Given the polarization of culture, politics and religion in the United States and increasingly in other parts of the world as well, it's critical for the follower of Jesus to represent the gospel well in these complicated times. Journalist David French in his new book, Divided We Fall: America's Secession Threat and How to Restore the Nation, describes the polarization clearly, gives some alarming possible scenarios, and ultimately provides a way forward for the future. Join us as Scott interviews David about his book and his assessment of the current cultural and political moment from a distinctly Christian worldview.

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Episode Transcript

Scott Rae: Welcome to the podcast Think Biblically: Conversations on Faith and Culture. I'm your host, Scott Rae, Dean of Faculty and professor of Christian ethics at Talbot School of Theology here at Biola University. We're here today with our special guest, New York Times award-winning author David French, who's also, has a background as an attorney. He's a commentator for Time Today and most recently, senior editor of The Dispatch, which I really encourage you to check out. We'll give you a web address for that as we go along. He's also the author of a very provocative new book entitled, Divided We Fall: America's Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation.

Scott Rae: David, I have to tell you that this is the most insightful piece that I've read to date so far on the polarization of our culture and particularly our political culture.

David French: Oh wow.

Scott Rae: To be honest, it also scared the daylights out of me in a couple of places too. So welcome, really glad to have you with us on this. Thank you for being with us.

David French: Thanks so much for having me.

Scott Rae: Yeah. Now, you mentioned in the book, there's a pretty significant personal journey that motivated both the content and just the general writing of the book. Give our listeners some context and tell us a little bit about that personal journey.

David French: Yeah. When I got out of law school, I dedicated much of my legal practice to religious liberty, free speech work. I did so pretty, I did so consistently. I would protect people's free speech rights whether they agreed with me or disagreed with me, Republican, Democrat, didn't matter. But I was very much at that same time, a pretty partisan Republican, I would say an extremely partisan Republican. I would happily vote straight ticket, just walk into the voting booth, hit the button in Tennessee that allowed for straight ticket Republican voting, and walk right out with a smile on my face.

David French: I really was also quite what I would call anti-left. I always tried to treat the individuals on the left the way I would like to be treated and with dignity and civility, but I was very, very anti-left. I was so anti-left that I remember I was at a ... just to sort of tell a story on myself that I'm not proud of today ... I went to a Conservative conference shortly before I deployed to Iraq in 2007. I was an army JAG officer and I was deploying with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, but before I deployed, I was speaking at a Conservative conference. Someone asked me why in my civilian life as a reserve officer, why in my civilian life I was doing all of this work protecting religious freedom and pro-life legal work and then also going to Iraq. I gave this answer that was something like, "I believe the two great threats to America are radical jihadists abroad and radical leftists at home and I feel called to fight them both." Big applause, big cheers, you know.

David French: I go to Iraq and I go on a difficult deployment into Diyala province, which at that moment was just caught up in a Sunni-Shia civil war. We fought mainly Al Qaeda in Iraq, which was already transitioning into sort of its ISIS mode. I saw what a real enemy was, and I saw what real evil was, and it was horrifying. It was horrifying.

David French: Then I thought back to my life in the United States, where for all of my legal work against censorship on campus and things like that ... I lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I lived in Ithaca, New York, where Cornell is. My first year of my marriage was in Manhattan, living right in the beating heart of blue America. I had a good life and all of those places. To then even use them in the same sentence that I referred to jihadists, I felt ashamed of that.

David French: I came back with a rapidly evolving viewpoint about American political conflict. Then as soon as I get back to America, I'm realizing what political conflict in America is rapidly evolving. I began to see some of the same pathologies that I saw in the Iraqi civil war, not the same intensity, not that same violence, although we have seen increasing violence in the last few months, but the same kind of conflict where they're not fighting over ... although there are theological differences between Sunni and Shia, they weren't fighting over those. That's not what they're killing each other over. Their political differences, they weren't ultimately killing each other over those so much as they were killing each other over grievances. "The Shia killed my uncle," "The Sunni killed my nephew," and they had this list of grievances.

David French: I began to see that in the US, the left and the right now have lists of grievances against each other. On the right, for example, you'll often hear people say, "Well, I, wasn't going to vote for Trump, but Kavanaugh, the way they treated Kavanaugh, or Covington Catholic, or have you seen Antifa." On the left, you'll see, they'll say, "Have you seen these rise in hate crimes? Have you seen the proud boys? Have you seen the way in which Trump treats other people?"

