[Published] Trump, the Capitol and religious endorsement

What happened at our Capitol festered in our churches and was done in the name of our God. As Christians, we can’t stay silent. The time has long passed to rebuke and remove this cancer once and for all.

I was glued to my television on January 6. The images of protesters breaching the United States Capitol building in a violent show of opposition to presidential election results will stay with me forever. Not just because of what it means for democracy, but because of what it means for the church.

It was impossible not to notice the religious symbols amidst the throng. A giant wooden cross. A flag pledging allegiance both to Donald Trump and Jesus Christ. A Christian flag planted in an occupied Senate chamber.

I’ve been writing about the uncomfortably cozy relationship between Donald Trump and the Evangelical church since he was a candidate. In the four years since, support for Trump has become an important piece of a fused religious-political identity.

It’s an uncomfortable topic. I reluctantly brought the thoughts that would eventually form this article to Facebook. People argued. My faith was questioned. I got (loudly) unfriended. I hated it so much.

But the point of all of my writings on this topic has been the importance of speaking up. No longer accommodating Christian nationalists in our midst, but instead asking why they feel so comfortable in our pews and compatible with the Gospel being preached from our pulpits.

So I wrote this piece – you can read the entire thing in Relevant Magazine.

Update: I also spoke to Eric Sentell for the Metamorphosis podcast for a longform conversation about this. You can listen in your browser via Soundcloud, or download it from Apple or wherever you get your podcasts.

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[Quoted] Dan Le Batard and ESPN ‘mutually’ agree to move on

“Dan Le Batard put up ESPN’s best podcast numbers by far. Curious to see (a) if he lands with Spotify, Ringer, etc. and (b) if ESPN has new plans for the podcast space or if it returns to being recycled radio shows…”

Sports talk radio has been playing in the background most of my life. I listened because I wanted to be them, then because I was them, and later because I missed being them.

The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz has been my fix for the past – oh goodness – at least five years. It’s occasionally smart social commentary wrapped in stupid morning zoo radio. Like Jim Rome or Scott Van Pelt, they never take sports too seriously.

But that irreverence and continued meandering into the culture war was a relic of former boss John Skipper’s ESPN, not Jimmy Pitaro’s strict “stick to sports” network.

So it wasn’t surprising at all to learn that Le Batard and ESPN were parting ways. What I was most curious about as a media researcher is how it would affect the podcast space. Digital audio is where Le Batard increasingly found himself resigned, but he turned it into an impressive brand rivaling that of Bill Simmons.

I think, like Simmons, it’s going to help Le Batard become a rare post-ESPN success story. Meanwhile ESPN has to decide if it’s going to devote resources to developing new names and ideas that play to the unique podcast space, or just toss in replays of Mike Greenberg and PTI and call it a day. Is it worth it to a media enterprise that is focused on TV and streaming video, owned by an even bigger media conglomerate focused on all of that plus movies and theme parks?

It’s a lot to consider. Thanks to Brian Stelter for using my questions to get the conversation started.

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