Dr. Wynne LeGrow, Author of Last Leper in the Colony

Dr. Wynne LeGrow spent two years as a physician in the Army, where he was promoted to major, and then nearly three decades in private practice. For most of his career, he practiced internal medicine.

In 2010, after he retired, he decided to run for Congress from Virginia’s 4th District, which was represented then (and now) by Republican Randy Forbes. Forbes is so conservative, he founded the Congressional Prayer Caucus. LeGrow, on the other hand, ran as an open atheist. He lost the race, but wrote about the experience in his new book Last Leper in the Colony: An Atheist Runs for Congress in the Bible Belt.

We spoke to him about what it was like being an atheist in the 1960s/1970s, the surprising politician who inspired him to run for office, and the advice he would give atheists running for office in the future.

David Smalley, Founder of Secular Media Group

David Smalley, host of the show Dogma Debate, was in my area a few days ago and took some time to chat with me about his new series of children’s books, the most effective ways to talk with people who disagree with us, and all things politics (Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and atheist candidates for office).

Smalley is a former Christian musician who became an atheist after studying psychology, sociology, world religions, and his own faith. He soon turned into a secular activist.

He was the editor-in-chief of Secular World and American Atheist magazines, the author of Baptized Atheist, and now runs the Secular Media Group.

Notes:

The first book in his new series for children is titled Tiny Thinkers: Charlie and the Tortoise, written by MJ Mouton.

David also referenced a recent episode of his show in which he documented a protest in his community. You can listen to it here.

Kelly Carlin, Author of A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George

Kelly Carlin is the author of A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George, an autobiography and one-woman show that talks about growing up with her famous father, comedian George Carlin. She’s also host of the podcast Waking from the American Dream and a speaker at the upcoming Reason Rally.

We spoke with Kelly about what her father was like off the stage, how being the daughter of a world famous comedian can be a mixed blessing, and how she created her own identity.

This episode was sponsored by Foundation Marketing, which offers all-encompassing solutions backed by 20 years’ experience. This includes professional web design, graphic design, printing, and online marketing solutions. If you let them know you were sent by the Friendly Atheist Podcast, you’ll get 10% off any sale. They’re also donating 20% of all sales driven by this podcast to the Clergy Project and Foundation Beyond Belief.

Notes:

We talked about the Tribute to George Carlin at the New York Public Library in which comedian Louis CK gave a heartfelt speech, in part directed at Kelly. You can watch that here.

Kelly also referenced a bit called “Abortion is Green” by comedian Doug Stanhope.

Jeremy Runnells, Ex-Mormon and Author of the CES Letter

Jeremy Runnells was raised in the Church of Latter Day Saints as a 6th generation Mormon. He went on his two year mission. He graduated from BYU. He was an Eagle Scout. But in 2012, he began doubting some of his beliefs. He was asked by a Church Educational System (or CES) director to share his concerns. Jeremy did that in what became known as the Letter to a CES Director, or the CES letter. It is a damning document that exposes so many holes in the Mormon faith and it quickly went viral online, giving a lot of people reason to leave the Church themselves. And then, earlier this year, wouldn’t you know it, Church officials began a process to kick him out. Before they could excommunicate him for good in April, Jeremy announced he was resigning from the Mormon Church himself. He wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction of kicking him out.

We spoke with Jeremy about what led him to start doubting his faith, how the “Mormon moment” from a few years ago has come to an end, and why he left the Church before it could get rid of him.

This episode was sponsored by Foundation Marketing, which offers all-encompassing solutions backed by 20 years’ experience. This includes professional web design, graphic design, printing, and online marketing solutions. If you let them know you were sent by the Friendly Atheist Podcast, you’ll get 10% off any sale. They’re also donating 20% of all sales driven by this podcast to the Clergy Project and Foundation Beyond Belief.

Notes:

Be sure to check out Jeremy’s interview on the Mormon Stories podcast.