David French: In many of these grievances, some of them are true, some of them are exaggerated, but many of them are based in real things that happen that make people angry. This sort of began my real close look at American polarization and where we're headed.

Scott Rae: Now, you make a whole host of very provocative statements in the book, but one of the ones at the beginning that really caught my attention is when you said the continued unity of the United States cannot be guaranteed.

David French: Right.

Scott Rae: Why not?

David French: Well, right after that, I say, I provide a short explanation that I amplify at book length, which is that there is no single, truly important cultural, religious, political, or social trend that is pulling Americans together more than it's pushing us apart. I walked through all of the ways in which we're separating. We're separating geographically, we're separating ideologically, we're separating religiously. Even our pop culture is deeply fragmented. We just don't watch the same things and the different things that we watch are often broken down along ideological lines. Most popular TV, there is no such thing really as the kind of television that we all watch anymore. It's highly segregated often by ideology.

David French: All of those things are just, we're watching them happen before our eyes and then what's overlaying on top of them is an immense amount of anger and enmity and hate and rage to the point where even the average Republican strongly dislikes the average Democrat.

David French: Then we're also beginning to see on the edges, this rise of something called lethal mass partisanship, where people attribute subhuman characteristics to their political opponents or believes that the world would be better off if some percentage of their political opponents just died.

David French: I just saw a poll yesterday that was relating to the QAnon conspiracy theory, which is this idea that Democrats and Hollywood elites are running a satanic pedophile child murder ring. Cleverly, rather than ask whether you believe in QAnon, which is a word that not a huge number of people know, they asked Republicans, "Do you believe that Democrats are running a child sex predator ring?" About 50% of Republicans said, yes, yes they are, which is ... on the one hand, it's amazing that people would believe that. On the other hand, when you see the polls are showing such inventory and hatred, when you hate somebody, you'll believe almost anything about them.

Scott Rae: Yeah, it seems that our discourse has shifted from groups that we disagree with, even passionately, to thinking that each other is evil and intends harm to the other.

David French: Yeah.

Scott Rae: You mentioned in the book too, and you spell this out at some length so give us a summary version of this, that there are two competing narratives that are really at the heart of where our polarization, where our disagreement is coming from. In 25 words or less, what are each of these narratives that are in conflict?

David French: Well, a narrative ... boy, I mean, let's do it in 25 words.

Scott Rae: No, I'm just kidding about that.

David French: Let's say a narrative on the right that godless baby killing leftists seek to destroy our liberty. I mean, that's a narrative sort of from the right. Then a narrative from when the left would be that racist, murderous, white supremacists are attempting to destroy our liberty. Essentially, what happens is you look at issues large and small. For example, the rise of the alt-right, if you're looking at what's happened on the right. So if you're on the left and you're looking at what's happening on the right, and you see the rise of the alt-right and the hurricane of racist, and some of conservative listeners will be shocked to hear that this stuff happened but it happened, but the rise of the alt-right and just the hurricane of racist attacks that descended upon anti-Trump public figures in 2015 and 2016. Just unlike anything that anyone has seen in modern journalism, just blatant, hideous, antisemitic, racist attacks that deluged people, public figures who criticized Trump in 2015, 2016.

David French: The rise of groups like the proud boys, the rise of conspiracy theories, like QAnon have led ... and then when you see things like the family separation policy, where news came today that there are still hundreds of kids that have not been reunited with their parents. So what has happened is people have looked at that and then the rapists comment from Trump about immigrants and Trump saying he didn't want a Mexican judge to rule on one of his ... the list goes on and on and on and on.

David French: If you're someone on the left, you're seeing this just fill your Twitter feed, filling your Facebook feed, it's filling late-night cable and you're saying, "My goodness, what kind of people, what kind of people are those over there on the right?" And on the right, people in the right are largely not aware of the alt-right. The rank and file conservative, they're largely ... they've been told by their media that, oh, the family separation policy is more complicated than you might know. They may not know about Q Anon, although increasing numbers of people, especially in the church are actually becoming a part of it. They also really truthfully don't know everything about Trump's character because the media that they listen to is in the mode of sort of defending Trump, not indicting Trump. This narrative that the left has, they just don't understand it at all.

David French: The left will talk about how all of this escalating rhetoric is leading to escalating violence, including mass murder in a Walmart, in El Paso, the shootings we've seen on the streets in the United States, the attack on a synagogue in Poway, California. People on the left are fully steeped in this narrative, but then people on the right have their own narrative and the people on the right say, "Well, you're trying to destroy our religious schools. You have protected an abortion on demand regime. You have Antifa anarchists who are burning city blocks." And if you want to talk about violence, you have this guy who tried to kill a significant number of the Republican congressional delegation.

