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The Friendly Atheist Podcast

Ron Miscavige, Author of Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me

If you’ve followed the articles, movies, and TV shows about the Church of Scientology recently, you’re probably familiar with the name David Miscavige, the man who runs the Church. His father is Ron Miscavige, and he joined the church in 1970. David was 10 at the time. It wasn’t until 2012 that Ron escaped. Since then, he’s worked hard to undo some of the damage caused by the Church, including their policy of basically shunning those outside of it. His book, now out in paperback, is called Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me.

I spoke with Ron about whether his son knows that the Church’s beliefs aren’t real, why Scientology is so appealing to some people, and how he managed to break out of the bubble.

(Screenshot via YouTube)

A “Pro-Life” School Punished a Pregnant Student

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Jessica and I sat down to talk about several stories from the past week involving religious and politics.

They included:

— The high school student punished by her Christian school for not having an abortion.

— How Ark Encounter has been bad for the local economy in Kentucky.

— The Manchester mayor calling the suicide bomber a terrorist who isn’t a Muslim.

Greg Gianforte, the violent Creationist who will represent Montana in the U.S. House.

— How Joel Osteen unintentionally summoned the Devil in the minds of his fans.

Betsy DeVosinability to say no to discrimination when it comes to taxpayer dollars funding schools.

— How Jesus isn’t going to fix the offshore tax haven loopholes in the law.

— The Arizona Democratic Party’s brand new Secular Caucus.

(Image via Shutterstock)

Maggie Rowe, Actress and Author of Sin Bravely

Maggie Rowe grew up as an evangelical Christian in the suburbs of Chicago. And for reasons we’ll get into, when she was 19, she landed in a Christian mental health center where she spent three months. While parts of that experience were disturbing, some of it actually helped her eventually walk away from Christianity. She’s now a comedy writer who has worked on the show Arrested Development and currently works on Netflix’s Flaked.

Her book is called Sin Bravely: A Memoir of Spiritual Disobedience.

I spoke with her about the “spiritual terrorism” of teaching kids about Hell, what someone with a Christian upbringing notices in a comedy writers’ room, and how long it took to finally overcome her faith-based guilt.

God Told Her the Suspect Wasn’t Guilty

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Jessica and I sat down to talk about several stories from the past week involving religious and politics.

They included:

— The resignation of the atheist State Rep. from New Hampshire who created Reddit’s “Red Pill” forum.

— The Virginia atheist who painted an “offensive” Bible verse on his truck.

— Why you should be skeptical anytime you hear about an African pastor who drowns while trying to walk on water.

— The Christian mother who treated her gay son as if he were dead.

— How a video of a baby crying out for Jesus isn’t “adorable.”

— The juror who was dismissed from a corruption trial after saying God told her the suspect wasn’t guilty.

— Why a photo doesn’t show that God was taking accident victims to Heaven.

(Image via Shutterstock)