In the runup to the 2020 US general election, several events have occurred on local, state and federal levels that point to an authoritarian slide for the United States. Jaye discusses some of these events, including the presidential and vice-presidential debates, the plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Kentucky grand jury decision in the Breonna Taylor case, Donald Trump’s ban on the teaching of “critical race theory” in public schools, and the rushed efforts to confirm staunch conservative Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court in advance of the election. Focusing on the example set by the Christian Right, Jaye makes the case for progressives voting for Joe Biden in this election, and warns that there is more at stake in this election than policy goals.
In this public posting of an episode originally released as a Patreon bonus in August 2018 (original title: Abuse: Endorsed by Scripture?), Jaye discusses the use of Romans 13:1-5, a passage in the Bible invoked by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the White House Press Secretary at the time, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, to justify the separation and detainment of families seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border. What does this Bible passage really mean – in a historical and contemporary context – if Sessions and Sanders are correct? Jaye warns of the danger of using religious passages to justify oppressive government actions. This episode also includes fresh new commentary that frames this episode in the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests.
CONTENT WARNING: The following episode includes discussion of physical and sexual abuse, including the abuse of children. Listener discretion is advised.
In the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police, and the resulting Black Lives Matter uprisings and protests, there has been an ongoing national conversation regarding police brutality and race. In the final part of a two-episode series, Jaye discusses developments in policing that have increased the danger police pose to society, including the infiltration of police departments by white supremacists and police militarization. She also outlines some possible solutions that are intended to make all communities safer, from police reforms such as increased accountability and demilitarization, to police restructuring such as defunding the police and abolishing police. Why is even incremental change so difficult, and what does it truly mean to “defund” and “abolish” police?
CONTENT WARNING: The following episode involves discussion of crime, police brutality and bigotry, including physical violence, sexual assault, murder, racism, Islamophobia, homophobia and transphobia. Listener discretion is advised.
In the second installment of America’s War on Drugs, drug czar Harry Anslinger continues his reign from the 1930s through the early 1960s. During his 32 years as commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, he campaigned against not only about cannabis, but also against narcotics and opiates. Jaye discusses Anslinger’s reach and impact – including on the medical profession and global drug policies, and how he used mainstream society’s fears of racial equality and communism to advance his vision of an anti-drug world.
CONTENT WARNING – The following episode discusses mature themes, including murder, suicide, illicit drug use, child sex abuse and domestic violence. Listener discretion is advised.
In the wake of the recent mass shootings in El Paso, TX, Dayton, OH, and Gilroy, CA, Jaye discusses gun violence, including many of the root issues that contribute to the gun violence epidemic in the United States, and the importance of properly addressing these issues. She takes on white supremacy, misogyny, other right-wing extremist ideologies, and Donald Trump’s failure to unqualifiably condemn white supremacy. Is gun control the answer to the scourge of mass shootings?
Content Warning: This episode includes discussion of sexual violence, gun violence, suicide, and murder, including mass murder. Listener discretion is advised.
With the proliferation of abortion bans passed into law in several states designed to trigger a US Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade (1973), what are the real dangers of these laws? Jaye reconsiders her earlier position on fetal personhood and outlines her view regarding the tension between the rights of the woman versus the rights of the fetus. She delves into infant and maternal mortality in the US, mass shootings, and discrimination by faith-based charities, making the argument that the anti-abortion movement has no real interest in protecting the sanctity of life.
CONTENT WARNING: Miscarriage, stillbirth, medical procedures, death, child molestation, sexual and physical violence
As several states are passing extremely restrictive anti-abortion laws, and civil rights are increasingly being denied to a number of groups in the United States, Jaye discusses the conservative evangelical Christianity that got us here. Is conservative evangelicalism “real Christianity” and why does the answer to that question matter? How does evangelicalism lead its adherents to support authoritarian, regressive, and cruel politicians and public policies? Jaye shares her personal experience in evangelical Christianity for first-person insight into the methods and teachings that lead evangelical Christians to extreme stances on issues that may have little to no basis in the Bible they claim is inerrant.
R. Kelly has been an R&B superstar for two decades, with hit songs such as “I Believe I Can Fly” and “I Wish,” and winning several music awards, including three Grammys. But while Kelly has enjoyed mainstream success, throughout his career, he has been plagued by allegations of sexual involvement with underage girls and inappropriate, abusive relationships with women and girls.
Recently, the documentary miniseries “Surviving R. Kelly” was released on Lifetime, discussing allegations of Kelly’s sexual misconduct, including more recent allegations that he keeps women and girls captive in an abusive “sex cult.” The documentary featured interviews with several accusers, family members of alleged victims, former business and personal associates, and family members.
R. Kelly has not been convicted of any crime related to the sexual misconduct and abuse allegations, and he has denied all accusations.
In this episode, Jaye discusses the R. Kelly documentary with her brother, the author of Gods of Life and co-owner of Shining Otaku Comics, Ervin Johnson II. Jaye and Ervin talk about Kelly’s history, the #MeToo movement, and women’s empowerment. The episode also includes a “palate cleanser” segment where they discuss manga (Japanese comics), Shining Otaku Comics, and Gods of Life.
CONTENT WARNING: This episode includes discussion of sexual assault, child molestation, and domestic violence. Listener discretion is advised.
The relationship between the American church and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people has all too often been rocky, and conflict is inflamed by opposition by churches and Christian political institutions to equal rights for LGBTQ Americans. Opposition to equal rights for LGBTQ Americans is based on the belief among many Christian traditions, denominations, and sects that homosexuality and transgender identity are morally wrong, based on how they interpret a handful of Bible verses.
In Part I of a two-part series, Jaye focuses on the non-affirming position of many Christian institution as it relates to sexual orientation. She examines the “clobber” verses, making the argument that the non-affirming position is not conclusively supported by the Bible. What damage is being done to LGBTQ people, both inside and outside the church because of the non-affirming doctrine of many American churches? And – can you be Christian and affirming?
CONTENT WARNING: This episode includes discussion of homophobia, anti-LGBTQ bigotry, sexual assault and suicide. Listener discretion is advised.
In response to Vice-President Mike Pence stating Christian education should be off-limits to criticism, hashtag #ExposeChristianSchools, started by scholar and exvangelical Chrissy Stroop (@c_stroop), went viral, particularly on Twitter.
Jaye discusses the need for extremist ideology and abusive behavior in evangelical Christian schools to be exposed, and the importance of providing space for those who have lived through the Christian school experience to share their experiences. She also shares a couple of personal stories from briefly attending a Christian elementary school.
Why are right-wing politicians, conservative media, and evangelical Christian leaders hostile to people coming forward with the truth about evangelical Christian education?