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Unholier Than Thou

Unholier Than Thou

By Crooked Media

Some people came out of the pandemic with a new skill, new spouse, or new lease on life. Others came out with a divorce, a drinking problem, or an identity crisis. No matter how the last year has treated you, journalist Phillip Picardi is back to guide you through the spiritual conundrums that tend to crop up amidst global catastrophe. With the help of friends, strangers, and celebrities, Unholier Than Thou has risen from the dead and is back for season 2: Resurrection. We’re talking recovery, rediscovery, resilience, resolutions, and more. This season of Unholier Than Thou is all about the wisdom of everyday people falling down, getting up, and trying new things as they navigate a newish world. AND Phill will take listeners on the road as he drives from LA to Cambridge as his search for illumination takes him to Divinity School. Because he’s spiritually blonde, honey. So tune in. New episodes of Unholier Than Thou drop every Friday, starting October 8.


Introducing "Work Appropriate": Big Office Feelings with Josh Gondelman

Inspired by her immensely popular newsletter, author Anne Helen Petersen turns her attention to the wild world of work in Work Appropriate. Featuring guest appearances by the smartest people Anne knows - they have real jobs, we promise - the show delivers humorous but practical workplace advice for a range of listener questions like “how do I get my manager to stop texting me after hours,” to “what do I do when my company thinks our toxic culture can be fixed with Taco Tuesdays?” The problems may be limitless but so are the solutions! In this episode work, host Anne Helen Petersen teams up with comedian and TV writer Josh Gondelman to answer questions that range from petty (what if I hate the company holiday gift?) to systemic (is it okay to give up on advocating for my voice to be heard?).To hear even more episodes don’t forget to subscribe to Work Appropriate. If you’re interested in submitting your very own questions, head to
02/11/22·40m 34s

Introducing Imani State of Mind: REALities with grief

Grief…it’s the one thing we all will experience in our lifetime. The ladies of Imani State of Mind discuss the effects grief can have on your everyday life and how to live a healthy life while living with grief. 
26/08/22·53m 5s

Introducing Dare We Say

Join Josie Totah, Alycia Pascual Peña, and Yasmine Hamady – three young actresses, disruptors, and best friends as they navigate the issues that affect our lives; from hookup culture and social media to structural racism and LGBTQ+ rights. They won’t shy away from diving deep into controversial topics, even turning to their elders – actors, activists, comedians, experts, politicians, 26 year olds – to try to understand the world their generation was handed. Catch a new episode of Crooked's newest launch Dare We Say every Thursday, wherever you get your podcasts.Follow on to
11/08/22·3m 18s

Jesus Christ, Social Justice Star!

Happy holidays! To celebrate the ~festive season~, we thought we'd release a fan-favorite: Phill's conversation with Brittany Packnett Cunningham about Jesus. Yes, that Jesus!As appealing as hunky blondes can be, Phill isn’t interested in worshipping one (well, at least not as the son of God). There's a whole lot of myths about Jesus—and then there's who the Bible ACTUALLY says he was. And turns out, he's kind of a great guy! To help him dissect the activist Jesus was in his own life, Brittany Packnett Cunningham joins to play a fun Bible game. (The grand prize is kind of a bummer, though.)For a transcript of this show, please visit
17/12/21·28m 36s

Recommitment (with Doctor Darien)

On the final episode of this season of Unholier Than Thou, we end where it all began. On the first episode, Phill sat down with his fiancé, Darien, about being a healthcare worker during the first wave of covid. Darien is back, covid is still here, and the world is much changed. He and Phill discuss how being on the frontline worker has changed, and their newly long distance relationship, and how they remain committed to each other.For a transcript of this show, please visit
10/12/21·57m 42s

Reunion (with Bambi)

This week, Phill is joined by Bambi, who helped him come out of the closet many moons ago in a magical land called They talk about what it's like growing up the black sheep, finding acceptance and love in the arms of strangers, and what it's like reconnecting with someone who changed your life.For a transcript of this show, please visit
03/12/21·47m 43s

Restitution (with Sarah Pearson)