David French: People on the left will hear that and say, "Wait, hold on. You're highlighting extremists," and then people on the right will turn around and say to the left, "Hold on, you're highlighting extremists." But each side has that narrative and those narratives are rooted in things that have actually happened. The alt-right has happened, the massacre in Wal-Mart happened, the attempted massacre on the baseball field by the Bernie Sanders supporter happened, the awful attacks on the Covington Catholic kids happened. These terrible things have happened and so they give each side something to latch onto. That wasn't 25 words.

Scott Rae: I understand, but I think that's helpful to spell that out because it sounds like there are, what these narratives have in common is they're highlighting the extremes and have some justifiable but also some irrational fears of what the other side might bring.

David French: Right. They highlight actual real events. The alt-right is real, QAnon is real. Then on the right, highlighting, I mean, there are a large number of people in the Democratic Party who support abortion on demand up till birth. That's real. The attack on the Republicans and Congress is real. The mistreatment of the Covington Catholic kids is real. A lot of these things are very real things and some of them are significant, some of them are fringe, but all of them work together to create a real sense that, "Those people are coming after me."

Scott Rae: Now, David, I think one of the most provocative parts of the book was when you laid out the parallels between the divisions in the country around the time preceding the Civil War and the divisions that exist in the country today. You make a pretty strong case that there are some compelling comparisons between those two times. Tell us a little bit about that and what are the implications of that?

David French: This is another thing that really made me grow more concerned about the future of our country is that unlike other super contentious times in recent American political life, like say 1968, there was more political violence than we have now, you were beginning to see some things happen that were very similar to what happened in 1861 and for 1776, for that matter, when the colonists seceded from the British empire. And that was you have large, geographically contiguous areas of the United States that are culturally distinct and believe that their culture is under threat. Okay? Those are three very important ingredients, geographically contiguous, culturally distinct, and believe that their culture is under threat.

David French: For example, the entire West Coast of the US is super majority blue. The vast majority of the Southeast and running up into much of the upper Midwest is super majority red. The Northeast is super majority blue. Along those lines, there are cultural and religious distinctions and distinctives that follow along those geographic lines, including that, in the West Coast is much less religious. The Northeast is much less religious, the Southeast and much of the Midwest are much more religious. You've got a political difference, you've got a religious difference, you've got just basic cultural differences in the way that people interact with each other. From manners of speech to sort of, you know, the things that people eat and drink and drive and watch, they're becoming quite distinct. Then there's this real fear that the other side will not just their policies, not just, "Oh, your tax rates will be more or less," but their culture.

David French: The one thing that I say that is missing so far that really help trigger everything in 1776 and 1861 is in 1861, you had geographically contiguous, culturally distinct South that believed that slave culture was under threat and then it began to fear violence. It began to fear that it was under violent threat, and that really ticked off or kicked off the wave of secession. That was like the match that lit the kindling. My argument is we have a lot of the kindling. We don't have the match yet, but people are trying to strike it.

Scott Rae: Let's go back to the things that each side is afraid of from the other. Some of the fears you obviously hold are exaggerated.

David French: Yeah.

Scott Rae: But are there legitimate things that the right fears from the left and vice versa, in your view?

David French: Sure. I think that what you have, both directed towards the right and the left, are problems and things that people should be concerned about, but have been stoked and stoked and stoked to the point of sometimes almost a raw fear. For example, the left, they're ... I'm not going to say all of the left, but many people on the left do want to limit religious liberty in this country. They do. That's a goal. Now there are many barriers to them accomplishing that goal and they don't want to eliminate the First Amendment entirely, which some people would argue, but they want to limit religious liberty. That's real and that's a problem. Moving on the right, many folks on the left would say, "Hey, wait a minute. People on the right want to limit protections from discrimination," and they're right. Many people on the right do want to limit protections from workplace discrimination, for example, that LGBTQ people experience. They do want to do that. Or people on the right they don't want some of the things that I want that I think are vitally important for my health and wellbeing, like say single payer health care or protection for preexisting conditions, et cetera, et cetera.

