Religion and Politics Image - FINAL, cropped

Thursday, November 6, 2014

8:30 am - 8:30 pm

Southern Methodist University

Featured Speakers

Lecture Series

Religion and politics are the two subjects we are not supposed to talk about. 

And yet, these two subjects have infiltrated every sliver of American history and society.  21st-century America is no exception to this rule.  In fact, the new century has brought new points of contact between religion and politics into focus.

Together with the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis, the SMU Center for Presidential History is sponsoring this conference, and its ensuing book with Oxford University Press.  This all-day event is free and open to the public, and will occur in two parts:

CONFERENCE, 8:30m-3:45pm

The daytime conference will feature four panels, and more than a dozen of today’s top scholars on the roles of religion in American history.  In each presentation, our guests will explore a 21st-century issue in religion and politics, and then reach back into American History to provide context and explanation for the issue at hand    The panels will be:

Panel 1: Faith and Modern Politics

  • The Founding Fathers in Modern America – Kate Carte Engel (SMU)
  • Crude Awakenings in the Age of Oil – Darren Dochuk (Danforth Center, Washington U.)
  • Never-Ending Mormon Moments – J. Spencer Fluhman (Brigham Young)
  • Religion and the ‘Outsider’ Candidates – Charles Irons (Elon)


Panel 2: Religion and Social Issues

  • In the Bowels of a Free & Christian Country – Edward Blum (San Diego State)
  • Barack Hussein Obama: The First Muslim President? – Rebecca Goetz (NYU)
  • Immigrant Sanctuaries and Divine Borders – Arlene Sanchez-Walsh (Azusa Pacific)
  • The Blessings of American Pluralism – Kevin Schultz (U. Illinois-Chicago)


Panel 3: Religion and Policy

  • Teaching about Religion in Red State America – Mark Chancey (SMU)
  • The Welfare of Faith – Allison Collis Greene (Mississippi State)
  • Orchestrating Death from the Oval Office – Jennifer Graber (UT-Austin)
  • Faith in the Foreign Policy of Barack Obama – Andrew Preston (Cambridge)


Panel 4: Transitions in Politics and American Religion

  • The Resurrection of African-American Conservatives – Anthea Butler (UPenn)
  • The Rise of the ‘Nones’ – Matthew Hedstrom (Virginia)
  • Prepping for Doomsday – Matthew Avery Sutton (Washington State)
  • The End of the Evangelical Age – Steven P. Miller (Independent Scholar)



One would be hard-pressed to find a better person than John C. Danforth to deliver the keynote presentation for a conference on 21st-century religion and politics.  Danforth is an ordained Episcopal priest, and served formerly as Ambassador to the United Nations,  special envoy to Sudan, U.S. Senator from Missouri, and Attorney General of Missouri.  He is also the author two books (one forthcoming) on religion and politics in America, including Faith and Politics: How the “Moral Values” Debate Divides America and How to Move Forward Together.

This event is part of an ongoing series, the Danforth Distinguished Lectures, sponsored by the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics.