Jeff Sharlet

Jeff Sharlet is a founding editor of Killing the Buddha, coauthor with Peter Manseau of Killing the Buddha: A Heretic's Bible (2004) and co-editor of Believer, Beware (2009). Sharlet is also the author of Sweet Heaven When I Die, (2011), C Street, (2010), and the New York Times bestseller The Family (2008).

Recent Posts by Jeff

Killing the Buddha

Whose Ink? Our Ink!

The question of who counts as the “religious left”—leave aside the matter of why we’re counting—is one that has vexed a great many journalists, leftists, and centrists of late. Daniel Schultz, aka “Pastor Dan,” has the latest if not the last word on Religion Dispatches, responding to a post by U.S. World and News‘ Dan…

Killing the Buddha

Eliade’s Bacon

The night before the National Media Prayer Breakfast, I checked into a hotel by the airport and settled down with a book I’d bought the previous day at a used bookstore in Salem, Oregon. It was The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion: The Significance of Religious Myth, Symbolism, and Ritual Within Life…

Killing the Buddha

“They exploited in us what is great about us”

I’ve been getting a lot of reader mail since my book, The Family, hit the bestseller lists this summer. Most of it is simple, some of it is thoughtful, and a few missives have been menacing. But my favorite responses, by far, are those like this one, which just came in tonight via Killing the…

Killing the Buddha

The End of the Atheists’ Road

GOP presidential musing is turning toward Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana. Given the C Street affiliation of two now-former contenders, Senator John Ensign and G Order Cheap Cialis overnor Mark Sanford, I thought it worth a google to check Daniels out. Is he a C Streeter? I don’t know. Is he confused about First Amendment…

Killing the Buddha

Baby Stealers

Buddha killer Kathryn Joyce presents a chilling story in this week’s Nation: “Shotgun Adoption,” an investigation of the use of anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy centers” to coerce unmarried pregnant women into giving their children to wealthier Christian couples. And it’s even creepier than that — maintain CPCs, as they’re called, maintain luxurious pregnancy homes for the…

Killing the Buddha

“Real Time With Bill Maher,” Tonight

I’ll be talking about my book The Family tonight on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher.” One of the other guests is MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who through her seven invitations to me to appear on her program has almost single-handedly turned my sleepy paperback sales into bestselling numbers — #16 on this week’s NYT list,…

Killing the Buddha

Euthanizing Health Care

KtBnik Ann Neumann makes her debut at our far-more-serious sister site — sisters in the general universal fellowship of religion sites, not in any financial or institutional way — Religion Dispatches, with the question, “Will Euthanasia Kill Health Care?” I was under the impression that it was this gang of the six most soulless people…

Killing the Buddha

Silly Beliefs

Gunther Dawn writes: In the otherwise brilliant introduction to Believer Beware, Jeff Sharlet glibly overstuffs the following Straw Man of false equivalence: “It is not enough for the new atheists to simply not believe; what matters is making sure that you don’t believe. They are evangelists; and like evangelicalism itself—a faith built around the Great…

Killing the Buddha

Card Check Religion

In light of the news that Senator Mark Pryor (D, Wal Mart), played the central role in killing the #1 piece of progressive legislation — scrap that, the #1 piece of legislation, left or right, with real potential to turn the American economy around — it’s worth revisiting the role religion — at least, as…

Jesus Plus Nothing, Minus Somalia

How Christian fundamentalism helped turn Somalia into the next staging ground for Islamic radicalism.

Killing the Buddha

Ensign’s “Christian Mafia”

More news from the Senator John Ensign / Family scandal: Turns out Ensign, lacking the fortitude to fire his mistress/employee, had the Family do it for him. The Family likes to call themselves “the Christian Mafia”; in this case, they acted like Sen. Ensign’s consigliere. Read an excerpt from my book, The Family, in Mother…

Killing the Buddha

The Dude’s Prayer

I’ve been doing a lot of local radio shows around the country in support of the paperback edition of my book, The Family. This morning I was a guest on a program down south that maybe didn’t go so well. The host asked, “Do you have a website you want to us know about?” And…


King David as a model for present-day political power. An excerpt from The Family.

Killing the Buddha

30 Seconds of Book Criticism: Inside the Kingdom

Publishers send me books to consider for review, but I rarely end up writing about even those that interest me. So, after culling the trash and the irrelevant and the brilliant-but-not-compelling-to-me volumes and dispatching them to the Monroe County Public Library, Honeoye Falls branch, I stack up the rest. The stack grows, until it teeters;…

Killing the Buddha

CNN’s Demonic Attack

Since I first wrote about Washington’s most exclusive religious club, The Family, and its prayer breakfast movement, I’ve often been scolded by political centrists who insist that the National Prayer Breakfast and its spin-off events are mild-mannered, ecumenical affairs, far removed from the fundamentalism of the fringe. There are countless counter-examples, but here’s one that…

Killing the Buddha

Counting Sins

JoAnn Wypijewski distills in one sentence what has been bothering me about the liberal response to Mark Sanford’s love troubles: “Christians thunder; liberals sneer, but it amounts to the same thing, counting sins.” Read the rest of JoAnn’s Nation column, “Carnal Knowledge,” for the most thoughtful response to the whole affair and what it reveals…

Killing the Buddha


I join Chris Hedges and General Brent Scowcroft as a talking head for Al Jazeera’s new documentary news program, Faultlines, about religion in the military. I was invited to be on the show because of my recent Harper’s story on the subject, “Jesus Killed Mohammed,” in which I write about the growth of a militant…

Killing the Buddha

Jeff Sharlet’s The Family

I imagine the site will get some traffic today from fans of NPR’s “Fresh Air,” on which I’m a guest on today’s program to discuss my book