Randall Balmer, Barnard College, and Jacques Berlinerblau, Georgetown University, share their expertise on the intersection of faith and politics in the United States, with specific reference to the current election cycle, moderated by Sondra Farganis, Director of the Wolfson Center for National Affairs.
Professor Balmer has written extensively about evangelical politics, a subject he addresses in his latest book, God in the White House: How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush.
The topic is also central to Professor Berlinerblau's forthcoming book, Thumpin' It: The Use and Abuse of the Bible in Today's Presidential Politics. Sponsored by the Wolfson Center for National Affairs- The New School
Randall Balmer, professor of American religious history at Barnard College, Columbia University, earned the Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1985. He has lectured at the Chautauqua Institution, the Commonwealth Club of California and the Smithsonian Associates and to audiences around the country, and he has been a visiting professor at Rutgers, Yale, Drew, Northwestern, and Princeton universities and at Union Theological Seminary, where he is also an adjunct professor.
He has been a visiting professor in the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a visiting professor at Yale Divinity School.
Jacques Berlinerblau holds separate doctorates in ancient Near Eastern Languages and Literatures, and in Sociology. He is currently an Associate Professor and Director of the Program for Jewish Civilization at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
Berlinerblau has published on a wide variety of issues ranging from the composition of the Hebrew Bible, to the sociology of heresy, to modern Jewish intellectuals, to African-American and Jewish-American relations. His articles on these and other subjects have appeared in Biblica, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Semeia, Biblical Interpretation, Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages, Hebrew Studies, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and History of Religions.
He has published five books, the most recent being How to Be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. His previous works include Thumpin' It: The Use and Abuse of the Bible in Today's Presidential Politics (Westminster John Knox), Heresy in the University: The Black Athena Controversy and the Responsibility of American Intellectuals (Rutgers University Press), and The Secular Bible: Why Nonbelievers Must Take Religion Seriously (Cambridge University Press).
Sondra Farganis received a PhD from Australian National University and is a recipient of Fulbright and NEH awards. She is the director of the Wolfson Center for National Affairs and her publications include Social Reconstruction of the Feminine Character, Situating Feminism, and articles on contemporary social and political thought. Dr. Farganis has taught at CUNY, Vassar, and Hamilton.
American religious history professor Randall Balmer addresses the misconception that the religious right first galvanized around the issue of abortion, stating the catalyst was actually the decision made by the Supreme Court in the Bob Jones University v. United States case heard by the Supreme Court.
American religious history professor Randall Balmer notes that no president in recent history, with the exception of Jimmy Carter, has governed from the Oval Office according to the values on which they campaigned.
Georgetown professor Jacques Berlinerblau talks about a growing movement of religious progressives who are tolerant of secularists and highlights Mitt Romney's anti-secularist rhetoric as a critical mistake of his campaign.