Episode 20 – Pastor June Joplin

Hard to Believe #020 – Pastor June Joplin 

Until last summer, June Joplin had been serving as pastor at Lorne Park Baptist Church in Toronto. Then she delivered a sermon that would change her life. In the months since, she has been interviewed by the New York Times, Vox, and the CBC, and her story has been featured in major news outlets far and wide. She spoke to John about what led to her wanting to be a pastor, what led to her coming out, and her hopes for Christianity and herself as she considers what comes next.

You can find more about her at her website, PastorJune.com

She is on Twitter @beloved_june

You can contribute to her GoFundMe here

#2.21 – Rule by Deception – Part Three of "Disinformation" Hard to Believe – A Podcast About Belief

In the wake of the 2020 election, one meme, which had originated in the spring of 2019, flooded the most ardently MAGA corners of the internet. It featured an image of Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin and the following quote. "The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything." To the MAGA world, Stalin’s words echoed eerily into the present. Like Stalin, the imposter president Joe Biden was, naturally, a Marxist bent on reconstituting America as a Communist hellscape in which Christianity was illegal and worship of the state was mandatory. But the problem with the meme is that the quote is fabricated. Stalin never said it. In part three, our final episode of the first half of season 2, we look at how Stalin would use deception to take control of the Soviet Union and how his use of disinformation helped him tighten his group, reshape Russian foreign policy, and infect the American imagination for decades to come. John is on Twitter @ProbablyRealJB Mike on Twitter @the_mikestir Jess on Twitter @jayarekay_ Sources for this episode include: Georgiy Kent – "How fake news helped hide Soviet genocide in Ukraine" EJ Montini – "Arizona Republican lawmakers endorse Joseph Stalin's disinformation strategy" Orlando Figes – "The Cult of Lenin"  The outro music is a cover of Ruled by Secrecy by Muse, performed by Lena Hall.
  1. #2.21 – Rule by Deception – Part Three of "Disinformation"
  2. #2.20 – Maria Against History – The twilight of the Romanovs in their own words
  3. #2.19 – The Legend of Polybius – with Tyler Birth
  4. #2.18 – Rev. Dr. Marcia Ledford – The Religious Left in the Age of Trumpism
  5. #2.17 – Michael Blanding – on "North by Shakespeare"

Episode 19 – Emmy Nominee Liza Richardson

Hard to Believe #019 – Emmy Nominee Liza Richardson 

Long admired in the television and movie world, Liza Richardson developed a loyal fan following when she served as the music supervisor for The Leftovers, and this year she was nominated for an Emmy for her work on Watchmen. Joey Lewandowski – whose favorite show of all time is The Leftovers – joins John for the first time since our debut episode to talk to Liza about her work, her life, and how she helped make The Leftovers what Joey calls “the best show about religion that’s not about religion” ever.

Find Liza on Instagram and Spotify, where she puts together ridiculously great playlists. 

#2.21 – Rule by Deception – Part Three of "Disinformation" Hard to Believe – A Podcast About Belief

In the wake of the 2020 election, one meme, which had originated in the spring of 2019, flooded the most ardently MAGA corners of the internet. It featured an image of Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin and the following quote. "The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything." To the MAGA world, Stalin’s words echoed eerily into the present. Like Stalin, the imposter president Joe Biden was, naturally, a Marxist bent on reconstituting America as a Communist hellscape in which Christianity was illegal and worship of the state was mandatory. But the problem with the meme is that the quote is fabricated. Stalin never said it. In part three, our final episode of the first half of season 2, we look at how Stalin would use deception to take control of the Soviet Union and how his use of disinformation helped him tighten his group, reshape Russian foreign policy, and infect the American imagination for decades to come. John is on Twitter @ProbablyRealJB Mike on Twitter @the_mikestir Jess on Twitter @jayarekay_ Sources for this episode include: Georgiy Kent – "How fake news helped hide Soviet genocide in Ukraine" EJ Montini – "Arizona Republican lawmakers endorse Joseph Stalin's disinformation strategy" Orlando Figes – "The Cult of Lenin"  The outro music is a cover of Ruled by Secrecy by Muse, performed by Lena Hall.
  1. #2.21 – Rule by Deception – Part Three of "Disinformation"
  2. #2.20 – Maria Against History – The twilight of the Romanovs in their own words
  3. #2.19 – The Legend of Polybius – with Tyler Birth
  4. #2.18 – Rev. Dr. Marcia Ledford – The Religious Left in the Age of Trumpism
  5. #2.17 – Michael Blanding – on "North by Shakespeare"

Episode 18 – Greg Garrett on U2, zombies, race in Hollywood, and more

Hard to Believe #018 – Greg Garrett – Cultural Theologian

Cultural theologian Greg Garrett is the author of more than 20 books, including 2009’s We Get to Carry Each Other, the Gospel According to U2, 2017’s Living with Living Dead, an exploration of the theological and human insights of the zombie apocalypse trope, and A Long, Long Way: Hollywood’s Unfinished Journey from Racism to Reconciliation, which was published in May of this year.

