Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Portland Seminary of George Fox University
Website URL
twentieth century, nineteenth century, religion and pop culture history, celebrity culture and American history, Pentecostal history, religion and politics, televangelism, gender history, women and American religion, Paula White, Aimee Semple McPherson
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Leah Payne (PhD, Vanderbilt University) is associate professor of Theological Studies at George Fox University and Portland Seminary. She is also a senior fellow at the Louisville Institute.

Her forthcoming book on Oxford University Press, The Rise and Fall of Contemporary Christian Music, explores how Contemporary Christian music shaped American evangelical theology and politics. Her first book, Gender and Pentecostal Revivalism: Making a Female Ministry in the Early Twentieth Century (Palgrave, 2015), won the 2016 Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies Book Award.

Payne’s work analyzing religion and popular culture has appeared in The Washington Post, Religion News Service, and Christianity Today. She is also co-host of Weird Religion, a podcast about religion and popular culture.

Recent Publications


“President Trump’s Hidden Religious Base: Pentecostal-Charismatic Celebrities,” co-authored with Erica Ramirez, Religion News Service, August, 2020.

“Paula White-Cain’s Evangelical Support Squad Isn’t as Surprising as It Seems,” co- authored with Aaron Griffith, Christianity Today, October, 2019.

“Why Foursquare’s Female Leaders Have It Harder Today: The Pentecostal denomination was founded by a woman nearly a century ago, but it has failed to elect another female president since,” Christianity Today, May, 2019.

“The Christian Conspiracies that Keep Evangelicals on Trump’s Side,” co-authored with Brian Doak, The Washington Post, October, 2018.

Wild Wild Country Hits Close to Home,” Christianity Today, May, 2018.

“The Christian Sect that Has Always Cheered on Donald Trump,” co-authored with Erica Ramirez, The Washington Post, March 21, 2018.


“Kim Davis and Paula White: Pentecostal Women and Attire,” in Marie Dallam and Benjamin Zeller (eds.), Religion, Attire, and Adornment in North America. Columbia University Press, 2020.

“Bobs and the ‘Character of Our Citizenship’: Early Pentecostals, Women, and Public Life in the United States of America,” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, forthcoming.

Gender and Pentecostal Revivalism: Making a Female Ministry in the Early Twentieth Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

Media Coverage
Politics & Pentecostalism; Politics & evangelicalism; Gender and American religion
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
North America
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, 20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
Family, Gender, Material Culture, Politics, Technology, Women