as bad as Bob Jones. Right. And, you know, just a few years ago, I was having a conversation with a friend who, one of my few friends who never was exposed to the church as a child, right, ever, which was shocking to me, because I have friends that are atheist, but they were all they all rejected the church, right, they'll left and I get it. But this friend never had been exposed to Christian ideology in the same way and had an outsider view. So I was trying to explain Bob Jones to this person. And they were very skeptical that such a thing could exist. Right. And for those who don't know, Bob Jones is a very conservative Christian College, South Carolina, South Carolina. And it's just wild. I think the the rating on movies that you're allowed to watch in the dorm is like GE.

Matt Langston 33:39 Right? For adults,

Rebecca Shaw 33:41 for adults, for these are teens, and you have to have a chaperone to go off campus. Yeah. And she, she talks about Bob Jones, in this book, actually, in relation to

Matt Langston 33:53 the racist ideology and racist ideology. Yeah, their teachings are tested.

Rebecca Shaw 33:59 And so it comes back again to controlling bodies and controlling minds. And

Stephen Bradford Long 34:05 and did you feel gaslit at Montreat? I did when you tried to bring this up. Yeah. To address this, of course. Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Because we're the crazy ones. The one we're the ones who are like, maybe this isn't normal. And everyone's like, this is normal. Shut

Matt Langston 34:19 up, right. Well ever, like who they are constantly saying, Well, you just don't understand. Right? Don't you don't realize how far we've come. And I feel like my response to that now is when you see injustice, or unfairness or inequity, bility it's your job to do something about it. If you're in a position to write and things are Reaching a fever pitch, where everybody's hand is being forced one way you're either going to get on board or you're not. Yeah, and so I feel like it's it's in those moments. And these happened to everybody in life mantra was really small moment and hopefully what our long, happy, prosperous lives for us.

Rebecca Shaw 35:00 Make a lot of good friends there. Yeah, we all grew from that bonding.

Matt Langston 35:05 Yeah. But it just taught me, like, even reinforced in my mind that I am absolutely fine. Being an outsider. Yeah, there are things about Christianity that I did find comfort in that I found community and that I found belonging in all those different things also exist outside of Christianity. They're also just very human thing to happen. When you find like minded people. And when you're headed towards a like minded goal, or when you're enjoying life together, you don't have to do them all in the confines of Christendom that fry Christendom is just a name that we put on two different things. It's just a thing that we were taught to put a label that we were taught to put on different things. And we can re label, we have the ability if this book has like reinforced anything and means that you absolutely have the ability to re label the way that you view people and circumstances and the things that are happening politically and things that are happening within this specific sub sect of religion, to empower yourself and to help elevate the people around you. Yes.

Stephen Bradford Long 36:14 And the great lie, I think of fundamentalist religion. Oh, yeah, they are the sole proprietors of the good stuff. Yeah, they are the sole proprietors of those things of the

Matt Langston 36:28 of that this is why capitalism of religion gets you a superpower.

Rebecca Shaw 36:33 Everything else is flawed, is a ROCOR. Yeah. And will ultimately lead you to destruction,

Matt Langston 36:43 right? Yeah, I do want to say that they're probably not three better people who are more primed to appreciate this book and to love it. We are and I know that there's nobody else like on the podcast, like naysaying Katherine's books, I just want to acknowledge the the equitable thought happening. But I will say that one of the things I really enjoyed about her book is just based off my own experiences. I thought that, number one, she was very, very good at documenting her sources. Absolutely a lot of fun coming from her own real life experience. And the research that she did to compile this book together. I was so impressed, impeccable, I loved the back quarter of the book, I feel no, but all of these references.

Rebecca Shaw 37:32 There was a point where you and I were talking about like, where we were in the book, I was like, yeah, she's like, Oh, my gosh, I just finished this chapter. And I'm shook and shook. I was reading it on my Kindle. I had ebooks shout out to the library. You can get ebooks through your library. Go check it out.

Stephen Bradford Long 37:50 Thank you, Madam library.