David French: There are things that are, from the perspective of someone who's on the right or from the perspective of someone who's on the left, are real and genuine differences. They are, they're differences. As somebody who's been a civil libertarian my entire adult life, I do try to protect the boundaries of free speech and I do try to protect religious liberty. I have tried to protect life my entire legal career, but what are problems that would be an incremental move this direction or an incremental move that direction are often exaggerated by partisans into crises. That instead of a problem for the First Amendment, what we would have is the eradication of the First Amendment, which is not in the cards.

Scott Rae: Now, one of the things you described that is making things worse is what you call the law of group polarization. There are other, a couple other technical terms in that, the Overton window and pre-deliberation bias. Those all sort of fit together in terms of things that are making us more polarized. What do you mean by each of those and how does that contribute to the polarization?

David French: Well, the law of group polarization is a super important concept for people to learn. It comes from a scholar named Cass Sunstein, comes from, I believe in 1999 paper of his. What it says is that when people who are of like mind gather, they grow more extreme. This is very important because one of the things I outlined in the book is that we're in the middle of something called a big sort, where Americans are increasingly living around people of like mind. You are less likely live around people who disagree with you right now than anytime since we've really been trying to intentionally measure that statistic. It creates group think, and that group think creates extremism. Look at it like this. If you belong to a group that's trying to oppose gun control and you gather for dinner, and there's say six, seven, eight of you at the table and you're talking about gun rights, you're going to get up from the table more convinced that you were right than when you sat down. How many people go to a Bible study, a good Bible study, and end up walk out the door loving Jesus less?

David French: It tends to really encourage you and encourage your beliefs. Here's something that's really remarkable that Sunstein found. He found, in some instances, that a group could sit down or a group could engage in deliberation, you know, conversation, discussion, and by the end of the deliberation, be more extreme, the whole group more extreme than the most extreme person at the start of the deliberation.

David French: So what we have seen in this country is like minded communities gathering and growing more entrenched and more extreme in their views. It's not the case as much anymore that America got a huge, big middle with very small edges. It's all flattening out. We have big extremes now, very big extremes. It's also the case that as you grow more extreme, you grow less tolerant of other people's speech. This goes to this concept of an Overton window. An Overton window is a shorthand term for the bounds of acceptable discourse.

Scott Rae: Certain things you can and can't say.

David French: You can and cannot say. Yeah, exactly. We used to think of our country as having one Overton window. That Overton window shifts and moves. Sometimes it moves in good ways. For example, it used to be okay to say racial epithets, and now the Overton window has moved, thankfully, to where that's utterly out of bounds. And I'm glad, we should be glad. There are things that one should not say. I'm not saying there are things that should be censored by the government, but I'm saying there things that one should not say.

Scott Rae: That are immoral to say.

David French: That are immoral to say and we shouldn't say them. We shouldn't think of the Overton window moving one way or the other is necessarily always bad. But what's happening is I'm saying is that we are now moving from one Overton window to, on two key issues, two Overton windows. If you engage in speech outside that window with your in group, you're part of the out group. That's what cancel culture essentially has become.

Scott Rae: So there's one Overton window on the coasts and another one in the South and the Midwest, essentially.

David French: Yes, exactly. For example, let's just take an issue like gun rights. If you're sitting in the middle of San Francisco and everyone's sort of talking about gun rights and they're talking about gun control, and you say, "You know, I'm thinking about buying an AR-15." You're out, you're out of the Overton window. That's just out of bounds, that's not what people do. If you're in, let's say you're in rural Tennessee and you're sitting around and everyone's talking about gun rights and they're talking about their AR-15s, and someone says, "I don't think you should have that." You're out, you're out of the Overton window.

David French: We can go through other sort of hot button issues, but there are things then with these two Overton windows that essentially, when you speak outside of them, you're instantly cast as a suspicious, as part of, you're not in the in group anymore. They might not actually cancel you but you're susceptible, you're vulnerable to cancellation.

Scott Rae: Now David, you maintain throughout the book that there is a solution to this.

David French: Yeah.

Scott Rae: You use terms that I think, I suspect a lot of our listeners are not super familiar with unless they have a great recollection of their high school civics course, but things like you advocate a return to federalism.

David French: Right.

Scott Rae: And you advocate a return, I think, to an older version of tolerance than as compared to what exists today. What do you mean by federalism first, and then what's the difference in the notions of tolerance that existed, say 200 years ago and are popular today?

