Podcast Review: Why "In God We Lust" is Unexpected, Fascinating, and Fun
Updated: 5 days ago
The story of Jerry Falwell Jr. and his wife Becki Falwell’s affair with a pool attendant made headlines, but was it criminal?
In God We Lust made my podcast recommendation list because it is a good starting point for anyone who wants to learn more about the Liberty University scandal and the news stories that are sure to emerge with a Hulu documentary on the horizon.
About the Podcast(ers)
For this podcast, it’s definitely the hosts that make the show. A close second is the fantastic research, writing, and design.
In God We Lust is hosted by Brooke Siffrinn and Aricia Skidmore-Williams and is a spin-off of their hit podcast, Even the Rich (which is also amazing, by the way). They make it a point to credit their sources, researchers, and production team in every episode.
One of the things I love about their approach to storytelling is that they weave commentary in with their research. They will tell a portion of their story, and then pause to discuss. The pause is, of course, hilarious commentary on whatever outrageous aspect of the case has just been revealed. But the design is at the heart of why I recommend this podcast. Heavily scripted podcasts feel a little heavy. Podcasts with no script can be hard to follow…assuming listeners (like me) don’t just stop listening when a host goes too far off on a tangent. Siffrinn and Skidmore-Williams have a perfect balance of facts that drive the story and commentary that keeps it interesting.
Is anything criminal covered in the podcast? I have to go back and listen again. I think it was mainly a scandal, but that scandal fueled a lawsuit.
Can your employer sue you?
Being sued by our employer may not be something that we all worry about, but it can certainly happen. And the Fallwells are a great example of just how important it is to understand how interconnected our personal and professional lives are.
“Liberty University has filed a civil lawsuit against its former leader, Jerry Falwell Jr., seeking millions in damages after the two parted ways acrimoniously last year. The complaint, filed Thursday in Lynchburg Circuit Court, alleges Falwell crafted a “well-resourced exit strategy” from his role as president and chancellor in the form of a 2019 employment agreement while withholding from the school key details about a personal scandal that exploded into public view last year.”
An organization’s leader often becomes “the face of a company,” recognized as the person behind the business. For that reason, morality clauses and a variety of other guidelines are frequently included in employment contracts. If an infraction damages the reputation of a business, that business and the people associated with it may genuinely experience harm.
“Despite his clear duties as an executive and officer at Liberty, Falwell Jr. chose personal protection,” the lawsuit says.
Especially with the Hulu documentary dropping soon, this case is likely to stay in the news. And, perhaps more interestingly, it will likely inspire related cases to get a lot of attention.
You may have heard of secondary car crashes, but have you ever heard the same concept applied to investigations? We see them often. Just like one car crash can cause an accident miles down the road, investigations can start as a result of a different claim, typically involving one or more of the same parties.
Over the years, more universities like Liberty have been accused of not doing enough to report and investigate sexual misconduct and assault cases. In October 2020, one such case was filed, and in April of 2022, a countersuit was filed by the accused.
Would these cases have received so much publicity without the Falwell scandal? There is, of course, no way to really know. But consider how people feel when trying to find the courage to face their accuser. Consider how search engines work and how terms will pull related stories–and how smart digital content creators know that. Will more students come forward and report sexual assault incidents? Will the media interest in the Falwells make Liberty seem like they have more issues than they actually do related to sexual violence on campus?
Here’s where being diligent investigators and responsible readers becomes so important.
I enjoyed the Wondery podcast and I’m so glad I found Even the Rich! But every time a case tied to powerful people, religious beliefs, and sex scandals comes up, I always try to remember a few things.
Remember the source. Even reputable news agencies need engagement to be successful, so if the author/publisher has a bias (in any direction) just remember that before reading/watching content.
Read past the headlines. Speaking of clicks…we’ve all seen the not-technically-a-lie article titles, haven’t we? Don’t take them at face value and don’t share anything without reading it.
Check your own bias. If you’re in a place to influence others and contribute to a conversation, just do your best to speak the whole truth–even the parts you don’t like.
What am I missing?
Resources for Citizen Investigators & Internet Sleuths
Check out Wondery and the other Even the Rich podcasts. They cover celebrity news, scandals, and true crime, so if you’re only looking for criminal cases, you may have to be a little selective in what you listen to, but it’s worth checking out.
As for how the cases associated with Liberty University and the Fallwells unfold, I think we will see more emerge in the upcoming weeks. My best recommendation is to stay sharp and review your sources. And if you come across a valuable resource, please share it in the comments!