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Crossing Faiths

Religion & Spirituality Podcas

Crossing Faiths is a podcast in which people from diverse religious backgrounds engage in open dialogue about all the things you're NOT supposed to discuss at the dinner table. Join hosts John Pinna, a military intelligence veteran and D.C. insider, and Elliot Toman, a former media director in the Evangelical church, as they engage in lively conversations about the impact of faith on current events. Crossing Faiths also welcomes guests from a wide variety of religious and experiential backgrounds to share their own insights. The podcast was initially developed in collaboration with, Matt Hawkins, is a former policy director for the Southern Baptist Convention. Their conversations built on a decade of their collaboration, advocating in Washington, D.C. for religious freedom domestically and around the globe. The two developed the podcast with a desire to share conversations that model friendship and collaboration despite deep differences in religion and background. The podcast has a reach of almost 3 million multi-faith listeners, 83% of which are millennials.

Location:

United States

Description:

Crossing Faiths is a podcast in which people from diverse religious backgrounds engage in open dialogue about all the things you're NOT supposed to discuss at the dinner table. Join hosts John Pinna, a military intelligence veteran and D.C. insider, and Elliot Toman, a former media director in the Evangelical church, as they engage in lively conversations about the impact of faith on current events. Crossing Faiths also welcomes guests from a wide variety of religious and experiential backgrounds to share their own insights. The podcast was initially developed in collaboration with, Matt Hawkins, is a former policy director for the Southern Baptist Convention. Their conversations built on a decade of their collaboration, advocating in Washington, D.C. for religious freedom domestically and around the globe. The two developed the podcast with a desire to share conversations that model friendship and collaboration despite deep differences in religion and background. The podcast has a reach of almost 3 million multi-faith listeners, 83% of which are millennials.

Twitter:

@mthawk

Language:

English

Contact:

2024554515


Episodes

Leray Heynes: Jesus Christ's CEOs

2/28/2024
Leray Heyne is the Founder and lead overseer of Windows of Heaven Jesus’ Storehouse and its three ministries: Jesus Christ’s CEOs, Jesus Christ’s CEOs Bible Institute, and Jesus Christ’s CEOs TV. (Source (https://jcceos.com/leray-heyne)) Website: https://jcceos.com/

Duration:00:29:15

Rev. Dr. Andrew Bennett

2/26/2024
The Rev. Dr. Andrew Bennett is the Director of Cardus Faith Communities at Cardus, Canada’s faith-based think-tank. He also serves as Senior Fellow at the Washington, DC-based Religious Freedom Institute. He is an ordained deacon in the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in the Eparchy (Diocese) of Toronto and Eastern Canada. Fr. Deacon Andrew served as Canada’s first Ambassador for Religious Freedom and Head of the Office of Religious Freedom from 2013 to 2016 in the department of Global Affairs Canada. He is a leading commentator on religious freedom and conscience rights in Canada. He holds a Ph.D. in Politics from the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. as well as degrees in history from McGill and Dalhousie universities in Canada. Cardus Faith Communities: https://www.cardus.ca/research-library/faith-communities/ Special Guest: Andrew Bennet.

Duration:00:59:23

Knox Thames

2/19/2024
Knox Thames is an international human rights lawyer, advocate, and author who has dedicated his career to promoting human rights, defending religious minorities, and combatting persecution. Known for his nonpartisan approach to advocacy, both the Obama and Trump administrations appointed Knox as the Special Advisor for Religious Minorities in the Near East and South / Central Asia at the State Department. The first to serve in this special envoy role, he received a civil service appointment to lead State Department efforts to support religious minorities in these regions. In April 2023, Knox joined Pepperdine University as a Senior Fellow, directing the new Program on Global Faith and Inclusive Societies from the Washington DC campus. In addition, since 2020, he has worked with the United States Institute of Peace as a non-resident Senior Visiting Expert. Knox Thames website: https://www.knoxthames.com/ Christians Against All Persecution: https://www.caapnetwork.org/ Special Guest: Knox Thames.