Rebecca Shaw 37:53 Use your public library support them. fund them, please. Anyway. And my Kindle tells me like, Oh, you're 30 30% of the way through the book. And Matt was telling me oh, you're like, 50% of the way through the book. Because you have a hard copy. You bought it? Yeah. Right. Yeah. And I was like, No, I'm like, 30% of the way through. Because, like you said, a quarter of the book is just references documentation. Yeah. So well documented. Yeah. I love that. I love all of the other books that I now need to go read that are referenced in this book. Yeah. So excellent, excellent journalism. There.

Matt Langston 38:30 Were there were times even as somebody who's not a Christian. Now, I understand the position that she's in sort of dismantling this, this faith systems belief system. Yes. And there were times where I felt like she was being so fair. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. It felt like she would have been completely in her rights to kind of rip somebody in you, asshole. And she decided to like to hold back and maintain a perspective of it that she didn't didn't seem like it was unnecessarily damning of people in these situations. It felt very empathetic to me, she was

Rebecca Shaw 39:05 very, very good at presenting this in a human way, in a way that said, this is where these ideas came from. This is how they've grown. This is how they've impacted these people who, whether they realize it or not. Yeah.

Stephen Bradford Long 39:21 So and one of the things that she talks about, I think, in the introduction to the book, is that this is not a critique of Christianity. Yeah. And I really, really appreciated that, that she is not critiquing Christianity as a whole. And one of I think the most important points that she made is that this is maybe maybe the most effective people at combating this will be other Christians. Yes. And we'll be conscientious objectors within the Christian faith and that we weed so we really, really need other Christians claiming their own religious freedoms and their own religious to write and saying no Christian Dominionism, seven, seven mountain Dominionism and Christian nationalism do not represent my faith, the entirety of Christ and God of Christianity. And those are the people who will really win the fight. And the probably,

Rebecca Shaw 40:16 she does point out the end of the book, too. She, she mentions in the conclusion that she has taken a very specific viewpoint in this book, and has hyper focused on this one issue, and that there are Christian organizations and Christian groups that are taking a stand and fighting back. Yeah. And I loved that,

Matt Langston 40:36 which I felt comforting. I did too, because I feel like this is if you if you do identify as Christian, I mean, make no mistake about it, like your rights are being to our jobs were taken away because of this very thing, because we were not willing to see what we believe to be yes. Do you love that story?

Stephen Bradford Long 40:58 Tell that story in a nutshell.

Rebecca Shaw 40:59 Yes. How do you?

Stephen Bradford Long 41:01 How do you sum it up?

Rebecca Shaw 41:02 Um, that I was leaving for grad school as this was going on? That was my PCNL moment. Yeah. But we were both working in Montreat. At the time.

Matt Langston 41:12 Yeah, we were both working in Montreal. I was a professor I was doing. I started a music business program there and audio production program there. I was enjoying my time with kids. It was I knew that the institution itself was a Christian college. But its political affiliations had very throughout the years. And so a lot of the people that I knew work there had a very differing interpretation of Christianity, everybody kind of thought something different. It was a very wide table, at which a lot of people that were kind of under this, under this umbrella of Christendom, there were a lot of different phenomena, it was very inviting and warm and welcoming. And it was a place to hell, it was a place to help educate people on how to how to see the world with empathy. It wasn't this indoctrinating place of like, there's this one form of Christianity. Well, it ultimately ended up falling into financial ruin, there was a financial crisis, they, in their best attempts at trying to salvage this school, ended up hiring a president to come in, who is very seemed very kind of onboard with this Christian ideology. And he ended up enforcing all of these very strange and bizarre sort of directives for the staff and the faculty. And one of those was this very specific interpretation of the scriptures, which which is a very Christian nationalist, I feel like interpretation. It is the Bible and scriptures. And so while we're on campus, we're seeing our our friends in the LGBTQ community, black students being discriminated against openly, openly, seeing, seeing different conversations sort of be quelled intellectual inquiry being quelled in many different ways. And so ultimately, they it came down to, hey, you can either sign this document of faith. It was a faith and conduct statement, it

Rebecca Shaw 43:22 was the employee handbook, and I distinct, I have so many distinct memories from this, because Sorry, I'm cutting, I'm jumping in here, you're good. They had what they called listening sessions, where, and they had several of them to make sure that all the employees were able to attend, which was nice of them. But, you know, I went to one and you were handed the document. As you enter the room, it was numbered. And you were told you are not allowed to leave the room with this document and secrecy, it was done in secrecy, you had to sign your name out as part of the meeting like, oh, you know, Rebecca has document 167. Right. And because I

Matt Langston 44:04 knew that there were so many different things, document that were problematic, and that would have been an absolute PR nightmare for them. They were requiring of their professors secrecy,

Rebecca Shaw 44:13 and they told us not to take pictures of it.