This week, Phill is joined by his classmate, Sarah Pearson, who works fighting clergy abuse. She and Phill discuss how high up the chain coverup efforts go, how predatory priests are often relocated into communities of color, and what justice for victims may look like.For a transcript of this show, please visit
26/11/21·43m 6s


Alcohol consumption increased 23% during the pandemic, particularly among women and those who live alone. People are cut off from their support systems, and many have lost their income. Without social and financial resources, staying in recovery is hard and entering it can be even harder. This week, we have two stories about recovery. First, we have Odette. Odette is part of an online recovery group called Cafe RE, and over the course of the pandemic, became the host of its podcast and the face (and voice) of the community. She talks about her religious upbringing and spiritual practice, where we find strength, and misconceptions about recovery. Then we have Quianna. Quianna's road to recovery has been long, and credits her success to finding god on her journey.If you're curious about sobriety, here are some resources that might help:Find an AA meeting near youJoin Odette and Cafe RELooking to moderate? SMART Recovery might be for youSubstance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's 24 hour hotline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)For a transcript of this show, please visit
19/11/21·1h 24m

Revisiting (with Reza Aslan)

This week, Phill is joined by author Reza Aslan to revisit the early aughts in the American imagination. In the wake of America's withdrawal from Afghanistan, how do notions of American exceptionalism hold up? Reza and Phill discuss how Christian imperialism has crept its way into allegedly secular politics, look critically at America's outmoded hero complex, and question to legitimacy of the liberator theology that we carry with us today.For a transcript of this show, please visit
12/11/21·53m 48s


And now for something a little different. This week, Phill is joined by a panel of great thinkers, writers, and theologians to tackle a big question: What role does Christianity have in an increasingly secular America? Do we need it? Does it leave room for those of marginalized identities? Does it welcome those who might have left and want to come back? Can it eschew its imperial past and embrace those it has harmed? It sounds heavy, but you'd never know it from the all the laughter.Panelists:Jacqui LewisMeggan WattersonDarnell MooreErica WilliamsFor a transcript of this show, please visit
05/11/21·59m 30s

Reframing (with Chris Stedman)

Content warning: This episode contains discussions of suicideHave you heard the one where the atheist walks into the divinity school? Oh, it’s not a joke, it’s the lived experience of humanist chaplain Chris Stedman. Phill and Chris talk about the pros and cons of organized religion, cultivating community and ritual outside of religious contexts, using the internet to heal after personal tragedy, and finding the divine in pop divas. Required listening for the “spiritual vibes of non-religious people.” Resources:National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255 or text HELLO to 741741For a transcript of this show, please visit
29/10/21·52m 29s

Re-entry (with Michael Arceneaux and Aminatou Sow)

Welcome to covid’s Groundhog Day. Every day’s the same and we constantly have six weeks to go before it’s over. But school’s open, traffic is back, and it’s time to start thinking about what the world looks like on the other side. Here to talk to Phill about reentering a very changed and very similar world are writers Michael Arcenaux and Aminatou Sow. They chat about the challenges of creating through disaster, seeing old injustices through new eyes, creating boundaries, and finding god in memes.For a transcript of this show, please visit
22/10/21·50m 38s

Redefinition (with Michelle Williams)

Phill was always bound to interview Michelle Williams. You could call it fate, but we prefer DESTINY, child. The Gospel Girl talks to Phill about the connections between mental health and faith, how god lives in the high notes, and what to do with your life after you check ‘global superstar’ off the checklist.For a transcript of this show, please visit
15/10/21·48m 1s

Resurrection (with Samhita Mukhopadhyay)

In the inaugural episode of our resurrected show, Phill talks to one of his favorite people in the world: Samhita Mukhopadhyay. Samhita made some big changes during covid (like a lot of us). As Editor in Chief of Teen Vogue, she was at the height of her career: she had the high profile, the platform, the influence. And then? She stepped away. She and Phill dive in to betting on yourself, the lessons of grief, and rebuilding relationships over time. For a transcript of this show, please visit
08/10/21·52m 46s

