Dordt College News

Religion in politics topic of speaker March 23

March 15, 2006


“God at the Polls: The Shifting Religion Foundation of American Electoral Politics” will be the topic of guest speaker Dr. Corwin Smidt at Dordt College on Thursday, March 23, 7 p.m. in the Science Building Lecture Hall S 101.

This forum examines three national surveys taken after the 1996, 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. In each survey, 4,000 Americans were asked many religious questions to determine the role of religion in shaping their voting decisions.

Dr. Smidt says the results indicate a shift in the religious foundation of American electoral politics, from ethno-religious alignments (i.e. Irish Catholics being Democratic) to a new religious “culture wars” model. Smidt contends the highly religious (regardless of religious/ethnic affiliation) creating new alliances in the same political party, while the less religious are aligning in the other, resulting in a greater religious/secular divide than in the past.

Professor Smidt holds the Paul B. Henry Chair in Christianity and Politics and serves as executive director of the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics at Calvin College, where he has taught since 1977. He received his B.A. from Northwestern College, attended New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. He is the author, editor, or co-author of six books, including: Sojourners in the Wilderness: The Christian Right in Comparative Perspective, In God We Trust? Religion and American Politics, The Bully Pulpit: The Politics of Protestant Clergy; and Religion and the Culture Wars. The public is welcome to this guest lecture at Dordt College. There is no cost to attend.

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