Ep 10 Lutheran climate organizer Shay O'Reilly on demonic forces, white supremacy and climate change

How do we fight the demonic principalities behind climate change? Shay O’Reilly is an organizer for renewable energy in NYC, a DSA member, a Lutheran, and a graduate of UnionTheological Seminary. We chat with him on why he believes in demonic powers (see: white supremacy), why fighting climate change necessarily means fighting for socialism, how he got into environmental issues through anti-poverty work, as well as his experience of converting to Christianity shortly after coming out as trans and gay. Yes, it’s a packed episode! Follow him on Twitter @shaygabriel

Ep 9 Storyteller Kelli Dunham on her journey from nun to nurse and queer comedian

This is an equal parts hilarious and insightful episode of Religious Socialism podcast. Kelli Dunham is an author, comedian and storyteller — she’s the founder of Queer Memoir, a storytelling series for the queer community and stand-up comedian. But in this podcast, she recounts her religious history — from her childhood attending drive-in churches in Florida, her time at a gay conversion camp, and seven years as a nun in the Missionaries of Charity. Between laughs, she reaches some poignant truths about similarities in the socialist ethic among churches and queer communities, and how laughter can be a healing force. See below to learn more about Kelli Dunham and the podcast:


Religious Socialism Podcast is hosted by Sarah Ngu and produced by Devin Briski. Our music is “Made and Broken” by Hugel.

Ep 8 Rabbi Michael Feinberg on multi-faith labor organizing and what he learned from the Catholic left

Rabbi Michael Feinberg is the executive director of The Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition, whose goal is to build a long term alliance between the faith community and labor movements in New York City. He's spent decades as a multi-faith activist building diverse coalitions to advocate for workers' rights. In this interview, we discuss why he prefers the term "multi-faith" to "interfaith," what he learned from Father Daniel Berrigan's radical anti-nuclear protests, the heritage of Bundism (historical secular Jewish socialist movement), and what he thinks the role the faith community can play in the fight for worker's rights.

Ep 7 Julien Baker is a queer, Christian, socialist — we had to talk to her

Memphis-based singer-songwriter Julien Baker's star is rising in the music world. She also identifies as queer, Christian, socialist — like our host, Sarah Ngu. There have been high-profile interviews with her by the New York Times, NPR, etc. mostly focusing on her music. But we wanted to focus on religion. This far-reaching interview explores the early influence of Christian hardcore and church groups, how she thinks about Acts and makes ethical purchasing decisions for herself and her crew, and her conversations with Trump-supporting family members in Appalachia.

If you're a fan of Religious Socialism, please visit our Patreon page and support our podcast. We will also be posting the full, unedited 2-hour interview as an exclusive for our patrons. For each according to their ability, or give what you can! www.patreon.com/religioussocialismpodcast

Ep 6 Rev. Juan Carlos Ruiz on the symbolic importance of the church as sanctuary in the Trump era

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Juan Carlos Ruiz is co-founder of the New Sanctuary Movement, a network of churches and synagogues that offer resources to undocumented immigrants in New York City. He began his career as a Catholic priest, but was excommunicated after getting involved with leftist politics in the Catholic Worker Movement. In this far-reaching interview, he discusses his work with immigrants in the Trump era, the effect that US intervention coupled with corporate interests have had on Mexico and Honduras, and the role that history should play in our discourse around immigrant rights. 

Ep 5 Avi Garelick on Gentrification, BDS and the Jewish Concept of Redemption

Avi Garelick wears many hats: he runs a Hebrew school associated with the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York city, he is active in Northern Manhattan is Not For Sale, an anti-gentrification group focused on Washington Heights and Inwood, and he's a member of the Democratic Socialists of America. In this interview, Garelick describes participating in a rent strike when his landlord turned off the heat, how his socialist philosophy informs his role as a manager at his job and how the Jewish concept of redemption guides his social justice activism.

Ep 4 Why Dr. Debbie Almontaser finds being called a "moderate Muslim" offensive

Dr. Debbie Almontaser is a Yemeni-American and Muslim community leader and activist, founder of the Bridging Cultures Group and the Khalil Gibran International Academy, a New York public school with an English and Arabic bi-lingual program. Almontaser discusses growing up in a largely white neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, rediscovering her Muslim faith in her 20s and making the decision to wear the hijab, the controversy that led to her resigning as head of Khalil Gibran Academy, and winning her ensuing wrongful termination lawsuit against the Department of Education. She also discusses how the aftermath of 9/11 prepared the Muslim community for the election of Donald Trump, and why she finds being called a "moderate Muslim" offensive.

Ep 3 "Capitalism has a spiritual formation plan" —Rev. Andrew Wilkes

A conversation with Reverend Andrew Wilkes, a an African Methodist Episcopal pastor of young adults and social justice and leader in a black Christian community in Jamaica, Queens. Unlike some of our interviewees, Rev. Wilkes identifies as a democratic socialist, and has spent a lot of time working out those principles with his faith. He discusses why socialism is a theological commitment, what democratic socialist policies could look like in practice, why leftist politics has a race problem — and why joy is the most important feeling of Christianity.

Ep 2 "I was living under two occupations” —Rev. Khader El-Yateem

A conversation with Reverend Khader El-Yateem, a native Palestinian and Lutheran pastor running for City Council for the 43rd District, which includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst. El-Yateem discusses growing up in the Greek Orthodox in Palestine, where he came to realize he was under two occupations: the Israeli Occupation, and the Greek occupation of the indigenous Palestinian Christian church. In this far-reaching interview, he talks about how being tortured by the Israeli Defense Forces taught him about faith, love and justice, what it's like to serve as a police liason for the Arab community in a time of Islamophobia and racial profiling, and why he finally decided to run for office after two decades as a pastor and community organizer in Bay Ridge.

Ep 1 "I'm a socialist because Jesus tells me to be." —Rev. Ann Kansfield

A conversation with Reverent Ann Kansfield, pastor at Greenpoint Reformed Church and chaplain for the FDNY. Kansfield discusses how 9/11 prompted her to leave her finance job and join seminary, her feelings when her father went on trial for marrying her and her wife and had to step down as a theology professor, and what it's like to be the first woman and lesbian chaplain of the New York Fire Department.