Barbara Brown Taylor is an ordained Episcopal priest who left the pulpit to become a professor of religion. She is also the author of a couple of best selling books. Her new book is about how teaching the religions of the world changed her understanding of her own faith, and how her Christian students responded when she took them to mosques, synagogues, and buddhist temples.
In his new novel, The Testament of Mary, Irish author Colm Toibin imagines Mary's life 20 years after the crucifixion, as she wonders what she might have done differently to ease her son's suffering. "I felt that I was Mary," he says. "I was her consciousness, watching the thing happening."
The author's What Happened to Sophie Wilder features a convert to Catholicism and another character who struggles to understand her faith. Beta talks about his Catholic upbringing, iron's place in fiction and literature's therapeutic aspects.
The evangelical radio host recently made national news for leading an attack against Mitt Romney's openly gay national security spokesman, who later resigned. But Fischer's viewpoints on abortion, gay marriage, education and taxes have been influencing his listeners long before this.
Investigative journalist Jeff Sharlet traveled to Uganda to meet with the man who wrote an anti-homosexuality bill that calls for life imprisonment and the death penalty for gay Ugandans. Sharlet explains how U.S. religious leaders have encouraged the anti-gay sentiment in Uganda.
Bob Hunter, a member of the secretive religious group The Family, responds to a November Fresh Air interview about the group's role in both U.S. and Ugandan politics. Hunter is credited as the liaison between the Family and leaders of the current Ugandan administration, which has proposed a brutal anti-gay law.
A secretive fellowship of powerful Christian politicians includes some names that have recently been prominent in the headlines: Sen. John Ensign, Rep. Bart Stuck and Rep. Joe Pitts. Writer Jeff Sharlet describes the men's involvement with the Family, and discusses recent developments within the group.
Can there be a middle ground in the debate about the separation of church and state? John DiIulio, Jr, a Democrat who spent seven months as the White House "faith czar" under George W. Bush, believes so.
Tammy Faye Messner, the onetime first lady of TV evangelism, died Friday at the age of 65; she had battled cancer for years. Terry Gross interviewed the former Tammy Faye Bakker on January 15, 2004, about the rise and fall of the ministry she led with ex-husband Jim Bakker, the puppet show that gave them their start, and her surprising later life as a gay icon.
Julia Sweeney is currently performing a one-woman show called "Letting Go of God" at the off-off-Broadway theater in Manhattan. A Saturday Night Live cast alum, Sweeney also wrote and performed the 1996 Broadway show "God Said, Ha!" Her films include Pulp Fiction, Clockstoppers and It's Pat, based on her gender-confused character on SNL.
H. James Towey is the former director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. He is David Kuo's former boss. He responds to Kuo's criticisms of the Bush administration's follow through on the initiatives. Towey is now president of the Benedictine Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Penn.
Tanya Erzen is the author of the new book, Straight to Jesus: Sexual and Christian Conversions in the Ex-Gay Movement. It's about New Hope Ministry, a residential program for evangelical Christian men in the San Francisco Bay area who are struggling with homosexuality. It's part of a larger movement to convert gays to the straight Christian life.
Alan Chambers is the president of Exodus, the largest evangelical group devoted to converting homosexuals to heterosexuals. He himself was a gay teen and young adult before the church helped him overcome his homosexuality.
Religion professor Philip Jenkins talks about his latest book, The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South. The book is a follow-up to his 2002 title, The Next Christendom: the Coming of Global Christianity, which was named on of the top religion books of that year by USA Today.