The outlook for religion in politics

Since the emergence of the religious right as a powerful political force in the late 1970s and early 1980s, religion and politics have been inextricably linked, especially for Republicans. For years, Republicans have projected their agenda through the lens of religious views and faith-based values, which tended to mirror the stands of Christian conservatives. That agenda included policies on homosexuality, stem cell research, abortion, judicial appointments, the environment, poverty, faith-based programs, war and peace, immigration and the economy and taxes. This confluence came to a head with the presidency of George W. Bush, an evangelical Christian who was not shy about his faith’s influence on his policies. The election of Barack Obama in 2008 and the shift of the national discussion away from social issues and more towards the economy and jobs had quieted many people’s fears. However, the candidacy of Mormon Mitt Romney for president in 2012 and the debate over same-sex marriage have pushed the issue of religion and politics back in the spotlight.

Background

Why it matters

The nexus of religion and politics is one of the most persistent and controversial story lines in American public life since Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980 with massive support from the newly mobilized religious right. In recent years, religion and politics have clashed in areas such as the Mormon faith of 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as well as numerous policy areas including abortion and same-sex marriage where religious views play a large role for many politicians and voters.

  • “American theocracy revisited”

    August 28, 2011, The New York Times op-ed by Ross Douthat where he provides journalists pointers on how to approach writing about religion and politics.

The political outlook

Theocracy?

The power of the religious right at the height of George W. Bush’s presidency made some liberals and secularists fearful that America was heading towards a theocratic form of government led by conservative Christians. Several pundits wrote books on this possibility.

Others consider the worries of Phillips, Rudin and Goldberg to be warrantless and consider the rise of theocracy to be preposterous.

Hypocrisy

The arrival of conservative Christian Republicans in Washington, from the Congress to the White House, was billed by the GOP as a return to integrity in public life. However, by defining themselves in terms of values, some of these politicians have found themselves being called hypocrites when they have become involved in political scandals that undermine their values-based message.

Evangelicals and politics

Evangelical Christians have been the backbone of the so-called “religious right” since conservative Christians emerged as a political force in national politics in the late 1970s and early 1980s. However several authors have written about the perils evangelicals face by becoming enmeshed in partisan politics.

The Religious Left

Although less talked about than its outspoken counterpart on the right, the Religious Left exists in America as a progressive community which looks to blend faith and politics.

Culture war

The “culture war” has been a mainstay of American public discourse since the 1980s. For most of that time, Republicans have been seen as “winning” the culture war because of the widespread support they enjoyed on many divisive issues including gay rights, abortion rights, gun rights and immigration. Democrats often times were afraid to mention these issues for fear of losing large blocs of support. However, recent trends have led many to believe that progressives have gained ground in the culture war thanks to increased support for gay rights, gun control and immigration reform. While some issues have moved towards consensus, there is still an undeniable battle being waged between the flanks of either side over these divisive issues.

The policy outlook

Abortion

Since the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade in 1973, abortion has been one of the highest profile issues in the national conversation, especially for religious voters. Opposition to abortion rights has become a litmus test for politicians who declare themselves to be religious conservatives. While Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land, several states have passed laws that limit women’s access to legal abortions.

  • Gallup

    Gallup provides polling and analysis on dozens of pressing topics in the United States, many of which involve religion.

    Gallup has conducted opinion polling on abortion since the 1970s.

  • PollingReport.com

    PollingReport.com offers a collection of polls on Americans’ opinions on politics and religion.

    PollingReport.com has a section of aggregated polls and surveys on abortion and birth control.

  • Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

    The Pew Forum on Religion Religion & Public Life is a project of the Pew Research Center. The Pew Forum seeks to promote a deeper understanding of issues at the intersection of religion and public affairs by conducting surveys, demographic analyses and other social science research on important aspects of religion and public life in the U.S. and around the world.

    The Pew Forum has a section on abortion.

Foreign policy

While religious convictions are usually most prominent when discussing social issues such as gay rights and abortion, they also play a role in people’s foreign policy opinions. Americans’ views on the unrest in the Middle East, support for Israel and drone warfare have all been shaped by their faith.

  • Council on Foreign Relations

    The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to helping their members better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.

    The CFR has a Religious Initiative that provides a forum to deepen the understanding of issues at the nexus of religion and U.S. foreign policy.

