Episode 6: Abolishing Prisons with Vincent Lloyd

In this episode, Matt and Dean talk with Vincent Lloyd [there are a ton of very good articles at that hyperlink by the way], Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University, about the Black Panthers, Huey P. Newton, prisons, and more. We looked at two of Vincent’s articles in particular:

Theology and Real Politics: On Huey P. Newton” and “Mass Incarceration Is Religion (and So Is Abolition): A Provocation.”


  • Expanding our idea of what passes for “religion” and “secularism.”
  • Huey P. Newton as Christ figure.
  • The Black Panther Party as a religious movement.
  • A link between neoliberalism and religion as an “individual choice.”
  • “Negative political theology.” (🔥🔥🔥)
  • The problem of violence comes up again.
    • (There’s a spectre haunting The Magnificast–the spectre of Derek R. Ford.)
  • Love in/is the Party.
  • Augustinian radicalism?
  • Secularism, justice, and mass incarceration–how did a loss of religious imagination lead to “law and order” politics?
  • Retrieving and repurposing American religious culture for prison abolition.
  • “Abolition spirit.”
  • How can we make mass incarceration an understandable and actionable issue for people?
  • Alternatives to incarceration are real.
    • We don’t even talk about theism or atheism in this episode.

“Today, we invite our comrades on the secular left to provincialize their secularism, just as we invite our religious sisters and brothers to transcend their reformism. We are not calling for abolition theology—whether you believe in God or don’t believe in God isn’t to us the important thing. We are calling for, rather, religion. In an expansive, critical, and practical sense, religion must be woven into the growing prison abolition movement. In righteous struggle, as spiritual revival, let us conjure together the spirit of abolitionism, and let us tumble the prison walls down.”

–Vincent Lloyd and Josh Dubler



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