Trailer: Season 2 - Resurrection

Someone must have moved a boulder out of the way, because Unholier Than Thou is back from the dead, baby! And we’re celebrating our resurrection with stories about yours. New jobs, new loves, new mistakes, new realizations, new challenges, new gay people talking about Catholic guilt (not all new — Phill’s still here). Join Phill and a stable of stars, friends, colleagues, and strangers as they try to glean answers from a year full of questions. New episodes every Friday, starting October 8. Follow Phillip PicardiFollow Crooked
01/10/21·1m 26s

Mother Mary, a Virgin who can't drive

Remember that time Joe Jonas had a Purity Ring and then…didn’t? That’s the Virgin Mary’s fault. Sort of. The most famous woman in all of Christianity is a virgin — or is she? Phill is joined by feminist theologian Meggan Watterson for a chat on Biblical revisionism and the real miracle of the immaculate conception. For a transcript of this show, please visit
25/12/20·29m 41s

Jesus Christ, Social Justice Star!

As appealing as hunky blondes can be, Phill isn’t interested in worshipping one (well, at least not as the son of God). There's a whole lot of myths about Jesus—and then there's who the Bible ACTUALLY says he was. And turns out, he's kind of a great guy! To help him dissect the activist Jesus was in his own life, Brittany Packnett Cunningham joins to play a fun Bible game. (The grand prize is kind of a bummer, though.)Listen to Brittany's podcast, UndistractedFor a transcript of this episode, please visit
18/12/20·30m 58s

The magic of Judaism

It's Hanukkah, listeners, and you're going to plotz when you see this week's guests. First, Phill shmoozes with author, icon, and national treasure Alice Hoffman about the role of Jewish folklore in her work, the resilience of women, and the power of the word (and Practical Magic). Then, Crooked Media founder and all-around mensch Jon Lovett confronts his sins for a (very personal) Am I Going To Hell For This?For a transcript of this episode, please visit
11/12/20·38m 45s

The military is watching you pray

The Pope wants you to stay home, but Amy Coney Barrett wants to see your ass in church. We check in with Dan Mach, director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, on what the most recent SCOTUS hearing really means about "religious freedom." Then, after an explosive report detailing how the US military is buying the location data of millions of Muslim people, Phill welcomes Joseph Cox, the journalist who broke the story. Then, Ani Zonneveld, founder of Muslims for Progressive Values, breaks down the real life implications of citizen surveillance for practitioners of Islam.Show notes:Attend MPV's Celebration of LifeFor a transcript of this episode, please visit
04/12/20·41m 40s

God and...CHANEL?

Now that you're stuffed with stuffing, it’s time to go shopping. Psychology professor Matt Rossano joins to argue that consumerism is filling the hole left vacant by religious rituals. Do you buy it? (What if it's 50% off?) Then, comedian Bryan Safi offers his sinful expertise for a holiday edition of Am I Going To Hell for This.For a transcript of this episode, please visit
27/11/20·37m 12s

Thanks, but no thanks

Our national revisionist-history holiday is upon us, so Phill has a special guest at his Thanksgiving table. Kaitlin Curtice is a citizen of the Potawatomi Nation and also (wait for it) a Christian. She and Phill talk about balancing conflicting identities, decolonizing her faith, and rethinking, reimagining, and relearning our history.For a transcript of this episode, please visit
20/11/20·36m 11s

Giving Grace and Buying Guns

Now that the facism is ebbing, should the apologies be flowing? That's what Phill is hoping to glean from Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg. She walks us through the process of repentance and if you're required to forgive the MAGA hat wearers in your life. Next, Pastor Mike McBride joins to dissuade Phill from buying a gun to defend himself in the event of a rocky transition of power. Turns out firearms lead to violence, not safety! Who knew? Go to Vote Save America for volunteer/donation opportunities in Georgia!Stay up to date with Rabbi Danya hereTo support Pastor Mike's violence prevention work, check out Live Free USAFor a transcript of this episode, please visit
13/11/20·47m 52s