  • “Foreign Policy”

    Foreign Policy is a print and digital magazine that specializes in foreign policy news.

    Foreign Policy often writes articles about the intersection of religion and foreign affairs.

Gay rights

The intense debate over gay rights, and more specifically same-sex marriage, has been cast as a religious and moral issue from the beginning, with Americans continuing to voice opposition to efforts to sanction marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Gay rights have made strides with a dozen states plus the District of Columbia allowing same-sex marriage as of 2013. However, the debate rages on as dozens of states still prohibit same-sex marriage in their state constitutions.

  • Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

    The Pew Forum on Religion Religion & Public Life is a project of the Pew Research Center. The Pew Forum seeks to promote a deeper understanding of issues at the intersection of religion and public affairs by conducting surveys, demographic analyses and other social science research on important aspects of religion and public life in the U.S. and around the world.

    The Pew Forum has a section on gay marriage and homosexuality.

Poverty relief

All major religious traditions teach care for the poor yet Americans differ on how involved they believe the government should be in social welfare programs. Many religious voters on the right believe that caring for the poor should be left to non-governmental agencies like congregations and religious organizations while many on the left believe that the government has a role to play in providing for Americans living in poverty.

  • Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

    The Pew Forum on Religion Religion & Public Life is a project of the Pew Research Center. The Pew Forum seeks to promote a deeper understanding of issues at the intersection of religion and public affairs by conducting surveys, demographic analyses and other social science research on important aspects of religion and public life in the U.S. and around the world.

    The Pew Forum has a section on social welfare.

Immigration

Immigration reform is one of the most important and contentious issues in the nation, with many religious groups and denominations rallying to the cause of immigrants. See ReligionLink source guide, “Religion informs immigration debate” for more information (see below).

Legalization of marijuana

Religious denominations and voters are split over the legalization of marijuana. Many religious organizations support legalization for medical use but fewer support legalization for recreational use.

Polls and research

Polls are the raw fuel of political campaigns, and they are invaluable baselines for stories about religion and politics. Here are some of the major providers of polls, surveys and data; many sites are searchable by topic:

National polls

  • Barna Group

    The Barna Group is a leading research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture. It provides primary research, communications tools, printed resources, leadership development for young people, and church facilitation and enhancement in order to “partner with Christian ministries and individuals to be a catalyst in moral and spiritual transformation in the United States.”

  • Gallup

    Gallup provides polling and analysis on dozens of pressing topics in the United States, many of which involve religion.

  • Quinnipiac University Polling Institute

    The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute is operated out of Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., and regularly conducts surveys of residents of Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia as well as nationwide.

  • Pew Research Center

    The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that provides information on trends, attitudes and issues affecting the U.S. and the world. The Center conducts media content analysis, polls, demographic studies and other social science research.

    The Pew Center often conducts polls on the intersection of religion and politics.

  • PollingReport.com

    PollingReport.com offers a collection of polls on Americans’ opinions on politics and religion.

    They collect several polls on religion.

Religion and politics

  • Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

    The Pew Forum on Religion Religion & Public Life is a project of the Pew Research Center. The Pew Forum seeks to promote a deeper understanding of issues at the intersection of religion and public affairs by conducting surveys, demographic analyses and other social science research on important aspects of religion and public life in the U.S. and around the world.

  • Association of Religion Data Archives

    The Association of Religion Data Archives provides numerous data collections on religion.

    Contact: 814-865-6258.
  • American National Election Studies

    American National Election Studies produces high quality data from its own surveys on voting, public opinion, and political participation.

  • Eagle Forum

    Eagle Forum is a socially conservative group founded in 1972 by Phyllis Schlafly dedicated to offering resources that promote conservative and religious qualities in American livelihood such as public policy, government, family integrity and private enterprise. 

National sources

  • Randall Balmer

    Randall Balmer holds the John Phillips Chair in Religion at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. He is an expert on American religious history and especially American evangelicalism and the role of religion in American presidential politics. He is the author of Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter; Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey Into the Evangelical Subculture in America; and God in the White House: How Faith Shaped the Presidency From John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush.

