'Us & Them' Launches with Four Episodes Highlighting the Cultural Divide

May 1, 2015

 Americans are as divided as they’ve ever been. A recent Pew Research Center study found that “Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades.” The report found the percentage of Americans who express consistently conservative or consistently liberal opinions has doubled over that period, to 21%, and that “ideological overlap between the two parties has diminished.”

  The Us & Them podcast will focus on the fault lines that divide Americans. From fights over same-sex marriage or whether humans cause climate change to immigration and whether or not President Obama should identify ISIS militants as Muslim terrorists, we’ll the explore issues, disputes or ideas that divide people into longstanding, entrenched camps. In each episode, we’ll give a good listen to passionate people on either side of the culture war divide – from conservative, God-fearing Christian preachers and creationism advocates to moderate Muslim imams and campy flamboyant drag queens – not to determine who is right or wrong, but rather to access their humanity. Shows may include some expert voices, but in essence an Us and Them program is an intimately told story, focused on real people with deeply held core beliefs. It’ll provide insight as to how and why people come by these strong beliefs.  

Trey & Alice

 In the first episode of Us and Them, a red state Christian conservative and a blue state secular liberal share an unlikely friendship. And a slug burger.

  The Great Textbook War

 In 1974, Kanawha County, West Virginia became an early battleground in the culture wars when fighting broke out over new school textbooks. People planted bombs in schools, shot at buses, and shut down coal mines. This radio documentary was honored with Peabody, Murrow and DuPont/Columbia awards.

 Rev. Jim Lewis - Marrying Gays When It Wasn't Cool 

Decades before same-sex marriage was legal, the Rev. Jim Lewis of Charleston, West Virginia, sparked outrage by blessing the unions of gay men and lesbians.

Revisiting the Grand Palace  

Americans’ attitudes towards gay relationships have changed dramatically in a short time. Host Trey Kay returns to his home state of West Virginia to see how this change is playing out in a state where 53 percent of residents believe the Bible is the literal word of God.