Duration:00:39:00

Sam Nagasaka: The Unification Church in Japan

2/14/2024
An interview from the IRF Summit with Sam Nagasaka, Secretary General of the Public Relations Committee for the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. Sam shares his poignent personal story of the efforts his family in Japan made to deprogram him from association with the Unification Church and how this ultimately reinforced his connection to the organization. Afterward, John examines Sam's story through the lense of his experience with the highly traditional Shinto traditions of Japan. The FFWPU Website: https://familyfed.org/about-us Crossing Faiths #22 with Shino Yokotsuka: https://www.crossingfaiths.com/22

Duration:00:42:10

106: David Curry - Violence against religious minorities

2/12/2024
John Pinna interviews David Curry, head of Global Christian Relief and commissioner for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, about the state of international religious freedom. Curry asserts that conditions for religious liberty globally have never been worse, with more authoritarian regimes restricting access to religious texts and practice. He discusses the failures of governments to properly address extremist violence against religious minorities and the need to focus on the right to freedom of belief as a core human right. Curry highlights emerging threats like increased surveillance and censorship facilitated by technology in countries like China that could enable mass persecution. He also touches on areas of concern like the Sahel region in Africa, India, and Nigeria where religious minorities face violence and displacement. Curry emphasizes the need for accurate data on violence targeting religious groups to drive policy and funding to address this worldwide crisis for freedom of belief. Learn more: https://globalchristianrelief.org/ Special Guest: David Curry.

Duration:00:50:00

IRF 2024 #3: Ex-Muslims of North America

2/7/2024
Aysha discusses her journey leaving Islam and becoming an atheist. She introducts the Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA) organization, where she began as a volunteer and now serves as Director of Operations. Aysha explains the restrictions she faced as a Muslim woman growing up in a traditional Pakistani household, including limited rights in marriage, inheritance, testimony in court, and the sanctioning of husbands beating disobedient wives. She examines the contradictions between Islam and her rights as a US citizen. She highlights EXMNA's work normalizing dissent through campus tours and building community for ex-Muslims. Please visit exmuslims.org (https://exmuslims.org/) to learn more about Ex-Muslims of North America.

Duration:00:21:34

Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett

2/5/2024
IRF Month begins with an interview with Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. Afterward, John and Elliot discuss youth involvement in the IRF movement. Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett serves as President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, established in 2008 to continue the legacy of her father, the late Congressman Tom Lantos. Under her leadership, The Lantos Foundation has rapidly become a distinguished and respected voice on key human rights concerns. Dr. Lantos Swett is the former Chair and Vice-Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and teaches Human Rights and American Foreign Policy at Tufts University. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Board of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) and the Budapest based Tom Lantos Institute. Dr. Lantos Swett also serves on the Advisory Board of UN Watch, the annual Anne Frank Award and Lecture, and The Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership, and Public Policy. Lantos Swett earned a Political Science degree from Yale University at the age of 18, a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and a PhD in History from The University of Southern Denmark. Special Guest: Katrina Lantos Swett.

Duration:01:03:34

Adjudicating Islamic Law for Muslim Americans

1/29/2024
John Pinna interviews Sayyid M.B. Kashmiri, who represents the Grand Ayatollah Sistani in America. They discuss Sayyid's family lineage tracing back to Prophet Muhammad; his experience migrating from Iraq to Iran, Lebanon, and finally the U.S.; and his role leading the Imam Mahdi Association, which serves as Sistani's representative entity in North America. Sayyid explains key aspects of Shi'a Islamic law and practice such as the concept of jurists who interpret religious rulings. He highlights projects the Association is currently implementing to meet the needs of Shi'a Muslim Americans across different domains. Sayyid also shares perspectives on the dignity and value of human life in Islam, grounded in Qur'anic principles about honoring the children of Adam and bearing the attributes of God through one's character and conduct in the world.

Duration:00:55:21

IRF 2024 #2: The IRF Industrial Complex?

1/26/2024
In this discussion, Pinna continues sharing his perspective on issues with the international religious freedom (IRF) movement. He argues that IRF advocacy has become an "industry" dominated by a small group of organizations and leaders who control narratives and funding. Pinna questions the impact of high-profile IRF events like the annual Ministerial and Summit, critiquing them as superficial with little measurable outcomes. He calls for greater accountability, prioritizing evidence-based persecution data over anecdotal stories, developing contextualized metrics, and directing more funding towards field operations. Pinna expresses concerns over IRF being co-opted for political agendas and domestic religious issues rather than its legally-intended focus on international issues. He emphasizes the need to strengthen government IRF institutions mandated by legislation versus relying on private groups and citizens. Overall, Pinna argues the IRF movement risks becoming an echo chamber disconnected from effectively addressing rising global religious persecution.