  • John C. Green

    John C. Green is a senior research adviser at the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, specializing in religion and American politics, American evangelicals and politics, the Christian right, religion and elections, and religion and presidential politics. He also serves as director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics and Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Akron. He is the co-author of The Diminishing Divide: Religion’s Changing Role in American Politics. He can speak about Americans’ views on gun control, religious demographics and other political issues.

  • Ted G. Jelen

    Ted G. Jelen is a professor of political science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has followed religion and politics, including the participation of the Catholic Church and the role abortion politics plays. He co-edited the books Abortion Politics in the United States: Studies in Public Opinion and The One, the Few and the Many: Religion and Politics in Comparative Perspective. He also co-wrote the book Between Two Absolutes: Public Opinion and the Politics of Abortion.

  • Muqtedar Khan

    Muqtedar Khan is an associate professor of political science and international relations at the University of Delaware. He has written about Islamic political thought and about the rise of political Christianity, through the Republican Party, in the United States. His books include American Muslims: Bridging Faith and Freedom and Debating Moderate Islam: The Geopolitics of Islam and the West. Khan has said that Shariah is based on the same principles that shape Judeo-Christian values.

  • Barbara A. McGraw

    Barbara A. McGraw is a professor of business administration at St. Mary’s College of California, in Moraga. She is the author of Rediscovering America’s Sacred Ground: Public Religion and Pursuit of the Good in a Pluralistic America and the co-editor of Taking Religious Pluralism Seriously: Spiritual Politics on America’s Sacred Ground, in which she argues that the freedom of conscience honored by the nation’s founders can be the “sacred ground” needed in a religiously pluralistic country.

  • Laura Olson

    Laura Olson is a professor of political science at Clemson University in Clemson, S.C., and is also an expert on women and gender in religion. Her books include, as author, Filled With Spirit and Power: Protestant Clergy in Politics and, as co-author, Women With a Mission: Religion, Gender and the Politics of Women Clergy. She is also co-author of a paper on mainline Protestant congregations and homosexuality.

  • Michael Leo Owens

    Michael Leo Owens is an associate professor of political science at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. specializing in urban politics; state and local politics; political penology; governance and public policy processes; religion and politics; and African American politics. He is the author of the 2007 book God and Government in the Ghetto: The Politics of Church-State Collaboration in Black America and numerous articles and essays on faith-based community development and political mobilization by congregations in the United States.

  • Thomas J. Reese

    The Rev. Thomas J. Reese is a senior analyst for the National Catholic Reporter. He was a fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and was also the editor of America magazine,  but stepped down soon after Pope Benedict XVI’s election, reportedly at Benedict’s insistence. Reese is the author of Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church. He writes and comments widely on Catholics in politics.

  • Mark Rozell

    Mark Rozell is a professor of public policy at George Mason University in Arlington, Va., and co-editor of Religion and the American PresidencyReligion and the Bush Presidency and The Values Campaign?: The Christian Right and the 2004 Elections.

  • Corwin E. Smidt

    Corwin E. Smidt is a research fellow at the Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics and a professor of political science at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. He is author, editor or co-author of books on religion and public life, including In God We Trust? Religion and American Political Life; Pulpit and Politics: Clergy in American Politics at the Advent of the Millennium; and The Bully Pulpit: The Politics of Protestant Clergy.

  • Clyde Wilcox

    Clyde Wilcox is professor of government at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He specializes in electoral behavior and public opinion and can comment on the Catholic vote, abortion, gun control, gay rights, church-state issues and other issues involving religion and politics. He wrote “Abortion, Gay Rights and Church-State Issues in the 2000 Campaign” for the book Religion and Liberal Democracy: Piety, Politics and Pluralism and he is the co-author of The Values Campaign? The Christian Right and the 2004 Elections.

  • John Witte Jr.

    John Witte Jr. is the Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and directs the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. His books include, as editor, the two-volume The Teachings of Modern Christianity on Law, Politics & Human Nature and The Teachings of Modern Orthodox Christianity on Law, Politics & Human Nature.  He is co-editor of Sex, Marriage and Family in World Religions.

  • Michele Dillon

    Michele Dillon is associate professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. She wrote “The American Abortion Debate: Culture War or Normal Discourse?” for the book The American Culture Wars: Current Contests and Future Prospects (University of Virginia Press, 1996). She is the author of Catholic Identity: Balancing Reason, Faith and Power.