Screw you, Mercury

This week, Phill is putting his phone down and looking up to the stars. First, he welcomes ABC News anchor and Ten Percent Happier founder Dan Harris to talk about how to develop mindfulness outside of an oppressive news cycle. After an on-air panic attack, he’s the expert. Next, Chani Nicholas joins to check back in on that finicky Mercury, explain why this week was such a clusterfuck, and if we have anything to look forward to in 2021 (we do). Show notes:Check out the Ten Percent Happier podcast and appLearn more about Chani's workFor a transcript of this episode, please visit
06/11/20·37m 19s

The Pope's Big Gay Surprise

This week we’re looking at the church, and more specifically, who’s welcome inside. First, Phill chats with Gerald Posner, a journalist and Vatican expert, about Pope Francis' widely praised but incredibly vague comments surrounding civil unions for gay couples. Then, author and researcher Robert P. Jones joins to talk about Southern Baptists' unholy history with segregationists, and the slow and unsteady march of white Christians towards racial justice.Follow Gerald Posner's work hereLearn more about Robert P. Jones and the Public Religion Research Institute hereHis book is White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American ChristianityFor a transcript of this episode, please visit
30/10/20·39m 52s

The REAL Hocus Pocus

This week, we’re turning off the news and picking up our brooms. Witches are all around us, and always have been, so Phil decides to debunk some of the black magic around them. First, he speaks to Sabina Magliocco, an expert in witchcraft and folklore to dive into history. Next, he talks with Amanda Yeats-Garcia, a witch who gained prominence trying to put a binding spell on our president (Did it work? Find out next week!). And finally, he welcomes La Loba Loca, a queer educator and herbalist who speak on the power of ancestry, the horror of persecutions, and why you should take shrooms instead of ayahuasca.Show notes:Learn more about Amanda Yates Garcia, listen to her podcast, and buy her bookLearn more about La Loba LocaFor a transcript of this episode, please visit
23/10/20·47m 36s

Amy Coney Barrett: A Catholic Bigot

In this week’s episode, Phill chats with two religious experts about the perversion of Christianity on display during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. First, progressive faith leader Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons explains how the majority of the Christian electorate is *actually* voting come November 3rd, and how Barrett’s positions betray many of the teachings of Christianity. Then, the author and journalist Olga Marina Segura joins to explain how Barrett’s allegiance to the Catholic Church institution makes her a “secret weapon” of their agenda—one that is steeped in a history and legacy of white supremacy.For a transcript of this episode, please visit
16/10/20·41m 39s

So, is this Karma?

This week, Phill takes a deep dive into what’s been on all of our minds: Is Donald Trump finally experiencing the karmic retribution he deserves? Former Buddhist monk, author, and meditation teacher Jason Siff explains a little bit about the philosophy of Karma—and what we in the West tend to get wrong about it. Then, the ACLU’s Chase Strangio joins Phill for a follow-up discussion about the Supreme Court, and how “religious freedom” disputes could potentially push the justices to overturn marriage equality in the future.For a transcript of this episode, please visit
09/10/20·43m 30s

Is it a sin to hate Trump?

This week, Phill has a question on his mind -- is it okay to hate Trump? In a week in which Trump nominated a conservative judge to the Supreme Court, defended paying only $750 in taxes and gave orders to white supremacists during the Presidential debate, Phill asks Reverend Broderick Greer and Abby Stein, an ordained rabbi, how they process their feelings towards Trump. They talk through their philosophies of forgiveness and the responsibility of standing up against Trump.For a transcript of this episode, please visit
02/10/20·47m 21s

The religious radicalization of the Supreme Court

In light of the tragic passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Phill invites Jenny Pizer of Lambda Legal to speak to the power RBG held on the Supreme Court and to discuss how the religious right is attempting to codify powers in the US through Trump's potential nominee. We also hear how faith can guide judges without imposing on their rulings and how Jenny herself handles her relationship to faith.For a transcript of this episode, please visit
25/09/20·36m 6s

How coronavirus has changed the way people die

As the death toll from the coronavirus reaches 200,000 in the United States, Phill talks to two chaplains about the difficulty of dying in isolation. Halle Diecidue and Stephanie Ramos have spent the last months helping individuals plan their deaths during a most unusual time—and without the usual coping mechanisms that we’re used to in end-of-life care. Before speaking to the chaplains, Phill talks to political strategist Zara Rahim about the revisionist history of the legacy of Islamophobia post-9/11.for a transcript of this episode, please visit
18/09/20·42m 34s