Duration:00:48:31

IRF 2024 #1: The Story So Far

1/26/2024
In conversation with Fr. John Anderson, John Pinna discusses his extensive experience in the field of international religious freedom (IRF), beginning with the origins and impact of the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act. He details his past advocacy work with the American Islamic Congress, including engaging in interfaith dialogue, advocating for prisoners of conscience, and helping to organize early IRF conferences. Pinna explains his more recent work founding an initiative to engage Muslim communities globally and participating in early planning efforts to establish the annual IRF Ministerial at the State Department. He expresses concerns over global trends showing increases in religious persecution and restrictions on religious freedom, questioning the efficacy of policies meant to combat these issues. Special Guest: Father John Anderson.

Duration:00:25:33

103: Ambassador Akiva Tor

1/22/2024
Akiva Tor is the Ambassador of Israel to the Republic of Korea. In their wide-ranging discussion, Pinna and Tor touch on Israel's ongoing engagement efforts with Jewish communities worldwide, grappling with issues of pluralism and anti-Semitism, while also navigating complex relationships with the Vatican and varying Christian denominations. They discuss Israel's challenges in drafting a constitution, given divisions amongst religious parties, as well as current basic laws and the Supreme Court's authority. Regarding minority groups, they focus particular attention on Arab Israelis, emphasizing the importance of further integrating this community into Israeli society. Shifting to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Tor and Pinna debate solutions, expressing skepticism around failed negotiations from the past. They also critique certain criticism of Israel as a "colonial project", stressing the need for religious leaders and communities to be constructive participants in finding a peaceful solution. Special Guest: Akiva Tor.

Duration:01:06:28

The Political Perils of Biblical Archeology

1/20/2024
In this podcast conversation, host John Pinna interviews journalist and documentarian Simcha Jacobovici (https://www.simchajtv.com/) about his investigations into biblical archaeology and how he uses an investigative journalism approach to explore issues related to faith and history. They discuss several of Jacobovici's projects researching archaeological evidence related to Jesus, including finding the ossuary of Caiaphas and the controversial "Jesus family tomb," as well as analyzing the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. Jacobovici explains how he follows the evidence to raise questions about religion and history that institutions may want to cover up. He continues investigating issues related to the historical Jesus, publishing new books and films, though notes he cannot force academics and faith leaders to recognize his theories. Overall, the discussion explores using journalism techniques to uncover new evidence regarding faith histories and how this research intersects with religious institutions and beliefs. Simcha Jacobovici Purchase films: https://www.apltd.ca/index.php/product-category/films/ Purchase books: https://www.amazon.com/Books-Simcha-Jacobovici/s?rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3ASimcha+Jacobovici Website: https://www.simchajtv.com/ Special Guest: Simcha Jacobovici.

Duration:00:51:50

Public Martyrdom

1/15/2024
John and Elliot discuss American televangelist Jimmy Swaggart's public confession of sin in the late 1980s, exploring ideas around repentance, forgiveness, and redemption in the evangelical Christian tradition. This leads to a broader discussion of theological perspectives on Christ's crucifixion and sacrifice, different interpretations of its meaning and purpose, tensions within evangelicalism, and Elliot's personal faith journey and evolving views on these issues. Elliot shares some of his own experiences in ministry and how wrestling with difficult questions ultimately gave him a greater appreciation for the gospel message, while John struggles to understand why ideas like incarnation and crucifixion are necessary for humans to be reconciled with God.

Duration:01:05:20

100: Burma and the Rohingya Genocide

1/10/2024
John Pinna engages in an illuminating discussion with Simon Billenness and Lucky Karim regarding the persecution faced by the Rohingya people in Myanmar. Simon provides historical context about the oppression and genocide endured by the Rohingya minority, while Lucky shares poignant personal anecdotes about her experiences as a Rohingya refugee, shedding light on the manifold challenges confronting the community. The three explore advocacy campaigns aimed at raising awareness of the Rohingyas' plight and providing increased assistance to Rohingya refugees and repatriation efforts. Potential areas for future collaboration between their respective organizations and Muslims International are considered in depth. The possibility of leveraging US strategic interests in the region to generate political momentum for regime change in Myanmar is also debated. Overall, the conversation covers the key topics related to the human rights crisis facing the Rohingya people. Special Guests: Lucky Karim and Simon Billinness.