    She has written on the issue of abortion and Catholics, and on the connection between Catholic identity and behavior.

Academic centers

  • Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

    The Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College looks to create opportunities where a community of scholars, policy makers, media and religious leaders in the Boston area and nationally can connect in conversations and scholarly reflection around issues at the intersection of religion and American public life. Alan Wolfe directs the Center.

  • Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics

    The Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics at Saint Louis University brings the Catholic, Jesuit tradition into interdisciplinary discourse with health care. Cynthia McKenna is the coordinator of the Center.

  • Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding

    The Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., aims to foster understanding between Islamic and Western societies and to support learning about Islam in the West. Fields of particular interest include the compatibility of Islam and modern life and pluralism, women in Islam, the Islamic community in the United States and issues of Islam, violence and terrorism. John Esposito is founding director.

  • Center for Religion & Civic Culture

    The Center for Religion & Civic Culture at the University of Southern California has a principal focus on the study of religion and immigration and its various manifestations. The executive director of the center is Donald E. Miller, Firestone Professor of Religion at USC. Contact Brie Loskota.

  • Center for the Study of Law and Religion

    The Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University in Atlanta focuses on religion and the law worldwide. It is headed by John Witte Jr., a professor of law and ethics and an expert on religious liberty. Contact Witte.

  • Center for the Study of Religion

    The Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University is a major academic initiative that aims to encourage greater intellectual exchange and interdisciplinary scholarly studies about religion through diverse perspectives of the humanities and social sciences.

  • Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture

    The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis explores the connection between religion and other aspects of American culture.

  • The Kripke Center

    The Kripke Center, based at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., is dedicated to facilitating scholarly activity in the areas of religion and society. Special attention is given to promoting understanding between and among faith communities, including especially Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It is a member of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations. It is directed by Ronald A. Simkins.

  • The Myer & Rosaline Feinstein Center for American Jewish History

    The Myer & Rosaline Feinstein Center for American Jewish History, based at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa., promotes the study of the Jewish experience in America.

  • Hartford Institute for Religion Research

    The Hartford Institute for Religion Research at the Hartford Seminary is an excellent resource and includes a database of more than 800 megachurches in the United States. Contact Scott Thumma, professor of the sociology of religion at Hartford Seminary.

  • Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics

    The Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics, based at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., works to integrate the Christian faith and politics. Contact research fellow Corwin E. Smidt.

  • The Institute for Practical Ethics & Public Life

    The Institute for Practical Ethics & Public Life provides an intellectual home for professors and students from across the University of Virginia who wish to purse interdisciplinary scholarship, research and teaching on the complex ethical issues that underlie contemporary professional, organizational and public life. The Institute is directed by James F. Childress.

  • Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals

    The Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals, based at Wheaton College in Illinois, provides leadership in the study of evangelicals, informs the public and seeks to support evangelical scholars from a variety of disciplines who seek to apply Christian truths to intellectual and cultural endeavors.

  • James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy

    James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, based at Rice University in Houston, Texas, is one of the premier nonpartisan public policy think tanks in the country. Edward P. Djerejian is the founding director.

  • J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies

    The J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, is devoted to research in the broad area of religion, politics and society and committed to the separation of church and state and the advancement of religious liberty around the world.

  • Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies

    Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, based at the University of Notre Dame, is one of the world’s leading centers for the study of the causes of violent conflict and strategies for sustainable peace. Kroc Institute faculty and fellows conduct interdisciplinary research on a wide range of topics related to peace and justice.

  • Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life

    ​The Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life, based at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., seeks to advance knowledge and understanding of the varied roles that religious movements, institutions and ideas play in the contemporary world. The Center publishes Religion in the News, a twice-yearly magazine that covers media reporting of religion. Mark R. Silk is the director of the center and the editor-in-chief of the magazine.

  • The Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies

    The Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., is a community of scholars and researchers engaged in the analysis of public policy issues related to Catholic social thought.  The work of the institute serves and speaks to the university, the Church, the country, and the disciplines of its fellows.

