Religion and the Public Square with Alan Wolfe, The Rev. Jim Wallis, Nancy Gibbs, Reza Aslan and Rabbi Irwin Kula speaking at the 2007 Aspen Ideas Festival. Jon Meacham moderates the panel.
In this, its third year, Aspen Ideas Festival once again gathers scientists, artists, politicians, historians, educators, activists, and other great thinkers around some of the most important and fascinating ideas of our time. As these thinkers present their provocative ideas, they engage a sophisticated and highly motivated audience.
Reza Aslan is a writer and scholar of religions.
Born in Iran, Aslan is currently a research associate at the University of Southern California's Center on Public Diplomacy. He was a visiting assistant professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Iowa and the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction at the Iowa Writer's Workshop.
A frequent commentator on television, radio, and in print, Aslan is a graduate of Santa Clara University, Harvard University, and the University of Iowa. He is the author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam and How to Win a Cosmic War: Why We're Losing the War on Terror.
Nancy Gibbs is TIME’s deputy managing editor, the No. 2 editorial position at the magazine. Named by the Chicago Tribune as one of the 10 best magazine writers in the country, she is the author of more than 150 TIME cover articles. Her story for the black-bordered special issue on September 11, 2001, won the National Magazine Award, and she was the lead TIME writer on virtually every major news event, from Oklahoma City to Hurricane Katrina, as well as the past five presidential campaigns.
She is the co-author, with TIME’s Michael Duffy, of the New York Times best-selling book The Presidents Club, which was published in April 2012 by Simon & Schuster. The two editors also co-authored The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House (Center Street, 2007). After the 2008 election, Politico.com described Gibbs as “the poet laureate of Presidents.”
Ms. Gibbs graduated from Yale summa cum laude, with honors in history, and has a degree in politics and philosophy from Oxford, where she was a Marshall scholar. Her writing is included in The Princeton Anthology of Writing, Best Political Writing 2005 and numerous writing textbooks. She has twice served as the Ferris Professor at Princeton, where she taught a seminar on politics and the press.
Ms. Gibbs lives in Westchester County, New York, with her husband and two daughters.
Rabbi Irwin Kula
Irwin Kula is the president of CLAL - The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. Author of Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life (2006), which won a "Books for a Better Life Award," Rabbi Kula was featured in the public TV special, "The Hidden Wisdom of Our Yearnings."
Named by both Fast Company magazine and Religion and Ethics Newsweekly (PBS) as one of the new leaders shaping the American spiritual landscape, he is the co-host of KXL's weekly radio show, Hirschfield and Kula (Portland, OR), is a regular on The Today Show, and is often quoted in the press. He is an eighth-generation rabbi.
Jon Meacham is Contributing Editor to Time magazine and author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power.
Rev. Jim Wallis
Jim Wallis is founder of the Sojourners Community, a 30-year-old Christian ministry focused on social justice and peace, and editor-in-chief of Sojourners magazine, which covers faith, politics, and culture.
He is a speaker, author, activist, and international commentator on ethics and public life. In 1995, Wallis was instrumental in forming Call to Renewal, a national federation of churches, denominations, and faith-based organizations from across the theological and political spectrum working to overcome poverty.
Wallis's columns frequently appear in The New York Times, The Washington Post and other major newspapers. His most recent book is God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It; he has authored five in total.
He offers regular commentary and analysis for radio and television and teaches a course at Harvard University called "Faith, Politics, and Society."
Alan Wolfe is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College.
His most recent books include Does American Democracy Still Work? (Yale University Press, 2006), Return to Greatness: How America Lost Its Sense of Purpose and What it Needs to Do to Recover It (Princeton University Press, 2005), The Transformation of American Religion: How We actually Practice our Faith (Free Press, 2003), and An Intellectual in Public (University of Michigan Press, 2003).