One year before the 2012 election, the role of religion in our public life is already a hot topic in the presidential race. The idea that America is, or should be, a “Christian nation” is taught by Religious Right figures such as “historian” David Barton. Prominent Religious Right advocates, including some closely associated with presidential candidates Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich, insist that law and government must be run according to their interpretations of the Bible. This includes declaring a religious basis for far-right approaches to government and economics and demanding public policies that undermine constitutional principles like church-state separation and equality under the law. Some have even claimed that only Christians, not members of minority faiths, were meant by the founding fathers to be protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
What do “Christian Nation” advocates get wrong about American history and the role of religion in public life, and what are the implications of their policy demands? Join us for a conversation with scholars on religion, history and the Constitution.
What: America as a ‘Christian Nation’ -- Truth and Consequences
A conversation with experts on religion, history, law and the Constitution
When: November 8, 2011
9:30 -- 11:00 a.m.
Where: National Press Club
RSVP: Justin Greenberg
(202) 467-4999/ firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr. John Ragosta is the author of Wellspring of Liberty: How Virginia’s Religious Dissenters Helped Win the American Revolution and Secured Religious Liberty (Oxford University Press, 2010).
- Jamie Raskin, Director of the Law and Government Program, American University’s Washington College of Law, is a Maryland State Senator and a People For the American Way Foundation Senior Fellow.
- Dr. Julie Ingersoll, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Florida, is author of Evangelical Christian Women: War Stories in the Gender Battles and is writing a book on the influence of Christian Reconstructionism. She is a regular contributor at Religion Dispatches.
- Rev. Dr. John Kinney is Dean of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University and the immediate past president of the Association of Theological School. He has served as the pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Beaverdam, Virginia for over 30 years.
- The conversation will be moderated by People For the American Way Foundation Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery.