Interview with Religion and Sexuality Expert Suzanna Krivulskaya

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Dr. Suzanna Krivulskaya is an Assistant Professor of History at California State University San Marcos where she teaches courses in United States history. Her first book, Disgraced: How Sex Scandal Transformed American Protestantism, will be published in early 2024 by Oxford University Press.

A specialist in the fields of U.S. religion and sexuality, Suzanna has published in both scholarly and popular outlets, like The Revealer and Religion and Politics. Her scholarly work was recognized by the 2019-2020 Virginia Ramey Mollenkott Award from the LGBTQ Religious Archives Network. In 2022, she was named a Public Research in Religion Institute Fellow in the area of Religion and LGBTQ Rights. Always interested in translating academic expertise to broader publics, she currently serves as a trainer in the Sacred Writes program, which connects students of religion with public-facing scholarship.

We spoke about the Falwells, the Bakkers, the Haggards, why the wives often stand by their scandal-plagued pastor-husbands, and what these scandals reveal about evangelical Christianity.

— Why do scandal-plagued pastors’ wives stay by their husbands’ side? (5:00)

— Is the supposed shame of divorce too strong? (8:00)

— Should we feel bad for these wives? (9:42)

— What the heck is going on with the Falwells? (11:59)

— Suzanna describes her journey from missionary to doubter (14:24)

— Are younger evangelicals changing how we talk about this issue? (16:05)

— How long have these scandals been going on? (18:06)

— What do these scandals say about evangelical Christianity? (20:12)

— How can these pastors still preach “purity”? (26:54)

— Did anything in Suzanna’s research surprise her? (31:30)

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