In God We Lust: Christian dynasties and double-standards

Wondery

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Love them or loathe them, there’s no denying the facts: Brooke Siffrinn and Aricia Skidmore-Williams are podcast royalty, and they know how to make those awkward stories about celebrity private lives really fly. Kinda like a living breathing National Enquirer. And just as extra.

In In God We Lust they the get fully stuck in to the sleazy tale of predatory middle-aged evangelicals Jerry and Becki Falwell, and their hotel pool boy prey. True to their brand, Siffrinn and Skidmore-Williams milk the sordid affair for all the inevitable laughs while expertly highlighting the utter hypocrisy of their main protagonists along the way.

It stays pretty light and frothy, but don’t underestimate these hosts: they have the secret sauce that keeps listeners listening.

Siffrin and Skidmore-Williams are also smart enough to know that though the offer of a podcast about a throuple will get us through the door, it’s the sneak peek behind the scenes of a rigidly religious US college that will make us stay. Enter Liberty University. Whatever you did at college, you’ll feel like a fully fledged member of Iron Maiden by comparison. This as (supposedly) wholesome as it gets.

So, a pool boy, a throuple and a Christian university with a sexual voyeur in charge. Honestly, what else do you want? Okay, there are some pretty shady business ventures too, including a hostel in Miami bedecked in questionable art.

If you go into this with your eyes wide open, it’s an excellent romp (no pun intended). Are the hosts a little light on criticism for poor little Giancarlo the pool boy? Sure. But he really isn’t the main event here. This is a story about double-standards, and it’s surprisingly respectful to anyone and everyone who might count as a Falwell victim. And there are a fair few…

Pro tip: the bonus episode with NYT columnist Kevin Roose is well worth a listen too — he spent a semester at Liberty during his college years and explains how it all works for the uninitiated.

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