Author of ‘The Family’ Jeff Sharlet on Freethought Matters this week

Jeff Sharlet

Jeff Sharlet, whose The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power laid bare the workings of the titular organization, is the guest on the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s television show “Freethought Matters” this Sunday.

Sharlet’s classic work exposes the operations of the Family, a highly secretive fellowship of influential Christian politicians in Washington, D.C. It has recently been transformed into a much-acclaimed Netflix mini-series, which Sharlet has executive produced and which he discusses extensively on this week’s episode. A professor at Hampshire College, Sharlet has written a number of other books and has won the National Magazine Award.

“The enduring power of this movement, I believe, and not just the Family but Christian Nationalism writ large is its ability to simultaneously be both cynical and naive,” Sharlet explains on the show. “One or the other, you can knock it out easily. Both, it has a force that carries it forward.”

FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel is the guest host.

As an antidote to religion on the airwaves and Sunday morning sermonizing, the half-hour show airs Sunday mornings in 11 cities and Sunday evening in FFRF’s hometown of Madison, Wis. And this week’s show is already available on FFRF’s YouTube channel. (Look for the Freethought Matters playlist to watch previous shows.) 

The first guest in the new season was U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman, founder of the Congressional Freethought Caucus. Huffman’s appearance on the show made media waves due to his remarks about his colleague Rep. Liz Cheney’s dogmatic stance on the religious oath. World-renowned philosopher Daniel Dennett and U.S. Reps. Jamie Raskin and Mark Pocan have appeared on the show in recent weeks. 

The cities where “Freethought Matters” broadcasts, along with the channels and timings, are listed below:

  • Chicago, WPWR-CW (Ch. 50), Sundays at 9 a.m.
  • Denver, KWGN-CW (Ch. 2), Sundays at 7 a.m.
  • Houston, KUBE-IND (Ch. 57), Sundays at 9 a.m.
  • Los Angeles, KCOP-MY (Ch. 13), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Madison, Wis., WISC-TV (Ch. 3), Sundays at 11 p.m.
  • Minneapolis, KSTC-IND (Ch. 45), Sundays at 9:30 a.m.
  • New York City, WPIX-IND (Ch. 11), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Phoenix, KASW-CW (Ch. 61, or 6 or 1006 for HD), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Portland, Ore., KRCW-CW (Ch. 32), Sundays at 9 a.m. Comcast channel 703 for High Def, or Channel 3.
  • Sacramento, KQCA-MY (Ch. 58), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Seattle, KONG-IND (Ch. 16 or Ch. 106 on Comcast). Sundays at 8 a.m.
  • Washington, D.C., WDCW-CW (Ch. 50), Sundays at 8 a.m.

FFRF Co-Presidents Annie Laurie Gaylor and her husband, Dan Barker, a former evangelical minister and well-known atheist author, are creators and co-hosts of the show.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is the nation’s largest association of freethinkers (atheists and agnostics), with more than 30,000 members nationwide. FFRF also works as a watchdog guarding the constitutional separation between religion and government.

The show is produced in the Stephen Uhl Friendly Atheist Studio at Freethought Hall in Madison, Wis., by FFRF’s videographer Bruce Johnson, a public television veteran. Crew includes staff members Bailey Nachreiner-Mackesey, Kristina Daleiden, Lauryn Seering and Chris Line, plus various floor managers, with sound production provided by Audio for the Arts.

Please tune in to “Freethought Matters” . . . because freethought matters.

P.S. Please tune in or record according to the times given above regardless of what is listed in your TV guide (it may be listed simply as “paid programming” or even be misidentified). To set up an automatic weekly recording, try taping manually by time or channel. And spread the word to freethinking friends, family or colleagues about a TV show, finally, that is dedicated to providing programming for freethinkers!

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

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