Duration:01:42:23

98: The Technology of Religion

1/1/2024
John and Elliot have a wide-ranging conversation touching on technology, cultural change, politics, education, immigration, religion, and more. They discuss how modern cars and devices constantly "ping" people with notifications and alerts, creating a sense of anxiety, versus the simplicity yet risk of vintage vehicles. This leads into a dialogue about rapid technological advances, like AI, transforming societies and economies faster than institutions and mindsets can adapt. They debate controversial political issues like immigration and cultural integration in Europe. Looking through a historical lens, they conclude that change is inevitable, but healthy cultures openly negotiate to balance preserving identity with pragmatically incorporating outsiders. Ultimately, they see religion and technology as parallel tools for bringing order and meaning to human lives amidst chaos.

Duration:01:21:42

What Do Unitarians and Satanists Have In Common?

12/24/2023
John and Elliot have a wide-ranging discussion about religion, covering topics such as the nature of God, the purpose of religion, different religious groups and practices, religious extremism, and more. They start by talking about whether it makes sense to believe in a God that is morally questionable or "bad." Elliot argues that even for religious people, faith involves choosing to believe in a certain conception of God. He suggests that it doesn't make sense to exert belief in a deity that is "bad." The conversation touches on modern Satanist groups and Unitarian Universalism. John sees some similarities between these two in terms of individualism and picking from different faith traditions. They discuss the idea that Islam has core tenets or "Maxims" that define the faith and bind Muslims together. Likewise, Christianity seeks to facilitate bridging the gap between God and humans. There is examination of how cultural identity can become intermixed with religious identity, using Greek Orthodox and Pakistani Muslim communities as examples. John and Elliot explore how moral absolutes can slip within religious worldviews, enabling dangerous behaviors like religiously-motivated violence. The destruction of a Satanic statue by a Christian politician is discussed in this context. They end by considering the essential purpose of religion - why humans are driven to religion whereas animals are not.

Duration:00:49:17

The Candy Cane Conspiracy

12/18/2023
The conversation starts with John finding some Christian pamphlets called "The Candy Cane Story" that were left at his business. He asks Elliot if he's familiar with the religious symbolism ascribed to candy canes. Elliot says he is, so John has him read through the pamphlet, which suggests candy canes were invented by a candy maker to be a Christian symbol. They look up the actual history and determine this story is likely false propaganda. This leads to a broader discussion about religious persecution and evangelism. John shares his expertise in evaluating data on global religious persecution. He critiques common anecdotal claims of persecution. Elliot discusses patterns in Christian evangelism. They talk about how some religious groups assert cultural ownership over traditions and symbols. The conversation explores Christian nationalism, secularization of Christmas, Muslim views on celebrating Christmas, living as a religious minority, and more. They poke fun at some religious ideas but also seek nuance regarding respecting different faiths.

Duration:01:05:41

95: Millennialism and Antisemitism

12/11/2023
Support this podcast via Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/crossingfaiths).

Duration:00:50:56

94: There's Always Another Jerk

12/4/2023
John, a Muslim and Elliot, an Evangelical Christian, talk religion and politics. This week, the hosts discuss Chick Tracks, which are small evangelistic comic books that promote fundamentalist Christian beliefs. This leads to a discussion about common tendencies of fundamentalism seen in both faith traditions. Support this podcast via Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/crossingfaiths).

Duration:01:10:44

Unpacking the Resurfaced Bin Laden Letter

11/27/2023
John and Elliott discuss Osama bin Laden's controversial 2002 "Letter to America" that recently resurfaced and went viral on TikTok. They debate the letter's authenticity and analyze it through various lenses - post-colonialism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, generational reactions to 9/11 and the War on Terror. Touching on the oppressor-oppressed narrative prevalent today, they examine philosophical questions around justification of violence and the complex historical realities that often defy simple characterization. John recounts his Thanksgiving conversations around the Israeli-Palestinian issue and advocates for more nuance. In the end, they land on similar views - that no ideology justifies harming innocent civilians or disproportionate military responses that only perpetuate violence. They call for more ethical, practical solutions focused on human dignity and minimizing suffering on all sides. Support this podcast via Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/crossingfaiths).

Duration:01:16:23