We hear from Father Jim Kastigar, who got on the wrong side of Town Hall and suffered the kinds of consequences people in Cicero suffer. His parish was denied a permit to hold an outdoor religious ceremony they'd held peacefully for seven years, the youth group's tamale fundraiser was shut down by city inspectors and the parking lot near the church was deemed unfit for Sunday parking.
A chat with Reverend Richard Harris, an African-American minister in Florida who's trying not to be angry about the election...because it's against his religion.
Host Ira Glass talks with Stephen Nissenbaum, author of a history called The Battle for Christmas, which explains when people started believing in a Santa who arrives Christmas Eve carrying presents. It was in 1822, and incredibly, the poem that created our modern idea of Santa is still around, known by heart by tens of millions.
These teenagers are the children the Christian right has in mind when it holds conferences on what's at stake in America's culture war. On the fourteen-hour drive to West Virginia, we listen to the Backstreet Boys and talk about Dawson's Creek. One of the things that's so interesting about these teenagers is the odd mix of Christian and secular pop in their lives.
The teenagers arrive in West Virginia and take a look around.
Hardships begin. Their leader gets sick.
One great thing about staying in a camp of 130 other Christians is the much-better-than-in-school chance of meeting a nice, cute Christian boy.
The teenagers try to get to know the locals, without a lot of success.
Some improvements in their missionary work.
In this act we hear two stories of people who stumbled upon a place where they instantly and instinctively felt more at home than in their real homes. Stephen Dubner, author of the memoir Turbulent Souls: A Catholic Son's Return to His Jewish Family, talks about an encounter with a Jewish man named Irving that changed his life.
When the end of time comes, what videos will we watch? Under fundamentalist Christian doctrine, the first thing that will happen during the End Time is that all the good Christians will be whisked suddenly to heaven. We hear clips from Left Behind—a video designed to be played after all the Christians have vanished, by all the people left behind.
How fundamentalist Christians and Orthodox Jews are combining forces to breed a perfect red cow that could bring about the end of the world. Ira talks with cattleman and minister Clyde Lott, and with New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright.
The story of how an understanding of Bible prophecy by the FBI could have prevented the tragedy at Waco at the Branch Davidians compound.
Both Bonnie Gaunt and Marilyn Agee have been counting the length of time of all the events in the Bible, and through their calculations, they believe they have individually discovered the exact day that good Christians will be raptured directly to heaven. Bonnie's date: September 11, 1999; Marilyn's date: May 21, 1999.
Host Ira Glass with Robert Lundin, who talks about a time in his life when he felt too alive, and how much more sane he feels now, though his life is less exciting.
When Larry leaves his old life behind and joins a monastery, Ethan struggles to understand his best friend's decision.
A Hollywood TV producer tries to convince a church of evangelical Christians to sell out a member of their own congregation. Matt Malloy reads. He was one of the stars of the acclaimed independent film In the Company of Men.Also in this act: Dickens vs.
First, an interview with Jim Nelson, then, an interview with Eli, a computer hacker who was thrown in prison by federal authorities for his crimes.
Mary and Manfred Rauer have been married 22 years. He's a devout Christian, goes to church every week, reads the Bible every day, was head of his congregation.
Host Ira Glass talks to Amanda, who's 16 and lives with her mom in a Christian commune in Chicago.
Ira talks with a gang kid who turned to Jesus with the same ferocity and dedication with which he served his old street gang.
Kevin Kelly is interviewed.
Ira reaches current-day Dave, who is a born-again Christian living with his parents. According to Dave, Bob was at fault for the breakdown in their relationship, because Bob had decided to become friends with someone else.
Ira talks with Karen Hutt, Director of Religious Education for the First Unitarian Church of Chicago, who one Sunday gave a sermon at the church about her experience as the first black child to integrate the Philadelphia public school system. The sermon inspired a project: Hutt, along with Laura Finnegan, collected an oral history of the experiences of African American members of the congregation about their own experiences as the "first" integrators of their neighborhoods or organizations.