If you’ve ever seen VeggieTales, you’re familiar with Phil Vischer. He’s the animator, puppeteer, writer, voice actor, and songwriter who co-created that series. His production company soon grew to over 200 workers by the year 2000 before a lawsuit sent the company into bankruptcy and forced Phil to basically start over again. He now runs Jellyfish Labs, where he produces faith-based content. He also hosts the Phil Vischer Podcast which is a very entertaining show all about Christianity in a post-Christian America.
We spoke with Phil about why Christian media is so cringeworthy, how he tells Bible stories that may offend parts of his audience, and what the hell is happening with evangelicals in the upcoming election.
Luke Fevin has fought against mandatory prayers in Alberta (Canada) secular schools. He sits on the Board of the Society of Edmonton Atheists and founded the advocacy group Albertans for Equality Education.
I spoke with Luke about some of the major church/state issues taking place in Canada, including within the public schools, local governments, and Catholic hospitals.
Vyckie Garrison was once a prominent member of the “Quiverfull” community, a rapidly growing Christian fundamentalist movement that bans birth control and encourages huge, “Biblical families” (much like the Duggars of TLCs 19 Kids and Counting fame). Garrison edited and published a Christian “pro-life, pro-family” newspaper for 16+ years in northeast Nebraska while home-churching, home birthing, and home schooling seven children. She made waves when she left the Quiverfull movement, divorced her husband, and began speaking out against the lifestyle.
She recently received American Atheists’ Atheist of the Year award and runs the blog “No Longer Quivering” to provide support to women and children who are escaping abusive religious movements and to provide the public with accurate and compassionate information on the unique challenges faced by the spiritually abused.
We spoke about what her Quiverfull lifestyle entailed, how she escaped it, and what advice she would give to other women in her position.
Janet Heimlich is the founder of the Child-Friendly Faith Project and author of Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment, both of which examine child abuse and neglect that is enabled by religious belief in the United States.
Janet is also a reporter who has worked for NPR and written for a variety of publications.
(Full disclosure, I’m on the advisory board for the Child-Friendly Faith Project.)
I spoke with her about the way children suffer at the hands of religion, whether teaching kids about Hell constitutes abuse, and what atheists can do to help.