Episode 47: What is “Theistnormativity”?, with Dr. Kristina Lee


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In this episode, we’re joined by Dr. Kristina Lee, an assistant professor in Communication Studies at the University of South Dakota. We talk about the idea of “theistnormativity” – the way that Christianity and belief in God are subtly (or not!) privileged in the United States. This is seen in things like having “In God We Trust” on the money, the ubiquitous “God Bless America” in politicians’ speeches, and the way atheists are mistrusted and have had their citizenship challenged. We talk about how this theistnormativity is not inevitable but that it was Christian nationalists who have repeatedly tried to instill it. We also learn whether a “true atheist” can commit a sin, or say “Goddammit!” when they stub their toe.
In the bonus section, we talk about persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the 1940s and the reception of Kristina’s work in academia and as a teacher.
Disclaimer: "Please note, Dr. Lee is expressing her own professional opinion, not those of USD or the South Dakota Board of Regents."
Check out some of Kristina’s articles:
“Why it matters that 7 states still have bans on atheists holding office”: https://theconversation.com/why-it-matters-that-7-states-still-have-bans-on-atheists-holding-office-161069
“70 years ago Walter Plywaski fought for atheists' right to become citizens – here's why his story is worth remembering”: https://theconversation.com/70-years-ago-walter-plywaski-fought-for-atheists-right-to-become-citizens-heres-why-his-story-is-worth-remembering-164758
“How 'In God We Trust' bills are helping advance a Christian nationalist agenda”: https://theconversation.com/how-in-god-we-trust-bills-are-helping-advance-a-christian-nationalist-agenda-164143
Follow Nathan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NathGAlexander
Nathan’s website: https://www.nathangalexander.com/
If you find the podcast valuable and want to support it, check out our Patreon page, where you will also find bonus content: https://www.patreon.com/beyond_atheism We are grateful for every contribution.

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