  • The Religion, Politics and Globalization Program

    The Religion, Politics and Globalization Program, based at the University of California, Berkeley, looks to create an intellectual space where scholars from the humanities and social sciences can come together to share and deepen their understanding of the role of religion in world affairs. Lynne Gerber is the associate director and postdoctoral fellow at the Program.
  • Roper Center for Public Opinion Research

    The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut is one of the world’s leading archives of social science data, specializing in data from surveys of public opinion.

Abortion

  • Judie Brown

    Judie Brown is president and co-founder of the Catholic American Life League in Virginia, which promotes anti-abortion legislation. Contact Paul Rondeau.

  • Kristen Day

    Kristen Day is executive director of Democrats for Life of America, an organization that works toward the election of Democrats who oppose abortion.

  • Erik Whittington

    Erik Whittington is the campus outreach coordinator for Students for Life and co-founded Rock for Life, a music-based project of American Life League that is directed at young people.

  • Deirdre McQuade

    Deirdre McQuade is assistant director for policy and communications for the Pro-Life Secretariat of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

  • Tony Perkins

    Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council, which works to foster “a culture in which human life is valued, families flourish, and religious liberty thrives.”

  • Frederica Mathewes-Green

    Frederica Mathewes-Green, of Baltimore, is a columnist and Orthodox Christian. She is author of Real Choices: Listening to Women; Looking for Alternatives to Abortion (Conciliar Press, 1997). She is also a pro-life advocate. Contact her via the form on her website.

  • Jay Sekulow

    Jay Sekulow is chief counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice in Washington, D.C., a leading pro-life religious legal advocacy group that frequently litigates on behalf of religious groups.

  • ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project

    The ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project believes reproductive freedom is a core civil liberty and works to ensure that everyone has access to reproductive health care. Louise Melling is director. See a list of ACLU offices across the country.

  • Guttmacher Institute

    The Guttmache Institute seeks to advance sexual and reproductive health through research, policy analysis and public education. Contact Rebecca Wind.

  • Ilyse Hogue

    Ilyse Hogue is president of the Proactive Policy Institute of NARAL Pro-Choice America, formerly the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League.

  • Debra Ness

    Debra Ness is president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization in Washington D.C., that works to promote quality health care for women, including access to abortion. Contact communications assistant Cindy Romero.

  • Planned Parenthood Federation of America

    Planned Parenthood Federation of America fights against legislation that limits access to abortions. Contact the media office.

  • Alexander C. Sanger

    Alexander C. Sanger, grandson of reproductive rights activist Margaret Sanger, is chairman of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. He wrote Beyond Choice: Reproductive Freedom in the 21st Century (Public Affairs, 2004).

  • Ann Stone

    Ann Stone is the head of Republicans for Choice in Alexandria, Va., which says its aim is to remove politics from the abortion debate.

  • Harry Knox

    The Rev. Harry Knox is president and CEO of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a national community of religious and spiritual people, denominations and organizations from all faith traditions dedicated to achieving reproductive justice. The coalition includes initiatives directed at African-American and Hispanic congregations. Knox was previously a member of the religion council of the Religion & Faith Program of the Human Rights Campaign, where he helped develop a weekly preaching resource for congregations seeking to welcome and affirm LGBT people. He is a national advocate for LGBT inclusion and equality. Contact through RCRC communications director Michael Mitchell.

  • Jon O’Brien

    Jon O’Brien is president of Catholics for Choice, which believes that the individual conscience should be the keystone for moral decision-making on reproductive rights matters and that affordable contraception should be available to all.

African-Americans

  • Allison Calhoun-Brown

    Allison Calhoun-Brown is associate professor of political science at Georgia State University. She specializes in religion and politics and African-American politics.

  • David A. Bositis

    David A. Bositis is a senior research associate at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a think tank in Washington, D.C., that focuses on public policy issues of concern to African-Americans. He runs the center’s National Opinion Poll, which samples African-Americans as well as the general population. He is a source for statistics on African-Americans, churches and politics.

  • Michael O. Emerson

    Michael O. Emerson is co-director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research and is a sociology professor at Rice University in Houston. He has written several books on race and religion, including People of the Dream: Multiracial Congregations in the United States and Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America. He is also the co-author of Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don’t Give Away More Money (2008).

