Mikey Weinstein – Update on Evangelism at the U.S. Air Force Academy

The concerns that evangelical Christianity continues to be proselytized at the United States Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, have not lessened since our August 9, 2005 interview with Air Force Academy graduate Attorney Mikey Weinstein. Mikey Weinstein, of Albuquerque, New Mexico is a former Assistant General Counsel in the Reagan White House and former General Counsel for H. Ross Perot. In October 2005, Weinstein sued the United States Air Force in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, alleging violations of the Establishment clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution because of the evangelical proselytization at the Air Force Academy. Details may be found in the first interview with Attorney Weinstein, and the subsequent interviews with Reverend MeLinda Morton and Professor Kristen Leslie at www.radiocurious.org. In this interview, recorded on December 11, 2005, Attorney Weinstein discusses the current status of the litigation; the “Officers’ Christian Fellowship” located at many of the 702 United States Military bases in 132 different counties around the world; what he believes to be the religious efforts and goals of some evangelical Christians; and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a non-profit corporation he is organizing.

Mikey Weinstein recommends “Constantine’s Sword, The Church and the Jews, A History,” by James Carroll,.

Originally Broadcast: December 13, 2005

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Juan Martinez – Shamanism in the Ecuadorian Jungle

Concepts of reality have many levels, some of which are gained by fasting and/or the use of certain plants that allow a person to view the past, present and/or the future. This is especially true for cultures that cherish and practice oral traditions and which thrive in parts of the world which have an abundance of flora and fauna, like those located in the Amazon basin of South America. The knowledge of the use and effects of these various plants in the Ecuadorian portion of the Amazon basin is held by persons known as Shamans. Dr. Juan Martinez, our guest in this edition of Radio Curious, is a professor of History and Anthropology at the University of Cuenca, in Cuenca, Ecuador. He has studied, written and lectured about the Shamanistic practices in the Ecuadorian jungle and the medicinal and spiritual effects of the plants native to the western portion of the Amazon basin. I spoke with Professor Juan Martinez in his office in Cuenca, Ecuador on November 17, 2005. He began our conversation by describing relationship of the people of Ecuadorian jungle to their worlds, the spiritual world, and the world in which they live on a daily basis.

Juan Martinez recommends “Amazon Worlds,” published by Sinchi Sancha.

Originally Broadcast: December 5,2005

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John Darnton – Who is Charles Darwin

The Darwin Conspiracy

Who was Charles Darwin and what led him to describe what we now call “the theory of evolution?” These curious questions are ones that I have been following since I was about ten years old. In 1978 I had the good fortune of visiting the Galapagos Islands, 600 miles west of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Island in 1831 for month as part of a five-year voyage around the world. There he saw birds and animals that helped him formulate some of his ideas about evolution he published “The Origin of the Species,” 22 years later in 1853. And the world has not been the same since. Now, at a time when concepts of evolution and natural selection are attacked certain from theological and political perspectives, a novel called “The Darwin Conspiracy,” has been written by John Darnton, a writer and editor for the New York Times. “The Darwin Conspiracy,” although fiction, is said by John Darton to be 90% accurate, and covers Darwin’s life and thinking before and after the publication of “The Origin of the Species.” I spoke with John Darton from his home in New York City at the end of October 2005. He began by describing who Charles Darwin was, in his time and place.

John Darnton recommends “Snow,” by Orhan Pamuk.

Originally Broadcast: November 29, 2005

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Gordon Neufeld – Hold On to Your Kids

Hold On to Your Kids, Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

The economic and cultural changes that have occurred in North American society in the past fifty or so years have resulted in today’s children looking to and associating with their peers instead of their parents, for direction, for a sense of right and wrong and for values, identity and codes of behavior. This peer orientation works to undermine family cohesion. It interferes with healthy development and fosters a sexualized youth culture in which children lose their individuality and tend to become conformist, desensitized and alienated. These concepts and what to do about them to develop strong families and emotionally healthy children are explained in “Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers, “ by Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D. and Gabor Mate, M.D. When I spoke with Dr. Gordon Neufeld from his home in Vancouver, British Columbia we began our conversation with a discussion of the importance of the development of an attachment between the adult caregiver and the child, beginning at infancy.


Gordon Neufeld recommends “The Anatomy of Dependence,” Takeo Doi.

Originally Broadcast: October 25, 2005

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Professor Kristen Leslie – Strident Evanglical Themes at the U.S. Air Force Academy

The series on evangelical Christianity at the United States Air Force Academy, continues with Kristen Leslie, a professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at the Yale University Divinity School. Professor Leslie was invited to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado to meet with the Academy chaplains and provide training in the counseling of female cadets who were victims of sexual assaults that had occurred at the Academy. In the course of her visits in 2004 and 2005, Professor Leslie and the group of graduate students from the Yale Divinity School who accompanied her, observed what she called “strident evangelical themes” at the Academy. Professor Leslie testified before the Subcommittee on Military Personnel of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Armed Services on June 28, 2005, at the Congressional hearing entitled “Religious Climate at the U.S. Air Force Academy,” and reported her observations of her visit that included: The hanging of a banner containing an overtly Christian message by the football coach in the team locker room; the Air Force Academy commandant leading a “challenge and response” cheer about Jesus in front of a group of cadets of mixed faith; distribution of flyers advertising religious events in the cadet dining hall and over the public address system; failure of the Air Force Academy to consider the religious practices of cadets of minority faiths when setting the cadet schedule; and public expressions of faith by senior staff and faculty members, in some cases in inappropriate venues such as classrooms. Interviews with MeLinda Morton, the Air Force Academy Chaplain who resigned the end of July 2005, and Attorney Mikey Wienstein, a 1977 graduate of the Air Force Academy, both of whom are outspoken critics of the inaction on the part of the Air Force Academy leadership may be found here on the Radio Curious website. The Harvard University Committee on the Study of Religion has a detailed report, with abundant links to other articles on this issue that may be found at www.pluralism.org. And information about Professor Leslie’s testimony before Congress may be found at www.yale.edu/divinity/press. This interview with Kristen Leslie speaking from her office at Yale University about these issues was recorded on August 26, 2005.

