What if the religious extremism Americans should be most concerned about comes from Christianity? In this episode, Jaye explores the authoritarian, extremist elements of American evangelicalism and the overwhelming support of Donald Trump by white evangelical Christians. Jaye also discusses the Quiverfull movement, the increasing emphasis on authoritarianism and control within evangelical Christian colleges, dominionism, racial reconciliation, evangelical support for Donald Trump’s inhumane policies, and parallels between right-wing evangelicalism and ultra-conservative Islam.

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In our multi-parter second installment of Riverside Chats, Jaye is joined by her husband Chuckles as they share just a little bit of their lively political conversations – as a couple with divergent political views. In Part 1, Jaye and Chuckles debate the Stormy Daniels controversy, revisit health care, and begin discussing the 2018 midterm elections. Should the Democratic Party attempt to court Trump voters, and if so, how can they do that without losing their base?

The Riverside Chats special format is brought to Potstirrer Podcast on occasion to include some diversity of thought to the show and to encourage learning and discussion outside of the “echo chambers” of the right and the left.

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*Note: For Riverside Chats, we experimented with a different sound setup. My apologies in advance for any sound issues. -Jaye

In this episode, Jaye contemplates her academic background and personal experiences in American evangelicalism when examining the recent focus by the mainstream media on white evangelicals. Over 80 percent of white evangelical voters supported Donald Trump in 2016, and many American evangelical leaders continue to defend Trump’s rhetoric and actions, which sharply run against the very Bible evangelical doctrine states is the inerrant word of God. Are white evangelical believers being persecuted or led astray? And – is American evangelicalism redeemable?

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When I taught political science courses, one of my favorite lessons would be on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. That would usually come up in the civil rights chapter of the American government intro courses, or I would include it in my courses on race, gender and politics. The reason why it was my favorite was because it gave me an opportunity to share with my students the real Dr. King, and see them wrestle with it.

Each year in the United States, we take a day in January to observe Dr. King’s birthday. He is lauded as a great, non-violent civil rights leader who gave the “I Have a Dream” speech.

And he was. But understanding Dr. King, and why his message was so controversial and challenging to white America despite his philosophy of non-violence, we have to go beyond the Dream.

Much of what Dr. King said was not only controversial in his time, but also in this time.

The speech I would have my students read was this one. You should read it too.

Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution

In it, Dr. King speaks to issues and solutions that are still difficult for many Americans to process, such as systematic discrimination, white guilt, the responsibility of the white church, affirmative action, and reparations.

For many of us who are only familiar with a sanitized Dr. King, it’s hard to reconcile the Dream with King’s views on these issues. But the history of race and race relations in the United States, like Dr. King’s views on racism and racial progress, are complex. And we should treat these issues with the seriousness and nuance they deserve.

In the age of Trump, Dr. King’s words – all of them – are just as important and timely as ever. Going beyond the Dream and understanding the hard things can help us to grow as a society and nation.

Today’s episode explores the Second Amendment to the US Constitution in light of the recent mass shootings and rhetoric from American politicians surrounding crime, terrorism, gun control and mental illness. Jaye presents what some listeners may consider a surprising take on the issue of gun control and the Second Amendment. Also, Jaye makes the argument that how politicians, interest groups and the media discuss these issues does the American people a disservice. Does the way we understand and respond to crime and terrorism truly make us safe?

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In today’s episode, Jaye discusses the changes Donald Trump is making to health care, and the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. How has Trump reacted to the natural disaster and loss of life in Puerto Rico, and what does his reaction say about what the president values? In addition, Jaye delves into the role of a free press, and brings historical context to why Trump’s constant attacks on the news media are dangerous for democracy.

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In today’s episode, host Jaye Pool discusses the importance of truth-telling when working through the divides in American society today. In particular, Jaye focuses on controversies over the the meaning and fate of historical symbols of the Confederacy that came out of the Civil War and Reconstruction, such as Confederate monuments and the Confederate Flag. The Civil War and the mythology that came out of the war’s aftermath can serve as warning against embracing the “alternative facts” of the present day.