David French: First, federalism. Federalism is a sort of a constitutional term of art that means a state ... not necessarily state sovereignty, but increasingly state authority. In other words, it moves power. A federalist structure, devolves power from the federal government to the states. So it's kind of weird to call it a federalist structure when you're moving power from the federal government, but it's increased state control. Maybe a better way of saying it is localism, because I'm in favor, not just of increased state control but increased municipal control, increased control by your town or the county that you live in. The entire goal is to deescalate national politics and grant greater ability and greater self-governance to American citizens.

David French: The reason for this is pretty simple. As the federal government is become more powerful, your state and local governments have become less consequential, but the federal government has become also increasingly deadlocked. Also, many of us live in states where we don't even cast ever a meaningful vote for a federal office.

David French: I was just talking to some folks last night and I said, "You know, I just realized the other day that I'm 51 years old, I've voted in every presidential election since 1988, and not one of them, not one of them has my vote mattered one bit." I have been either in a deep red or a deep blue state and never in a swing state. So I've never had meaningful input on who the most powerful man in the world is. That's sad. That's kind of sad. Whereas, and with the increasing gridlock in Congress, combined with increasing power in the judiciary, it often means that we never have meaningful impact on the most powerful branches of government.

David French: I think that that creates an enormous amount of frustration, it makes the government unresponsive to the needs of the citizens, and it doesn't have to be that way. We were designed from the ground up to have a lot of state authority. In fact, 80% of us, almost 80% of us now live in states where one party has total control. They control the government, the governor, the upper house and the lower house legislature. So in theory, in a more federalist America, you would have states adopting policies that met the needs and the desires of a super majority of their citizens as a matter of routine. But as of right now, while states have some authority, they're quite limited in what they can do and accomplish, in large part because of fiscal realities, because the federal government has the mighty power of the purse beyond anything that states can exercise. I think we need to deescalate national politics.

David French: As far as tolerance goes, tolerance is a really misunderstood term. Tolerance has almost become sort of like a shorthand for intolerance, but I refer in the book to a formulation by a guy who writes pseudonymously under the name Scott Alexander. He's a great writer. He lives in a blue area and he says we need to think about the real meaning of tolerance. He'll talk to his progressive friends and he'll say, "Are you a tolerant person?" They'll say, "Well, of course, I'm intolerant person. I love and accept every person regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, et cetera, et cetera." He'll say, "What's wrong with them?" They'll say, "What do you mean what's wrong with them?" Then Scott says, "What are you tolerating then?" Because tolerance indicates that there's something to tolerate, that there's something about you that bothers me, that I disagree with, that I dislike. And yet, in spite of that disagreement, in spite of that thing that I dislike, we're still part of the same community.

Scott Rae: Now, as I read the conclusion of the book, I'd say you are guardedly optimistic about ... with an emphasis on guardedly ... about a return to federalism. Tell us about what gives you hope that the polarization can be diminished by this return to federalism?

David French: It has to be a combination. There is no kumbaya in this book. There is no sort of like, we're all going to start loving each other in this book. But I think that ...

Scott Rae: I think nobody would accuse you of being a naive optimist.

David French: No, no. I prefer the term joyful cynic, but the ... so essentially, what I say is if, if we can re-understand tolerance, and not this sort of, pie in the sky, we're going to all love each other definition, but this, "Hey, look, we have profound disagreement, but we're in this together," kind of tolerance, then we can open the door towards greater self-governance and autonomy. Let California be California. Let Tennessee be Tennessee. I know for some California conservatives hearing the words, "Let California be California," sends a shutter, but come on over to Tennessee, the water's fine, but let California be California, let Tennessee be Tennessee, that's going to be a formula, if adopted. It requires tolerance. It requires both parties to stop using federalism as a tactic rather than adopting federalism as a principle.

David French: I talk about how both parties have stomped on federalism in the last two presidencies, but if you have a modern modicum of tolerance and you allow people who disagree with you to create communities that reflect their values so long as they allow you to create a community that reflects your values, we've got a way through this mess.

David French: But both of those things are far from assured. There is a hope that I don't really explore too much in the book because it's not so much, it's more of a hope than a plan, and that is the hope is that this gets all so miserable that people just sort of, before catastrophe happens, people say, "Enough. Enough. We can't keep living like this. We can't keep hating each other because this hatred is miserable. This culture is miserable." A lot of times we will, as American people, we will move away from misery. The question is how much damage will we do to ourselves and to our nation before we move away from it?

Scott Rae: Yeah, especially given the ... the other option that you point out is actually secession.

David French: Right.

