Image - speaker and detail from her book cover
Image - speaker and detail from her book cover

Losing My Religion: NPR’s Sarah McCammon on EXvangelicals in Trump's America

Despite his many alleged improprieties, no group has been more intensely and closely aligned with Donald Trump than white evangelical Christians—some even going so far as to elevate him to the status of "savior." Yet, just as Trump fractured political norms, his presidency has splintered white evangelical families with a reactionary movement of people leaving the church: EXvangelicals.

Drawing on her own personal religious journey, NPR reporter Sarah McCammon is a guide to understanding the immense support for Trump among white evangelical Christians, the backlash among former believers, and what this tells us about a divided America and the culture wars.

After spending her early adult life striving to make sense of an unraveling worldview, by her 30s, she found herself face-to-face with it once again as she covered the Trump campaign for NPR, where she witnessed first-hand the power and influence that evangelical Christian beliefs held on the political right. Growing up in a deeply evangelical family in the Midwest in the ‘80s and ‘90s, McCammon was strictly taught to fear God, obey him, and not question the faith. Persistently worried that her gay grandfather would go to hell unless she could reach him, or that her Muslim friend would need to be converted, McCammon was a rule-follower and—most of the time—a true believer. But through it all, she was increasingly plagued by fears and deep questions as the belief system she'd been carefully taught clashed with her expanding understanding of the outside world.

Part memoir, part investigative journalism, McCammon’s The Exvangelicals is the first definitive book to explore the cultural, social and political impact of the post-evangelical movement.

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Image - Sarah McCammon

Sarah McCammon

National Political Correspondent, NPR; Co-host, "NPR Politics" Podcast; Author, The Exvangelicals: Loving, Living and Leaving the White Evangelical Church

Image - Brad Onishi

Brad Onishi

Adjunct Professor, University of San Francisco; Co-host, "Straight White American Jesus" podcast; Author, Preparing for War: The Extremist History of White Christian Nationalism – And What Comes Next