Axios Today Podcast: A movement away from the Evangelical Church

About a quarter of Americans describe themselves as evangelical Protestants, according to the Pew Research Center. But lately a movement of so-called “evangelicals” is moving away from the evangelical church in the United States.

  • Plus, new measures to protect American workers from extreme heat.
  • And, some of you are sharing how you handled parenting young children during the pandemic.

Guests: Stef Kight and Andrew Freedman of Axios; Axios Today listeners.

Credits: Axios Today is produced in partnership with Pushkin Industries. The team includes Niala Boodhoo, Erica Pandey, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Dan Bobkoff, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Sabeena Singhani and Alex Sugiura. The music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at [email protected] You can send questions, comments, and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice message to 202-918-4893.

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ERICA PANDEY: Good morning! Welcome to Axios today! It’s Tuesday September 21. I am Erica Pandey, replacing Niala Boodhoo. Here’s what we’re looking at today: New measures to protect American workers from the extreme heat. In addition, some you share how you handled parenting young children during the pandemic. But first, a movement a way of the Evangelical Church today is One Big Thing.

About a quarter of Americans describe themselves as evangelical Protestants, according to the Pew Research Center. But lately a movement of so-called “evangelicals” is moving away from the evangelical church in the United States. This is according to Stef Kight of Axios. She’s here with more now. Hi Stef.


ERICA: So Stef, how big is this exodus from the evangelical church?

STEF: You know, it’s really hard to measure how many people have strayed from the evangelical church in the last few years. It’s hard, it’s a hard thing to achieve with polls. Um, what we do know is that there are social media accounts that have tens of thousands of subscribers. And these social media accounts are aimed at evangelicals or deconstructed evangelicals.

ERICA: What do you mean by this term “deconstructed”?

STEF: Deconstruction is kind of a buzzword that’s been used in these circles, and honestly, it has a range of meanings. For some people, this means that they have just taken a step back from a certain type of Christian church, culture, or politics. Uh, while for others it means that they have completely left organized religion.

ERICA: So, what explains this rise of evangelicals?

STEF: There are a couple of different things that have happened over the past few years that have caused people to leave church and talk about it more openly. Donald Trump’s presidency was a very big issue that a lot of people I spoke to brought up. That because we have seen so many white evangelicals become attached to Donald Trump, for some people who disagreed with his policies and disagreed with his rhetoric, it became a point of lightning bolt and a reason for them to step away and start highlighting issues that they may have always had with the church, but seeing people react to his presidency made them move away to the church. end.

ERICA: And how is social media taken into account here?

STEF: You know, people always left churches in the past. It is not new for people to change what they believe or to change the kind of church they want to go to. But what’s different this time around is that social media has actually enabled people to form communities, to support each other in some way, even hashtags like ‘evangelical’ or ‘deconstruction’ or ‘churchtoo’ allowed people to share their stories and also to find others of people who had similar reasons for leaving, who had also had stories of abuse within the church or who felt they did not belong in church because of their gender identity or other issues. So that created more of a movement where before it might just have been one person leaving and nothing had really been said about it.

ERICA: So Stef, give me your big takeaway here. Why is this important?

STEF: This is important because evangelism is still very popular in the United States and it is also a group that is politically targeted. I think sometimes it’s easy to look at evangelicals and think only of the Republican Party, but there are nuances and we’re starting to see, uh, this community starting to come apart in different ways. It will therefore be interesting to look to the future.

ERICA: Stef Kight is a political journalist for Axios. Thanks Stef.

STEF: Thanks Erica.

ERICA: In 15 seconds, protecting American workers from extreme heat conditions.


ERICA: Welcome to Axios Today. I am Erica Pandey replacing Niala Boodhoo. Last summer was the hottest summer on record in the United States, putting outdoor workers at risk. And yesterday, the Biden administration announced new measures to protect workers from the extreme heat. Andrew Freedman of Axios has the story. Hi, André.

ANDREW FREEDMAN: Hey, thanks. Thank you for.

ERICA: So has the Biden administration said it is going to take action to tackle these heat waves that we have seen across the country?

ANDRE: They are going to take a step that advocates believe should be taken for several years. Which is in effect establishing a rule through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, which will define the appropriate protections for workers against extreme heat. So right now, if you’re an employer, and you employ a bunch of people in a warehouse, and you don’t have enough air conditioning and it’s, you know, a hundred degrees, and people have heat-related problems. You don’t have a specific law that tells you what to give them, in terms of a break, in terms of access to air conditioning, water breaks, that sort of thing. This OSHA rule would add a new requirement to businesses and farms, especially farm workers, and anyone who has to work in the fields is particularly affected. Construction is a major sector that essentially loses working days every year due to climate change. So it is believed that this would help protect companies from liability, but it would also help protect workers.

ERICA: It goes way beyond just managing the heat at work, you know, on a hot day it affects a lot of different communities. Who does it hurt?

ANDRE: Yes, so it really does have a disproportionate impact, especially in urban areas, on communities of color and the poorest residents. You know, neighborhoods historically discriminated against in real estate policies. These areas have fewer trees than the wealthier neighborhoods. And there can be a difference of 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit, in the middle of a heat wave, between the temperature as the peak of the urban heat island and some of the more shady areas. And it has a significant effect on people. You know, you also see, after storms, when there are major power outages and it’s hot. We just saw this in New Orleans where, uh, something like 10 or 11 people died after the storm from exposure to the heat. These are people who could not afford to go out before the storm. Heat is kind of that insidious killer. It is the number one cause of weather-related deaths in the United States each year on average. So it’s really, I think, designed to be about environmental justice, not just a pure measure of climate change. Think more about climate adaptation and environmental justice.

ERICA: Andrew Freedman covers climate and energy for Axios. Thanks, André.

ANDRE: Thank you for.

ERICA: To learn more about the impact of climate change on communities of color, you can check out our most recent episode of Hard Truths on Race and the Environment.

All last week on the show, we brought you stories about the impact of COVID on children. And we asked you to tell us how you have supported your young children during the pandemic. Here is some of what you told us.

ZACH: Hi, this is Zach from Pennsylvania. This pandemic has certainly pushed our toddler’s classroom into the wild and abandoned the cultural areas of our local community. We supplemented this by purchasing educational subscription packages. That, combined with my wife’s experience as a teacher, worked really well for us as she did an amazing job adding structure to everything we did.

SARAH: My name is Sarah and I am in Greenville, South Carolina. My husband and I now have a five-year-old boy, but he was not even four when the pandemic first hit. My biggest concern, given his age, is social development. And the best way we’ve found to adapt to it over the last 18 months is to really practice it and show it in front of him. I tried to be very expressive with him through my eyes and facial expressions with a mask, so that he could reflect me. And what that has done is really allow him, I feel, to thrive and get back to normal in school, now that he can enter kindergarten this year.

JESSICA: Hello my name is Jessica. Our son is very active and it was not suitable for school, uh, especially following all of the COVID pandemic protocols of keeping the distance and wearing masks and sitting. Unfortunately, in the midst of the pandemic, when there are no vaccines available yet, play therapy was not an option. So my husband and I met with an play therapist every week through Zoom. We have spent over 100 hours and almost $ 3,000 improving our parenting role while trying to manage our full time jobs. Our son is now in first year and is having a much better experience, but it is very stressful for him and the whole household.

ERICA: Thanks to listeners Zach, Sarah and Jessica for sending them. You can always send your thoughts on the show or any comments by texting or voice memo to Niala at 202-918-4893.

That’s all we have for you today! I’m Erica Pandey – thanks for listening – stay safe and Niala will be back here with you tomorrow morning.

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