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Meet the Author and NPR Correspondent

April 12, 2024
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Sarah McCammon | The EXvangelicals: Loving, Living, and Leaving the White Evangelical Church

@ Beaverdale Books

“An intimate window into the world of American evangelicalism. Fellow exvangelicals will find McCammon’s story both startlingly familiar and immensely clarifying, while those looking in from the outside can find no better introduction to the subculture that  has shaped the hopes and fears of millions of Americans.”
—Kristin Kobes Du Mez, New York Times bestselling author of Jesus and John Wayne

In The EXvangelicals: Loving, Living, and Leaving the White Evangelical Church, Sarah McCammon, a National Political Correspondent for NPR, presents the first definitive book that names the massive social movement of people leaving the church: the exvangelicals. Blending memoir with investigative journalism, McCammon shares her own experience growing up as an evangelical and combines it with an incisive examination of the cultural and political power the Christian Right wields in America. Throughout, she presents the deeply personal stories of others navigating their way out of not just a religion, but a way of life.

Raised 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, and that she, too, would go to hell if she did not believe fervently enough, 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.

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 the evangelical Christian beliefs held on the political right.  McCammon also came to discover that she was not alone: she is among a rising generation of the children of evangelicalism who are growing up and fleeing the fold, who are thinking for themselves and deconstructing what feel like the “alternative facts” of their childhood. Rigorously reported and movingly told, The EXvangelicals is the story of the people who make up this generational tipping point, including Sarah herself. At a time when white American Christianity is experiencing a precipitous decline, McCammon’s book is a must-read to understand this unique moment in American history.

ORDER: Available NOW

About the Author

Sarah McCammon is a National Political Correspondent for NPR and cohost of The NPR Politics Podcast. Her work focuses on political, social and cultural divides in America, including the intersections of politics and religion, reproductive rights, and the  conservative movement. She is also a frequent guest host for NPR news magazines, and has appeared on the BBC, CNN, PBS, and MSNBC. During the 2016 election cycle, Sarah was NPR’s lead political reporter assigned to the Donald Trump campaign and previously reported for NPR Member stations in Georgia, Iowa and Nebraska. She lives in Norfolk, Virginia with her husband and two children.


This program will be moderated by Sarah Trone Garriott, Coordinator of Interfaith Engagement for the Des Moines Area Religious Council.  An ordained Lutheran Minister (ELCA), she also serves as State Senator for Waukee, Adel, Van Meter, and the Dallas County portions of West Des Moines and Clive.

The program is hosted by The Comparison Project at Drake University.

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