Rank #1: Ep. 105 - Dr. Dawn Eden, Catholic Convert and Author
Before giving a talk at a church just outside of Chicago recently, we had 20 minutes to chat. We used the limited time to talk about her unique religious journey, whether allowing priests to have sex is a good idea, and how she arguably kickstarted my own career with one blog post.
(As I make clear in the podcast, there were several points I would love to have pushed back on and debated further, but time didn't allow for it.)
Rank #2: Ep. 74 - Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian
Andrew Bradley is the creator and writer for BettyBowers.com. If you haven’t seen the videos, Betty is American’s Best Christian, and she has a lot to say about traditional marriage, abortion, the upcoming elections, and so much more. She’s a hilarious parody of right-wing extremists. Andrew was also one of the main writers for Landover Baptist Church, a parody of a fundamentalist Christian church that featured articles that people still believe are real. He’s also the author of Welcome to JesusLand.
Deven Green plays Mrs. Betty Bowers. She’s a comedian, musician, and performer. She was also a comedy judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
We spoke with Andrew and Deven about how they collaborate, the kind of hate mail they receive, and the origins of Landover Baptist Church.
By the way, this is our first time trying to host four people on the same phone call, so the audio's not always ideal, but hopefully it's all still audible!
Rank #3: Ep. 95 - Jeffrey Tayler, Author and Salon Columnist
I spoke with Jeffrey about Salon's reputation for publishing just about anything criticizing atheists, what the public doesn't understand about the New Atheists, and the impact religion will have on the 2016 elections.
Rank #4: Ep. 190 - Roy Moore Needed An 11th Commandment
-- The Texas shooter was allegedly an atheist. Is it true? What would that even mean in this situation? (0:49)
-- Roy Moore, the family values Christian and Senate candidate, allegedly molested a 14-year-old girl several decades ago. (14:41)
-- Congressman Jared Huffman said he doesn't believe in God... and no one seemed to care. (31:50)
-- Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses are making their presence known in Kingdom Hall meetings. Is that a good tactic? (40:31)
-- Donald Trump supposedly wants to revoke the Church of Scientology's tax exemption. (52:24)
-- Does your church have secrets? FaithLeaks wants to know. (1:01:25)
Rank #5: Ep. 213 - The Even Sadder Creation Museum
-- Kent Hovind is advertising his new Creationist theme park using a meme mocking Creationists. (1:41)
-- White evangelical Christian support for Donald Trump is at an all-time high. (7:37)
-- The frighteningly conservative White House Bible studies being run by Capitol Ministries’ Ralph Drollinger. (13:40)
-- A Stanford study doesn't really show that the most religious kids do best in school. (17:56)
-- Pope Francis lied to a kid about whether or not his dead atheist father was in Heaven. (26:18)
-- This is a fairly accurate assessment of why people think Christians are "A**holes." (32:36)
-- Liberty University makes bank through its online education program. Too bad it's not good for students. (34:50)
-- Focus on the Family is legally a "church" now, and you should see how they pulled it off... (41:23)
-- Students at “Christian Hogwarts” are doing something called "grave sucking" and trying to walk through walls. (52:06)
-- Was Democratic National Committee vice chairman Keith Ellison right to say, "Women are dying" because his party loses elections? (57:34)
-- We answer listener mail! (1:09:21)
Rank #6: Ep. 131 - Vyckie Garrison, Former Quiverfull Mother
She recently received American Atheists' Atheist of the Year award and runs the blog "No Longer Quivering" to provide support to women and children who are escaping abusive religious movements and to provide the public with accurate and compassionate information on the unique challenges faced by the spiritually abused.
We spoke about what her Quiverfull lifestyle entailed, how she escaped it, and what advice she would give to other women in her position.
Rank #7: Ep. 122 - Ray Comfort, Evangelist and Producer of The Atheist Delusion
Rather than have a debate about God's existence, Ray and I spoke about whether Christians must accept a literal interpretation of Genesis, what he thinks will happen if atheists are elected to political office, and what might change his mind about Christianity.
Rank #8: Ep. 61 - Matt Dillahunty, Master Debater and Co-Host of The Atheist Experience
Jessica spoke with Matt about his religious upbringing, why he loves debates, and what he sees as the future of faith.