A Divine Abortion Story

This week, Phill hears a personal story of how one woman’s relationship to religion changed (for the better!) after her decision to have an abortion. As a young Hindu woman in a pro-life group at her Catholic school, Shivana Jorawar panicked when she found out she was pregnant. What happened next brought her a feminist approach to Hinduism that she carries with her today.For a transcript of this episode, please visit
11/09/20·27m 4s

The sanctity of abortion

This week, Phill dives into the most religiously fraught political battlefield of our time: Abortion. To better understand the fight for abortion access nationwide, he first talks to Monica Simpson, the executive director at Sister Song, a reproductive justice organization led by women of color. Monica breaks down the ways reproductive care becomes politicized, and what’s at stake for bodily autonomy should Trump win re-election. Then, Phill talks to Reverend Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft—a pro-choice minister who explains the history of religion and abortion, and how the pro-life movement was created as a convenient political tool for white men seeking power.For a transcript of this episode, please visit
04/09/20·34m 57s

Why Muslims Are Starving in ICE Detention

This week, Phill starts by discussing Jerry Falwell Jr’s resignation from the evangelical Liberty University amidst news of an alleged sex scandal. Joining Phill is the Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, who helps to unpack the pitfalls of purity culture. Then, Phill takes a deep dive into a story that made headlines last week:  an ICE facility in Miami is currently serving rotten halal meals to its Muslim detainees, with their only other choice being pork, a meat that’s considered haram. Phill talks to Nimra Azmi of Muslim Advocates to better understand the cruelty Muslim detainees in ICE detention are subjected to when trying to practice their faith. Then we hear from Aura Bogado, an investigative reporter at Reveal, who talks Phill through what’s at stake for immigration reform and the people at our borders, come November and beyond.For a transcript of this episode, please visit
28/08/20·35m 21s

The Surprise Guest at the DNC

This week at the first ever socially distant DNC, leaders from the party were invited to give speeches and remarks in support of the Biden/Harris ticket. Included in those invitations were a number of faith leaders speaking out against Trump in an unprecedented manner. One such leader is Bishop Mariann Budde, who speaks to Phill about her decision to lead the benediction at this year’s convention—and how her faith helped her make the decision. We also hear from Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons, a fellow with the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at American Progress, who puts into perspective what this year’s inclusion of faith leaders means for the future of the Democratic party .For a transcript of this episode, please visit
21/08/20·29m 1s

Reverend Warnock and the case for the Religious Left

Reverend Raphael Warnock’s name has been in the news a lot lately as the Senate race heats up in Georgia. Just last week, WNBA players—alongside Stacey Abrams and Elizabeth Warren—endorsed Rev. Warnock’s bid to replace Senator Kelly Loeffler, an anti-Black Lives Matter conservative, in November. Phill talked to Reverend Warnock about what called him to the church—and now, to politics—and how faith has influenced his policy choices from reproductive justice to voting rights.For a transcript of this episode, please visit
14/08/20·29m 30s

Trans People are Sacred

Transgender people are currently fighting for their lives against an administration and a religious right that seems hellbent on denying their existence and equality. For many leaders of the movement, this is irony at its finest, because transgender people were once considered sacred in many pre-colonized societies. This week, we talk to advocate and model Geena Rocero about the gender non-conforming spiritual history of the Philippines to illustrate how trans people were once accepted and revered. Then, we catch up with the activist Raquel Willis about how she harnesses ancestral power in the Movement for Black Trans Lives.For a transcript of this episode, please visit
07/08/20·38m 36s

Anti-Racism & Anti-Semitism

In the years following the election of Donald Trump, Anti-Semitism has been on the rise in America, marked by an increase in hate speech and violence against Jewish people.This past month, some of that hate speech happens to come from the mouths of a select few notable Black people. Nonetheless, the conversation in the media was: Do Black people have an anti-Semitism problem?To help expose the intrinsic racism of this question, we spoke to three individuals who have gone underrepresented in these conversations: Black Jewish folks. We hear from Rabbi Sandra Lawson, rabbinical student Kendell Pinckney, and organizer Shekhiynah about being caught in the middle of two crucial American conversations: the fight against racism and the fight against anti-Semitism.For a transcript of this episode, please visit
31/07/20·39m 12s

BDSM and...Buddhism?

