Episode 14:Latino/a Pentecostal Identity

July 19, 2017

Juhem and Luciano explore Latinx identity with Dr. Arlene Sanchez-Walsh, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Asuza Pacific University. Toptic include: navigating identity as an ethnic minority in the country and a religious minority in the community, "reverse" missions from Latin America to the USA, sociological explanations of Pentecostal conversion.

About the guest

Arlene M. Sánchez-Walsh, Ph.D., is associate professor of religious studies and the author of the award-winning book Latino Pentecostal Identity: Evangelical Faith, Self, and Society (Columbia University Press, 2003). She has authored more than a dozen articles and book chapters on the subject of Latino/a Pentecostalism, and has served as a media expert for outlets such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and “On Being” with Krista Tippett, and served as an expert on Latino/a religious history for the PBS series “God in America.” Sánchez-Walsh’s current writing projects include a textbook on Pentecostalism in America, and a monograph on Latinos/as and the prosperity gospel. Her current research is on the rise of nonbelief among Latinos/as.


Episode 13: The Curse of the Democrats

July 12, 2017

Luciano and Juhem discuss the recent special elections to replace GOP congress persons who have joined Donald Trump's cabinet. While Democrats have come close to winning, given the partisan leaning of those districts, they have yet to light a cigar. Our co-hosts debate how important these "special elections" are, and whether the Democrats need a leadership change.

Related Links

Where Can Democrats Win? By Nate Silver in FiveThirtyEight


Episode 12: The Religious Left (Revisited)

July 5, 2017

Juhem and Luciano revisit a topic from their very first episode. The New York Times recently revived discussion of the religious left with a long and in-depth piece about the problems getting the movement going. Juhem and Luciano discuss the article and some other pieces reacting to it. They also offer their opinion about the limits of the religious left, and why those limitations can help the secular left carve its own political space.



NY Times Article

Mark Silk blog post

Friendly Atheist Podcast

The LatiNone on evangelicals for Trump

The LatiNone on secular political representation

The LatiNone on why candidates ignore secular voters


Episode 11: Washington vs. Managua

June 28, 2017

In the second part of our Paris Accord episode Luciano explains why Nicaragua was not among the countries that signed the agreement and why the USA leaving is not a comparable action. Juhem discusses Latinx public opinion on climate change and theorizes about how transnational ties influence Latinx perspectives on this issue.  

Related links:

Juhem's piece: "Latino/as are Key to the Future of Climate Change Policies"

Juhem & Dan Cox piece: "Are Transnational Ties Leading Latinos to Express Greater Concern about Climate Change?"

North Korea blasts Trump as 'silly,' 'ignorant' over Paris Accord withdrawal

US joins only Syria and Nicaragua on climate accord 'no' list

Cover image source: NASA


Episode 10: Pittsburgh > Paris

June 21, 2017

President Trump got the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord(s) earlier this month. This week, in the first of two episodes dedicated to analyze this event, Luciano explains what is the Paris Climate Accord, why it is important, and the limits of this international agreement. Juhem discusses the public opinion on climate change and introduces the concept of "Trumpslating": the art of translating the President's statements into something that makes sense.

Related links:

PRRI/AAR Religion, Values and Climate Change Survey

Yale Program on Climate Change Communication

President Trump's speech on Paris Climate Agreement (annotated by NPR)

Cover image source: NASA


Episode 9: Counting Atheists

June 14, 2017

 This week Juhem and Luciano discuss two articles exploring the same piece of research: Are atheists undercounted in the United States? Juhem focuses on the different ways surveys measure non-belief while Luciano questions whether people who do not use the word atheist should be identified as such. The discussion, naturally, later revolves about politics and whether an openly atheist politician can have a long and successful career.


Is one American in Four an Atheist? (Tom Jacobs, Pacific Standard)

Way More Americans May Be Atheists Than We Thought (Daniel Cox, Fivethirtyeight.com)

 Other links:

'American Nones' ISSSC Report (2009)

'Nones on the Rise' Pew Report (2012)

'Exodus' PRRI Report (2016)

Secular Nation podcast on the Freethought Equality PAC

Image source: Religion News Service


Episode 8: The War on Public Schools in North Carolina

June 7, 2017

Recently, the Republican-controlled legislature in North Carolina removed
funding for schools in districts represented by Democratic Party legislators.
Luciano discusses the politics behind this move and the consequences of
these actions while Juhem places these events in the larger national contexts of partisan polarization and the role of public education in society.


Luciano on "North Carolina’s Highly Problematic General Assembly Republicans."

News Observer article

Image source: North Carolina GOP


Episode 6: 40 Days of Johnny Mendez

May 24, 2017

Puerto Rico Speaker of the House Carlos "Johnny" Méndez led 40 days of prayer and fasting to "help" the island get out of its current crises despite obvious legal concerns regarding church-state separation (and the fact that prayer doesn't solve anything). Luciano tells the story of what happened and who opposed the government-led religious activity. Juhem provides some historical and anecdotal evidence of why these acts by politicians are commonplace in Puerto Rico.



Luciano's blog post "Secular Humanists Of Puerto Rico Move To Challenge Carlos “Johnny” Mendez." at Sin/God.

Fox News article

India.com article

Pasquines.us article

IHEU article

Metro Puerto Rico article (en español)


Johnny Mendez image source: Twitter


Episode 5: Telenovelas Pt. 2

May 17, 2017

This week Juhem and Luciano continue their conversation with Dr. Melixa Abad-Izquierdo about Telenovelas, the Latin American cultural phenomenon. In part 2 Dr. Abad-Izquierdo discusses telenovelas outside of Mexico, Non-Catholic representations of religion, and the future of telenovelas in the era of streaming media.


About the guest

Dr. Melixa Abad-Izquierdo is an Assistant Professor of History at Farmingdale State College. She is also the author of “A Melodramatic Miracle: The Cultural and Political Economy of the Mexican Telenovela, 1950-1980” an essay in Soap Operas and Telenovelas in the Digital Age: Global Industries, Hybrid Content, and New Audience,edited by Diana I. Rios and Mari Castañeda. Also by her, “A Lachrymose Heroine For the Masses: The Origins of the Cinderella Plotline in Mexican Telenovelas, 1968-1973.” In Modernization, Nation-Building, and Television History. Edited by Melissa Chakars and Stewart Anderson. New York: Routledge, 2014. Her research interests are Latin American popular culture and its connections to politics.