Rank #9: Ep. 98 - Phil Torres, Philosopher and Author
We spoke with him about why super-intelligence could come back to haunt us, how religious thinking mixed with weapons could bring us closer to doom, and whether we can reason with those who want to get closer to the afterlife.
Rank #10: Ep. 155 - Mike Pence Eats Alone (and Other Stories)
Why can't ultra-Orthodox Jews handle looking at a picture of Smurfette?
Who fears death more: Atheists or the devoutly religious?
We discuss all these stories and more in this episode.
Rank #11: Ep. 214 - Sex Ed Ignorance Isn't Bliss
-- The Ten Commandments monument outside the Arkansas Capitol... again. (3:12)
-- The Congressional Freethought Caucus has finally formed! (13:13)
-- Why did the House chaplain resign? Maybe he deserved to. (24:15)
-- There's an open atheist in the NFL once again: The Arizona Cardinals' Josh Rosen. (37:42)
-- There's no good reason to prevent your kids from learning about sex education. (41:50)
-- A Tennessee school district wants to celebrate Billy Graham Day. No... just no. (59:13)
-- GQ says the Bible isn't an essential read. They're right. (1:04:48)
-- Oklahoma is on the verge of passing a bill allowing taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to discriminate against gay couples and non-Christians. (1:09:47)
-- When FOX News is too tough on you, Donald Trump just goes to Christian television. (1:15:44)
-- Jessica has some thoughts on recent mass shootings. (1:19:14)
-- We answer listener mail! (1:23:40)
Rank #12: Ep. 115 - Jerry Coyne, Author of Faith vs. Fact
He may be most familiar to listeners for his books Why Evolution is True (which spawned his blog of the same name) and Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible.
At the recent American Humanist Association conference in Chicago, we spoke with Dr. Coyne about why science and religion are incompatible, the problems with the "Regressive Left" on college campuses, and what he discusses with his atheist/scientist friends.
Rank #13: Ep. 128 - Frank Schaeffer, Former Evangelical Christian Leader
We spoke about his role in creating the Religious Right, why evangelicals are flocking to Donald Trump when he shares almost none of their values, and what he would say to anyone who might vote for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein.
Rank #14: Ep. 227 - The Jesus Endorsement Didn't Help
---- Republicans just passed another bill to repeal the Johnson Amendment. (0:22)
-- If you're running for governor, don't belittle someone who asks a good question about climate change. (6:35)
-- Russian spy Mariia Butina infiltrated the government via the National Prayer Breakfast. (12:25)
-- Science denier Jenny McCarthy has solid verifiable proof that a ghost is in her house. There's even video! (25:45)
-- Why a gay Catholic could help end the blood donation ban on gay men. (29:15)
-- Richard Dawkins doesn't like the sound of Muslim prayers. Should we be offended? (40:05)
-- White evangelicals don't like that America is becoming less white. (55:26)
-- An Alabama county commissioner with the endorsement of Jesus lost her election. (59:20)
-- Darla Shine, wife of the new Trump administration appointee, thinks women are just asking for harassment if they join the military. (1:02:17)
-- House Republicans passed a bill effectively allowing anti-gay discrimination at adoption agencies. (1:04:19)
-- Ken Ham's merry band of Creationists tried explaining the discovery of a new planet, since it violates their beliefs. (1:10:45)
-- The Humanist Legal Society, an atheist response to the Federalist Society, just launched. (1:16:04)
Rank #15: Ep. 51 - Megan Fox, Evolution Exhibit "Auditer"
In a long, far-ranging, and sometimes infuriating interview, we talked about the reactions to her "audit" videos, whether her gender plays a role in the backlash, and why she doesn't consider herself a Creationist.
We also discussed why she believes not censoring the Internet in a local library's adult section sanctions "taxpayer funded access to child porn." (In response to her battle with the Orland Park Public Library, readers of Friendly Atheist raised nearly $7,000 for the library's general fund.)
Rank #16: Ep. 173 - Creationists Can't Do Math, Either
-- Ark Encounter lost a tax rebate worth up to $18 million to avoid a 50-cent-per-ticket safety fee.
-- Creationists are mocking Flat Earthers for taking the Bible too literally. Really.
-- The "inspirational" Mormon story that is anything but uplifting.
