Los Angeles, Calif., Feb. 15 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Talking about politics and religion often leads to pointless arguments and a fight (1). Democracy does not guarantee our freedom to talk about this topic, whether on the prime-time programming of FOX NEWS, MSNBC and OANN or simply at our backyard barbecue with family and friends.
Corey Nathan, producer and host of Talkin’ Politics & Religion Without Killin’ Each Other thinks we can. The subjects of politics and religion have had a history of litigation often accompanied by violence.
In today’s media world, from traditional broadcast juggernauts to smaller-scale niche outlets, the well-known tensions of polarization have become the norm. Experts who mount vitriol with the most outrageous takes on “the other side” are rewarded.
In the media, there is a broader trend of massive increases in the number of people listening to podcasts versus a steady decrease in those listening to terrestrial radio. Podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience, Stuff You Should Know, and Pod Save America have millions of listeners. These figures coincide with the emergence of other media platforms such as digital newsletters like Substack and Medium.
It was in this environment that independent platforms emerged as an alternative to the “Cold Civil War” that national figures like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin had established. Today there is a growing ecosystem of podcasts, journalism and other content such as The Dispatch, The Bulwark and Politicology, as well as individual contributors like Matt Lewis, Pete Dominick and many others who value in-depth dialogue over incendiary 10-second sound bites.
What is TP&R?
Enter Talkin’ Politics & Religion Without Killin’ Each Other, a podcast launched in late 2020 with the intention of engaging with “all kinds of people across the spectrum and hopefully having fun in the process.” The guest list included elected officials, national media personalities, scholars and religious leaders, including Bill Kristol, Charlie Sykes, Curtis Chang, Dr. Russell Moore, Sarah Isgur, former Congressman Joe Walsh, Matt Lewis , Elizabeth Neumann, Del Walters and Jake Sherman. among others.
“Having voices in our culture that can have healthy dialogue on important topics without the warrior mentality is essential,” says TP&R creator Corey Nathan. “That’s why we’re doing this. It was inspiring to see all of these high profile people hanging out with us on the show. A little counter-programming to all the howlers out there.
The idea for TP&R was planted years ago when Corey experienced a religious conversion. In his late twenties at the time, he became a Christian after growing up in an observant Jewish family.
This created a rift between some family members and friends. To help work through these differences, it became imperative for the new Christian to avoid heated arguments and learn to engage “in gentleness and respect.”
Later, it was within his church that Corey found it difficult to talk about topics such as politics. He discovered that in addition to doctrinal orthodoxy, such as believing in the authority of the Bible, there was also political orthodoxy. As he describes it, “Over the years I’ve been kicked out of a Bible study or two just for asking a question about whether we in the church were wrong about something like immigration. Or how we take care of the homeless.
But these conflicts weren’t just limited to his church friends. “Meanwhile, I was getting heat from other circles in the arts and entertainment industry, many of them assuming that being a Christian meant I was also a hard-core Republican. So I would have people who would ask me to defend the war in Iraq or something that a right-wing politician would have said.
Then, when more and more evangelicals came out to support Donald Trump’s candidacy and presidency, that’s when Corey decided to engage more actively in discussions about politics and religion. Creating a podcast as a forum to tackle this challenge head-on was the perfect solution.
“Podcasting is a great place to have these conversations. Unlike traditional radio and television, good podcasts allow the host and guests to be much more nuanced. What guys like Marc Maron and Dax Shepherd do so well is go the extra mile with their guests. So we decided to do that too – but in the realm of faith and politics. I’m just trying to reclaim and redeem some of that space in the public square.
TP&R is a podcast started by Corey Nathan that talks about politics and religions in 2020. He built this “safe container” to make sure all voices are heard without judgement. Starting from a Judeo-Christian bend that has caused controversy in those around him, Corey has successfully invited high-profile guests to his podcast, including elected officials, national media personalities, academics and religious leaders. One podcast and one conversation at a time.
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