Scott Rae: Which you give some really, I think scary but I think with tinges of reality in them, possible scenarios in the book. I'll leave that to the readers on their own when they get the book. One final question on this, David. What is your message to the church amidst all of this polarization?

David French: Yeah. The message to the church is that we have to, and this is something I've been, when I speak at Christian campuses, I say this all the time, we have to shed the partisan mind. Now, what do I mean by that? I do not mean that you don't vote. I do not mean that if you're a Christian, you don't run for office or register as Republican or Democrat, but you can not be captive to what I call the partisan mind. The partisan mind is a mind that essentially views yourself, places your identity in your partisanship. A lot of people say, "Oh, no, I don't do that." Oh yes, you do. Lots of us do. A good way of telling you if you do is do you rationalize and excuse behavior on your own side that you condemn on the other side? If the answer to that is yes, I got news for you. You've got a problem. You've got a partisan problem.

David French: What we have to do though instead is we have to think transcendently and biblically, and not be captured by the partisan pettiness of the moment. What does that mean? A lot of Christians have a good understanding that they have certain policy objectives such as defending life, defending religious liberty. Although a lot of times you can sort of tell who's the Republican Christian by their ... their policy objectives are often life and religious liberty. End of conversation. Then you'll have more left leaning Christians who'll say, well, it's racial justice and welcoming refugees and immigrants, and not so much about life and not so much about religious liberty. That's sometimes how you can tell the partisan differences. But what I would say is we as Christians though, have to be characterized by a distinctive way in which we interact with the political culture. A distinctive way. It's not just, "Here are my positions," because if it's just, "Here are my positions," you're just an interest group. You're like, "Okay, at 12 o'clock, Mr. President, at 12 o'clock, we have the oil and shale gas association, and they're going to talk to you about fracking. Then at one o'clock we have the National Council Of Evangelical Conservatives," I just made that group up, "and they're going to talk to you about religious liberty," and you just sort of have this where you just tech check off these issues.

David French: Instead, Christians should be characterized by the obligations. There are two verses I talk about in the book. One is God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power and love and of sound mind. Christian should not interact with the political culture from a position of fear, and a lot do.

David French: The other one is, and this is tough. Micah 6:8. "What does the Lord require of you, o man? What is good? It is to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with the Lord your God." A lot of us have it down that our involvement with politics is to act justly and whatever, the issue that we peg as the key issue, we're all over it. But we forget these are interlocking obligations. To love, mercy, and to walk humbly, is that the way in which Christian engagement in politics is characterized? I would say no. I would say no. I would say that Christians are more characterized by being partisan pugilists for their side, for their issues, and so long as they take care of their issues, they thought that they are thinking biblically and it's a matter not just of ends, but also of means.

Scott Rae: I think sometimes we forget that neither political party platform was written with biblical faithfulness in mind.

David French: Correct.

Scott Rae: So they're both going to be mixed bags and the church is called to transcend that in its prophetic role. I fear that when we get captive to the partisan mind, the gospel is what gets lost.

David French: Yes. Look, America is increasingly secular, so the idea that in an increasingly secular America, the party platforms, either one of them are going to be biblical documents? No. So you're going to feel homeless, and to some extent. You might say, "Okay, on balance, one party or the other for now better reflects my values," but the core of it, you're going to feel pretty homeless.

David French: I talk to a lot of young evangelicals who are just in despair about politics, just in despair. I remember talking to some folks, running up to an aftermath of 2016 and they say, "I'm pro-life, I'm pro religious liberty. I'm also pro immigrant and seek racial justice. Which party is for me?" Which one? Which one? And so that's ... I wrote recently a piece about we need to embrace the blessing of political homelessness. See it not as a disadvantage but as a liberating reality, one that allows us to work across ideological lines, to advance biblical justice, that neither party in its totality of its positions, advances.

Scott Rae: Something like exiles on mission.

David French: Yeah. Right, right.

Scott Rae: Something like that. Well, David, this has been very insightful. I really appreciate your writing the book.

David French: Thank you.

Scott Rae: I commend the book to our listeners, Divided We Fall: America's Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation. Very insightful stuff. It's a great read and I highly recommend it. We'll have a link to it when we post the podcast.

Scott Rae: David, thank you so much for being with us. This has been a delightful conversation.

David French: Well, I really appreciate it. I've enjoyed it. Thank you.

Scott Rae: This has been an episode of the podcast, Think Biblically: Conversations on Faith and Culture. To learn more about us and to find more episodes, go to That's

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