-- The MN town that shut down a "free speech zone" to prevent Satanists from using it.
-- How Wisconsin is considering a bill that would make it harder to train OB/GYNs.
-- The BYU-Idaho professor who lost her job for supporting LGBT equality.
-- The Boy Scouts may allow girls before they allow atheist boys.
-- The African-American pastor who renounced his ordination with the Southern Baptist Convention.
-- The Muslim Democrat running for Senate who received a surprising message from her Republican opponent.
-- Richard Dawkins getting de-platformed by a radio station in Berkeley, CA.
-- Doctor Who isn't a man. And other things Hemant doesn't understand. (1:26:48)
Rank #17: Ep. 178 - Amber Cantorna, Author of Refocusing My Family
All of that became a problem when Amber came out as gay, a pivotal moment in her life which she writes about in her forthcoming memoir Refocusing My Family.
We spoke about how her relationship with her family changed after coming out, why she still believes in God, and why taking off her purity ring marked a new beginning.
Rank #18: Ep. 211 - Do Atheists Have An Alt - Right Problem?
-- Whether atheists are indeed "veering dangerously" toward the alt-right. (0:15)
-- Why Creationist Ken Ham has a lot of job openings, but no takers. (30:20)
-- Some incredibly manipulative faith-based backstabbing in Victoria, Australia. (34:57)
-- Why Christians must disavow Donald Trump, according to a Christian. (40:15)
-- Little Free Libraries are becoming havens for religious proselytizing. (45:50)
-- The backlash to a vaccination bill in New Jersey. (50:50)
-- A Christian author says we have to avoid vaccines since the Bible never mentions them. (54:58)
-- After 73 years of marriage, this Canadian couple chose to end their lives together... and some people are furious. (59:13)
-- God’s Not Dead 3 tanked at the box office. (1:05:05)
-- This "perfect" way to stop gay couples from renting a wedding venue may backfire. (1:09:15)
-- This is depressing: A third of Americans ages 18-24 aren’t sure the Earth is round. (1:13:09)
-- Many people want to kill women who have abortions. (1:16:55)
-- We answer listener mail! (1:26:15)
Rank #19: Ep. 216 - Franklin Graham's Stunning Hypocrisy
-- Franklin Graham says Donald Trump’s affair with Stormy Daniels is “nobody’s business.” That's not what he said when Bill Clinton was in office. (3:14)
-- The Natural History Museum in Jerusalem is covering up an evolution exhibit so they don't offend ultra-Orthodox Jews. (12:47)
-- The 13-year-old "miracle boy" from Alabama, who survived brain trauma, isn't a miracle at all. (14:52)
-- Southern Baptist leader Paige Patterson has apologized... kind of. Not really. (20:40)
-- The Mormon Church says it'll cut all ties with the Boy Scouts. (34:12)
-- Not everyone was happy with the Met Gala theme: "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination." (41:54)
-- The rally for gay conversion drew tens of people. (51:45)
-- Christian schools often censor student journalists, according to a new survey. (56:40)
-- We answer listener mail! (1:03:11)
Rank #20: Ep. 195 - Congratulations, Senator Not Roy Moore!
-- Doug Jones won the Senate race in Alabama! That means Roy Moore can ride Sassy horribly into the sunset. (1:47)
-- Roy Moore's spokesman doesn't understand we're not a theocracy. (11:30)
-- Kentucky pastor and State Rep. Dan Johnson killed himself after his lies were exposed by investigative journalists. (21:45)
-- Why the Catholic Church covered up the death of Irene Garza. (30:35)
-- Liberty Counsel's "Naughty and Nice" list is more sinister than you think. (34:05)
-- What the heck just happened in Israel? (38:21)
-- Donald Trump just ruined Christmas in Jesus' hometown. (41:49)
-- The Johnson Amendment repeal won't be in the GOP's tax scam bill. (43:30)
-- The Mormon Church was teaching a lot of lies about homosexuality in 1981. (49:33)
-- Christianity was the big loser in Alabama's election. (58:10)
-- How to tell your kids about Santa without lying to them. (1:04:24)
-- Satanists want $35,000 from a Minnesota town for a monument they built but couldn't use. (1:07:44)
-- The CDC is banning words like "science" and "evidence" from budget documents. (1:14:14)