This week, Phill talks to Soma Snakeoil, a Buddhism teacher and a professional dominatrix. Together, they chat about the intrinsic link between the sexual and the spiritual—and what happens when we are allowed to show up as our full, freaky selves to our faith.For a transcript of this show, please visit
24/07/20·30m 48s

On Faith and On Fury

A history of pain and controversy lies beneath the ashes of San Gabriel Mission, which caught fire last weekend. Phil talks to Alan Salazar, a Native storyteller, activist, and Chumash and Tataviam elder about the history of the Indigenous people whose hands built the church — and who were abused by its founding father. Phil also hears from Remy Tran who started a GoFundMe for the restoration of the church. Remy’s experience is one of belonging, as the church served as a second home when he immigrated from Vietnam. Phil works to reconcile how a place of worship for some is a site of pain for others, and what we can learn by addressing the harsh realities of the past.For a transcript of this episode, please visit
17/07/20·29m 46s

Apocalypse Now?

2020 has been a hell of a year. Every month we read a new headline that makes it seem like the apocalypse might be nigh. While there's no "how to" guide for the end times, there's one text that might be able to help: The Book of Revelations. Phil talks to Timothy Beal, professor of Religion at Case Western Reserve University about what our obsession with predicting the end of the world actually reveals about us; and how really, the end of one world could mean the creation of a new one.
10/07/20·29m 41s

House of (Tarot) Cards

Protests in response to the murder of George Floyd at the end of May have sparked nationwide rallies that continue all across the country today. To understand how this moment became a movement, Phil talks with artist, filmmaker and activist Tourmaline. Tourmaline shares a tarot card reading with Phil, and they speak about the role spirituality plays in attempting to dismantle power structures.For a transcript of this episode, please visit
03/07/20·29m 3s

Pride & Protest

Pride month during the pandemic has one thing in common with years past -- protest. Phil has a conversation with Ann Northrop, activist and organizer with Act Up, about their 1989 Stop the Church action and the parallels she draws between the AIDS crisis and our battle with Covid-19.For a transcript of this episode, please visit
26/06/20·24m 25s

An Astrologer’s Guide to the Apocalypse

No one could have predicted the chaos that is 2020… or could they? Phil speaks to astrologer Chani Nicholas about how the present day has parallels with years past, and her predictions for the upcoming months, including the election.For a transcript of this episode, please visit
19/06/20·21m 2s

The President's Sacrilege

Recently, President Trump received massive condemnation when law enforcement officials used gas and flash bombs to remove peaceful protestors … all so that he could be pictured in front of a church. Phil Picardi will speak to the Reverend Gini Gerbasi, the Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church, who was there at the time, about the incident, and how religion is used by politicians.For a transcript of this episode, please visit
12/06/20·28m 42s

Facing Death and Seeing Miracles

Phil introduces the podcast by talking about one of the reasons he began re-evaluating his relationship with God: finding love. He’ll talk to his fiancé, Dr. Darien Sutton, who happens to be an emergency room doctor, battling on the front lines of the COVID outbreak, while still maintaining a strong belief in the power of faith and the situations where he’s witnessed miracles.For a transcript of this show, please visit
12/06/20·28m 41s

Introducing Unholier Than Thou (coming soon)

Award-winning journalist and editor Phillip Picardi is on a quest to better understand his relationship with spirituality by learning how faith plays a role in other people’s lives in Crooked Media’s new podcast, Unholier Than Thou. With the help of the spiritual, religious, and agnostic, he’ll guide listeners through the ethereal and worldly problems of the day, informed by his own on-and-off relationship with God. Through lenses both saintly and secular, Picardi will take a look at everything from sex to climate change, and how religion informs those discussions. New episodes every Friday.
29/05/20·1m 18s
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