Professor Kristen Leslie recommends “Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader,” by Ann Fadiman.

Originally Broadcast: August 30, 2005

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Rev. MeLinda Morton – Evangelical Proselytization at the United States Air Force Academy

This program with MeLinda Morton, a Lutheran minister who resigned from active duty as a chaplain at the United States Air Force Academy effective July 31, 2005, continues our series on evangelical proselytization within the United States Air Force and at the United States Air Force Academy in Coloradio Springs, Colorado. This interview was recorded on August 19, 2005, and begins with Rev. Morton describing her duties as a pastoral chaplain to the cadets at the Air Force Academy and the issues that led up to her resignation. If you are interested in this topic, please listen to interview with Mikey Weinstein, an Air Force Academy graduate and a former attorney in the Reagan White House.

Rev. MeLinda Morton recommends “No Future, Queer Theory and the Death Drive,” by Lee Edelman.

Originally Broadcast: August 23, 2005

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Mikey Weinstein – Evangelical Christianity and the United States Air Force Academy

There are concerns that evangelical Christianity is close to being officially sanctioned at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as well as within other areas of the United States’ military forces. In this edition of Radio Curious we visit some of these issues with Mikey Weinstein, a graduate of Air Force Academy, a businessman and former attorney in the Reagan White House. He describes how evangelical Christianity appears to have become the standard within the United States Air Force Academy that trains future leaders of the U.S. Air Force. At the beginning of an Air Force career each new cadet, among many other things, takes an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. These cadets are led by Brig. Gen. Johnny A Weida, the current USAF Academy Commandant of Cadets. On the official Air Force website, under character development, Brig. Gen. Weida is quoted as saying, “Our primary emphasis is to ensure every graduate has the character, honor, integrity, sense of service and excellence required of a second lieutenant in the world’s greatest Air and Space force.” On July 29, 2005, the name of Brig Gen Weida, the number two officer of the Air Force Academy, was deleted from a list of Air Force generals to be promoted, shortly before the Senate voted on those promotions. An April 28, 2005 report by American United for Separation of Church and State accused Brig Gen Weida of proselytizing to the cadets and specifically endorsing evangelical Christianity at the Academy. It is suggested that this may be a reason why he was not promoted. This interview with Mikey Weinstein, who worked as Assistant General Counsel in the Reagan White House Office of Administration, was recorded by telephone from his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on August 3, 2005.

Mikey Weinstein recommends “The Sins of Scripture,” by John Shelby Spong.

Originally Broadcast: August 9, 2005

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Tovah Feldshuh – Golda’s Balcony, The Story of Golda Meir

Golda’s Balcony

William Gibson’s new play “Golda’s Balcony” is the story of Golda Meir, her life, her love, her work and it’s a significant part of the story of Israel. This one-woman play is currently being performed by Tovah Feldshuh at the ACT Theatre in San Francisco, California until August 13. Tovah Feldshuh plays the roles of Golda Meir and those of 38 other people who influenced Golda Meir’s life and her work and she holds the record for the longest running one-woman play on Broadway. The opening performance of Golda’s Balcony in San Francisco created a palpable feeling of appreciation in the theater that evening and I highly recommend seeing it. When Tovah Feldshuh and I spoke the next day about her work and Golda Meir, we began when I asked her how the audience affects what she is able to on stage. For more information look at www.tovahfeldshuh.com and www.goldasbalcony.com.

Tovah Feldshuh recommends “Blink,” by Malcolm Gladwell.

Originally Broadcast: August 2, 2005

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Fred Watson – What a Telescope Reveals

Stargazer, the Life and Times of the Telescope

The history of the telescope is a rich story of human ingenuity and perseverance involving some of the most colorful figures in the scientific world. In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Dr. Fred Watson, the Astronomer-in-Charge of the Anglo-Australian Observatory at Coonabarabran, New South Wales, Australia. Dr. Watson’s book, “Stargazer, the Life and Times of the Telescope,” reveals the science and technology behind the telescope and its impact in unveiling the mysteries of the universe, and concludes with a fictional epilogue in the year 2108. This epilogue looks back 48 years at the object, one kilometer in diameter, that had a 99.9% probability of impacting the earth in April 2060 and how it was diverted. Dr. Watson was in his office in New South Wales, Austrailia, when this interview was recorded and begins by explaining the importance of the epilogue.


Fred Watson recommends “The Transit of Venus,” by Peter Autin.

Originally Broadcast: July 19, 2005

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Davis, Kenneth C. – Independence, Where Does It Come From?

Don’t Know Much About History, Everything you Need to Know About American History But Never Learned

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” These words may sound radical today, but in fact come from the Declaration of Independence drafted in 1776. In this edition of Radio Curious, broadcast during Independence Week of 2005 we talk with Kenneth C. Davis, author of “Don’t Know Much about History,” and review some of the issues of 1776 from our perspective now. This interview was recorded on July 2, 2005 with Kenneth C. Davis from his home in southern Vermont. He began by commenting on the role religion played the declaration of the Independence.

Kenneth C. Davis recommends “Diane Arbus, A Biography” by Patricia Bosworth.

Originally Broadcast: July 5, 2005

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