The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


EPISODE # 114

Katherine Stewart — The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism

For too long the Religious Right has masqueraded as a social movement preoccupied with a number of cultural issues, such as abortion and same-sex marriage. But in her deeply reported investigation, Katherine Stewart reveals a disturbing truth: America’s Religious Right has evolved into a Christian nationalist movement. It seeks to gain political power and to impose its vision on all of society. It isn’t fighting a culture war, it is waging a political war on the norms and institutions of American democracy. Stewart shows that the real power of the movement lies in a dense network of think tanks, advocacy groups, and pastoral organizations, embedded in a rapidly expanding community of international alliances with likeminded, anti-democratic religious nationalists around the world, including Russia. She follows the money behind the movement and traces much of it to a group of super-wealthy, ultraconservative donors and family foundations. The Christian nationalist movement is far more organized and better funded than most people realize. It seeks to control all aspects of government and society. Its successes have been stunning, and its influence now extends to every aspect of American life, from the White House to state capitols, from our schools to our hospitals. Shermer and Stewart also discuss:

  • how the Moral Majority of the Reagan era 1980s morphed into the Christian nationalists of today
  • why 81% of white evangelicals voted for Trump, one of the least religious presidents in U.S. history
  • follow the money: where these many Christian nationalist organizations get their funding
  • Betsy DeVos, big money, and school vouchers: what’s really going on with so-called “school choice”
  • how conservatives use pastors to “get out the vote”
  • When did Jesus become a conservative?
  • Christian nationalists and the poor
  • Christian nationalists and homosexuality
  • how Christian nationalists made abortion a modern political cause
  • how conservatives like Barry Goldwater used to support a woman’s right to an abortion
  • why conservatives are actually in favor of big government…when it suits their ideological and religious agendas (military, police, prisons, courts, immigration, corporate welfare, etc.)
  • Who’s next? Mike Pence, Ted Cruz? The future of democracy in an age of Christian nationalism.

Katherine Stewart’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, American Prospect, The Atlantic and other publications. She is the author of The Good News Club, an investigation of the religious right and public education.

Listen to the podcast via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn.

You play a vital part in our commitment to promoting science and reason. If you enjoy the Science Salon Podcast, please show your support.


THE GREAT COURSES PLUS

Free trial, then pay only $10/mth. with a quarterly plan

The Great Courses Plus is the premier video-on-demand service, brought to you by The Great Courses – the leading global media brand for lifelong learning and personal enrichment. With thousands of in-depth videos taught by the world’s greatest professors, you’ll always have something fascinating to learn about.

For a limited time only, my listeners will get a free trial, then pay only $10/mth. with a quarterly plan. Sign up now using my special URL: thegreatcoursesplus.com/salon.

Access a world of knowledge:

  • unlimited access to engaging and immersive learning experiences
  • available on a wide variety of internet-connected devices
  • never any commercials
  • pause, rewind, fast forward, or re-watch as often as you like
  • exclusive benefits for Plus Members.

Get free trial, then pay $10/mth. with a quarterly plan

This episode was released on May 5, 2020.

Skeptic Magazine App on iPhone

SKEPTIC App

Whether at home or on the go, the SKEPTIC App is the easiest way to read your favorite articles. Within the app, users can purchase the current issue and back issues. Download the app today and get a 30-day free trial subscription.

Download the Skeptic Magazine App for iOS, available on the App Store
Download the Skeptic Magazine App for Android, available on Google Play
Download the Skeptic Magazine App for iOS, available on the App Store
Download the Skeptic Magazine App for Android, available on Google Play
SKEPTIC • 3938 State St., Suite 101, Santa Barbara, CA, 93105-3114 • 1-805-576-9396 • Copyright © 1992–2023. All rights reserved • Privacy Policy