Stephen Bradford Long 44:16 So am I going to get sued for no conference? Oh,

Rebecca Shaw 44:19 they don't have some money. Oh, no, they're still in financial ruin.

Matt Langston 44:26 So all of this was in was was was spin to us as a like we essentially don't want to be sued for discrimination. And if we lean into these religious, we these religious laws that have been passed that essentially allow us to discriminate, then we can't be held accountable for them. So this is a school that although it is a private Christian institution is receiving federal financial aid, right. And so federal law which she talks about in the He

Rebecca Shaw 45:00 does. She talks about how these different versions like circumnavigate that right, and

Matt Langston 45:04 this is a complete circumnavigation of fairness and equitability? Yeah. That happens within the private school system. And so, essentially what happened was, we weren't capable, personally, of signing a document that we felt like, no, I'm sorry, not that we felt like that we knew was discriminatory against LGBTQ and other minority and other minorities as well. And we felt like it was an absolute bastardization of the experience of Christianity as a whole, to whittle all of it down to these this very specific interpretation that allows for a very small group of people to stay in power, and for everybody else to constantly have none of it.

Rebecca Shaw 45:54 Well, and in the clincher, the meeting that I went to, there was another staff member who brought up a concern that this was leaning towards fundamentalism, right. And the President looked her dead in the eye and said, I assure you it is not right. And that's untrue. And that is a blatant lie.

Matt Langston 46:14 Right? And this is all while this is happening. People are experiencing absolutely horrific mistreatment. Yes, from the President and the Vice President at the same time. So it's, it's yet again, in in my life, personally, another example of these people who are put in positions of power, and people mistake, a job for spiritual dominance over other people. Yes, it was absolutely terrific. So if you like so here's the thing. If you think that this isn't happening in the world, or you think that it's sensationalist. Yeah, I'm just telling you based off my own personal experience, I lost my job because of this shit. Yeah. And it goes to my interest. And so so many people have lost so much more than I did. I feel like I should be the last person to cry foul, because I feel like I've lived a very rich and meaningful and happy life,

Rebecca Shaw 47:07 but it's also also disenfranchising those students.

Stephen Bradford Long 47:13 Oh, my God. Yeah. I mean,

Matt Langston 47:14 the sheets, the amount of an actual education, it's

Rebecca Shaw 47:16 not an agile actual education. And it forced everyone, every one of their professors or like the staff on campus, who were supportive of them. And I'm speaking specifically about the, you know, the LGBT, LGBTQ and minority communities on campus. There was outcry amongst the students at the time, and it just cheated them of support, right?

Stephen Bradford Long 47:42 Yep. My experience when I was there as a student was prior to all this, yeah. And I. And I had professors who were not gay affirming, but were very thoughtful about it. Yeah. And they would sit down with me, and we all have conversations, and they, but the respect that I felt from them was palpable. Yes. And those are the ones who got shoved out. And then yeah, and then there were other professors who were 100% affirming. And I would have conversations with them as well. And if the point of an education is to be exposed to two different worldviews in a respectful manner, then I really got that. But Christian nationalism, shut all of the seeks

Matt Langston 48:28 to create a monoculture out of Christian it have no diversity exact whatsoever?

Rebecca Shaw 48:34 Well, and again, something that I've been reflecting on, is it just look at who's in power? Look at who the system privileges? Yeah, yeah. You know, the three of us are more young liberals on the liberal side, and are putting in the work to critically examine systems of power in our society, right. And, you know, why would you not do that, to your faith to your religion, and many people have and have chosen to leave. But something that she talks about in the book, and I thought was really hard hitting, you know, if everyone leaves Christianity, which a isn't going to happen, right, but, you know, if all the people who see problems with Christianity simply up and leave, it will never be fixed, right? This is something that is not only affecting the political spectrum and the world at large, but it is eroding the underpinnings of the Christian faith, right? From within. Right. It is the things that are good and wholesome about Christianity, because I do believe that there are such things but I do. I think there's a heavy amount of corruption. And if you are not in a place to say, question any of that, yeah, or push back or say, who is our current system privileging, who's benefiting the most from this? That's a problem.

