William Shunn is the author of The Accidental Terrorist, a book about his time as a Mormon missionary. He was supposed to preach in Alberta, but it wasn’t long before he was convicted of felony mischief after making a false bomb threat.
He’s still not allowed to return to Canada.
We spoke with Bill about what it’s like to be a Mormon missionary when your heart’s just not into it, how the Mormon Church catches escaped missionaries, and the extreme length he went to to prevent his mission partner from leaving the base.
Linda K. Wertheimer is a former education editor of the Boston Globe and a reporter at the Dallas Morning News and Orlando Sentinel. She recently published a book called Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion in an Age of Intolerance.
We spoke with Linda about groups that oppose the teaching of basic Islamic beliefs in public schools; whether teachers are properly equipped to objectively discuss religion in the classroom; and why atheists, Mormons, and Jews tend to know more about religion than larger faith groups.
Chris Shelton spent 27 years in the Church of Scientology, where he attained those high levels you only hear about in HBO documentaries. But he got out about three years ago and is now a vocal critic of the Church.
He just published a book called Scientology: A to Xenu: An Insider’s Guide to What Scientology is All About.
We spoke with Chris about what tipped him off to the Church’s deceptions, what he was taught about Xenu, and what he believes would be the single biggest blow to the Church’s existence.
Cristin Padgett is a Democrat hoping to win a seat in the Texas State House. She’s doing that in a heavily gerrymandered district in a very red part of the state. What makes her candidacy so unique, though, is that she has made public the fact that she’s an atheist, making her one of the only openly non-theistic candidates this election cycle in any part of the country. Not exactly part of anyone’s playbook in Texas politics.
We spoke with Padgett about how she can convince Texans in her district to support her, what she could accomplish with a Republican majority in the House, and what she learned from the failed gubernatorial campaign of Wendy Davis.
You can check out Padgett’s social media pages on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
You can donate to her campaign here.
During the interview, we also brought up the campaign of Daniel Moran (another atheist who ran for the Texas House) and an NPR interview in which Padgett spoke about her atheism.