Greg teaches English at Baylor University in Texas. He joined John to discuss U2, zombies, race and racism in Hollywood, and the people who continue to teach and inspire him.

He can be found on Twitter at @Greg1Garrett

#2.21 – Rule by Deception – Part Three of "Disinformation" Hard to Believe – A Podcast About Belief

In the wake of the 2020 election, one meme, which had originated in the spring of 2019, flooded the most ardently MAGA corners of the internet. It featured an image of Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin and the following quote. "The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything." To the MAGA world, Stalin’s words echoed eerily into the present. Like Stalin, the imposter president Joe Biden was, naturally, a Marxist bent on reconstituting America as a Communist hellscape in which Christianity was illegal and worship of the state was mandatory. But the problem with the meme is that the quote is fabricated. Stalin never said it. In part three, our final episode of the first half of season 2, we look at how Stalin would use deception to take control of the Soviet Union and how his use of disinformation helped him tighten his group, reshape Russian foreign policy, and infect the American imagination for decades to come. John is on Twitter @ProbablyRealJB Mike on Twitter @the_mikestir Jess on Twitter @jayarekay_ Sources for this episode include: Georgiy Kent – "How fake news helped hide Soviet genocide in Ukraine" EJ Montini – "Arizona Republican lawmakers endorse Joseph Stalin's disinformation strategy" Orlando Figes – "The Cult of Lenin"  The outro music is a cover of Ruled by Secrecy by Muse, performed by Lena Hall.
  1. #2.21 – Rule by Deception – Part Three of "Disinformation"
  2. #2.20 – Maria Against History – The twilight of the Romanovs in their own words
  3. #2.19 – The Legend of Polybius – with Tyler Birth
  4. #2.18 – Rev. Dr. Marcia Ledford – The Religious Left in the Age of Trumpism
  5. #2.17 – Michael Blanding – on "North by Shakespeare"

Episode 17 – Mandisa Thomas – Founder of Black Nonbelievers

Mandisa Thomas is the founder of Black Nonbelievers – a nonprofit that connects Black Americans and their allies who are living free of religion and might otherwise be shunned by family and friends in a caring, friendly, and informative environment. The group now has chapters in 14 major cities across the country. 

Mandisa serves on the board of directors for the American Humanist Association, and has been recognized as the Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association’s 2018 Person of the Year, the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Freethought Heroine for 2019, and the Secular Student Alliance’s 2019 Backbone Award winner.

She talked to John about why she believes Christianity can’t be unlinked from white supremacy, why she took on the role of helping other Black atheists come out of the closet, and the importance of putting people first and keeping the momentum of this moment alive. 

#2.21 – Rule by Deception – Part Three of "Disinformation" Hard to Believe – A Podcast About Belief

In the wake of the 2020 election, one meme, which had originated in the spring of 2019, flooded the most ardently MAGA corners of the internet. It featured an image of Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin and the following quote. "The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything." To the MAGA world, Stalin’s words echoed eerily into the present. Like Stalin, the imposter president Joe Biden was, naturally, a Marxist bent on reconstituting America as a Communist hellscape in which Christianity was illegal and worship of the state was mandatory. But the problem with the meme is that the quote is fabricated. Stalin never said it. In part three, our final episode of the first half of season 2, we look at how Stalin would use deception to take control of the Soviet Union and how his use of disinformation helped him tighten his group, reshape Russian foreign policy, and infect the American imagination for decades to come. John is on Twitter @ProbablyRealJB Mike on Twitter @the_mikestir Jess on Twitter @jayarekay_ Sources for this episode include: Georgiy Kent – "How fake news helped hide Soviet genocide in Ukraine" EJ Montini – "Arizona Republican lawmakers endorse Joseph Stalin's disinformation strategy" Orlando Figes – "The Cult of Lenin"  The outro music is a cover of Ruled by Secrecy by Muse, performed by Lena Hall.
  1. #2.21 – Rule by Deception – Part Three of "Disinformation"
  2. #2.20 – Maria Against History – The twilight of the Romanovs in their own words
  3. #2.19 – The Legend of Polybius – with Tyler Birth
  4. #2.18 – Rev. Dr. Marcia Ledford – The Religious Left in the Age of Trumpism
  5. #2.17 – Michael Blanding – on "North by Shakespeare"