Matt Langston 50:17 Yeah. And you're taught and within that faith that to push back is to be rebellious. What you have lost your way or to have lost my way. And the thing is that there are people that come into Christianity because they decide to, to buck the system that they are in, right? It's a complete non sequitur, say that it's sometimes sometimes it's worth lighting a match to something or just throwing a stone through the window just to see what the windows made of. Yes, that's how you learn. That's how you understand something's value. That's part of our experience of being human. It's what kids do every day, right is test boundaries and learn how things operate so that they have a greater understanding, and can appreciate the richness of the world around them.

Rebecca Shaw 51:03 It's a sense of play almost, yes, curiosity. And I think those things are wonderful. Yeah. And if you are someone who is afraid of questions being asked, because you are afraid of what the answer might be, that's a problem. Yeah, that's, that feels like a red flag to me that, that maybe your faith isn't what it should be? Or what it could be or what it could be

Stephen Bradford Long 51:30 sure. And your general life philosophy and your community are not what they should

Rebecca Shaw 51:34 write if curiosity is not something that's supported. Yeah.

Stephen Bradford Long 51:38 Big Red Flag. Huge. I think that's a great note to end on. Do we have any final thoughts before we bring this in for a landing?

Rebecca Shaw 51:46 Oh, I have so many thoughts about this book.

Matt Langston 51:50 She's on podcast number two, and she's already a seven headed Hydra. of common.

Stephen Bradford Long 51:57 Well, we can all look forward to madam librarian being on future episodes.

Rebecca Shaw 52:03 But I will say you should read this book. And hopefully, you'll get something good out of it.

Matt Langston 52:10 As enriching. Yeah. For your understanding of what's happening in America,

Rebecca Shaw 52:14 whether it's, you know, an enrichment of let's face it, everyone has a conservative Christian in their life, whether it be a family member. Yeah. You probably know someone, maybe you don't, but a lot of people have conservative family members. So maybe this will be a point of empathy. Yes, standing. Absolutely. I

Matt Langston 52:39 wish that as well.

Stephen Bradford Long 52:42 All right. Well, Thus ends the first book club episode. I do hope that you enjoyed this two part series. If you did, please let me know. Let me know your thoughts on this format. And if you would like to see me do more of them. As always, you can contact me at Steven Bradford long forward slash contact. I love hearing back from my audience. If you have thoughts if you have criticisms if you don't agree with us, or if you just want to agree very vigorously with us, please send me an email. I can't wait to hear back from you. Also do Oh, yes. Also, if you are interested in buying this book, you can get it all over the place, but I do want to put in a plug for book shop.com.bookshop.org Sorry, thank you. Thank you, Madam librarian. bookshop.org i We have a rock candy bookshop. I will post a link in the show notes. You can buy power worshipers on there and it will come from an indie bookshop and then 10% of what you pay for the book will support rock candy which is our recording studio here. So definitely go read the book definitely read a lot more books. And you know hold yourself up in a cave with a bunch of books to get through this trying time if you need to. That's what I've been doing. All right. Well that is it for this show. The music is by the jelly rocks and 11 D seven you can find them on iTunes Spotify or wherever you listen to music Matt which show or Which song should we close out for this episode?

Matt Langston 54:22 Ah, let's close out with not Senoia Okay,

Stephen Bradford Long 54:26 yeah, let's do it. Okay, we'll close out with that one. The artwork is by Rama Krishna Das. This is a production of rock candy media. And this show is written produced and edited by me Steven Bradford long as always Hail Satan and we'll see you next week.

54:52 Often last summer. Squash you may not include flowers. until we cried we run out of the same time flies free life is turning into work rinse repeat untangle what we've turned into

55:55 you feel like you do the same when I feel you cuz you feel like oh, you've been my truth. Every plan I've made us change