Brad Onishi

About Brad Onishi

Brad Onishi received graduate degrees from UCSB, Oxford University, and L’institut catholique de Paris. As a scholar of religion, he teaches and researches Christian nationalism, the history of Evangelicalism, race and racism in American religion, gender, sex, masculinity, and secularism and secularity. He has taught at UCSB, the Graduate Theological Union at UC Berkeley, Rhodes College, Skidmore College, Central Michigan University, Cal Lutheran University, and the University of San Francisco (current). 

After growing up in a non-religious home in Southern California, Brad converted to evangelicalism at a megachurch in his hometown at age fourteen. His conversion was extreme. By twenty, he was married and in charge of a two-hundred-student youth group. After serving seven years in ministry, he decided to pursue a master’s in theology at Oxford. Soon after arriving in Oxford, he deconstructed his faith and began to study religion historically and philosophically. 

In 2018 he started the Straight White American Jesus podcast with his former Oxford colleague Dan Miller. SWAJ is a religion and politics podcast that focuses on Christian nationalism in the United States. Both Dan and Brad are former insiders within the movement, and so they share their lived experiences on topics such as gender, race, sex, nationalism, and so on. As scholars of religion, they have the training and tools to add layers to these experiences and to interview scholars and journalists who provide a critical lens to some of the most pressing issues of our day. 

Brad’s next book, Preparing for War: The Extremist History of White Christian Nationalism–And What Comes Next, will appear in January 2023. Using vignettes from his own life as a Christian nationalist, Brad unpacks the religious history that led us to the January 6 Insurrection – and charts a map of what will come next from the marriage of Christian nationalism and MAGA Nation. 

Brad currently lives in the Bay Area of California with his wife and daughter. He is an avid surfer and hiker. When he’s not outside, he’s usually on the couch with a French novel or watching the Lakers.