  • Frederick C. Harris

    Fredrick C. Harris is a political science professor at Columbia University in New York, where he directs the Institute for Research in African-American Studies and the Center on African-American Politics and Society. Among the books he has written are Something Within: Religion in African-American Political Activism and (with R. Drew Smith) Black Churches and Local Politics: Clergy Influence, Organizational Partnerships, and Civic Empowerment.

  • Melissa Harris-Perry

    Melissa Harris-Perry is a professor of political science at Tulane University in New Orleans, host of MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry” and author of Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought (Princeton University Press, 2004).

  • R. Drew Smith

    R. Drew Smith is a Baptist minister and professor of urban ministry at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He has studied and written about black megachurches and has edited four volumes on American religion and public life, including New Day Begun: African American Churches and Civic Culture in Post-Civil Rights America.

Catholics

  • Mary E. Bendyna

    Sister Mary E. Bendyna is executive director and senior research associate for the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She is an expert on the Catholic Church and religion and politics.

  • William V. D’Antonio

    William V. D’Antonio is an adjunct professor of sociology at Catholic University of America in Washington. He is a leading analyst of the changing roles of Catholic laity in society and politics. D’Antonio is the co-author of Laity: American and Catholic, Transforming the Church (Sheed and Ward, 1996).

  • Thomas J. Carty

    Thomas J. Carty is an assistant professor of American studies and history and chair of the Social Sciences Department at Springfield College in Springfield, Mass. He specializes in U.S. religion and politics and is the author of A Catholic in the White House? Religion, Politics and John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Campaign.

  • David Leege

    David Leege is an emeritus professor of political science at Notre Dame University and spends much of the year in Arizona. Leege is a leading expert on Catholic voting patterns.

  • Erik P. Goldschmidt

    Erik P. Goldschmidt is director of the Church in the 21st Century Initiative at Boston College. Its research includes the state of Catholic ministry in America.

  • David J. O’Brien

    David J. O’Brien is a professor of Catholic studies at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. He has written and commented widely about Catholics and politics.

  • Stephen F. Schneck

    Stephen F. Schneck is chairman of the department of politics and director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., which studies current public policies regarding Catholic social attitudes.

  • John DiIulio Jr.

    John DiIulio Jr. is a professor of politics, religion and civil society at the University of Pennsylvania and was the first director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. A frequent speaker and writer on faith-based social services, he is co-editor of What’s God Got to Do With the American Experiment? (Brookings, 2000).

    He writes and comments extensively on Catholics in political life.

    Contact: 215-898-7641.

Clergywomen

  • Melissa Deckman

    Melissa Deckman is professor of political science and public affairs at Washington College in Chestertown, Md. Her specialties include religion and politics and women and politics. She wrote School Board Battles: The Christian Right in Local Politics (Georgetown University Press, 2004) and “Christian Right School Board Candidates” for the Encyclopedia of American Religion and Politics (Facts on File, 2003) and co-wrote Women With a Mission: Gender, Religion and the Politics of Women Clergy.

  • Barbara Brown Zikmund

    Barbara Brown Zikmund is a historian and a fellow at the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Her research and writing has focused on the role of women in the church, the evolution of 20th-century Protestant denominations (with special attention to the United Church of Christ) and the impact of religious pluralism on interfaith relations. She co-authored Clergy Women: An Uphill Calling.

  • Sue Crawford

    Sue Crawford is a professor of political science and international relations at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. One of her specialties is the role of religious institutions in public policy. She co-edited Christian Clergy in American Politics and co-authored Women With a Mission: Religion, Gender and the Politics of Women Clergy.

    She says studies in which she has participated found that only around 5 percent of women clergy reported ever running for office. Women are more typically involved in advocacy, campaigning, political education/awareness and civic and service work than men. She says that most women clergy sampled were moderate to liberal and that female mainline clergy tend to be more liberal than male mainline clergy

  • Adair T. Lummis

    Adair T. Lummis is a religion sociologist and a faculty associate in research at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Conn. Her research focuses on denominational policies; gender, spirituality and leadership in communities of faith; and clergy concerns. Her books include, as co-author, Clergy Women: An Uphill Calling.

    She says some data from a 2002 Episcopal study on which she worked indicate that Episcopal clergywomen are significantly more active in a range of political/social advocacy than Episcopal clergymen.

Ethics

  • Michael Cromartie

    Michael Cromartie is vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., where he heads its Evangelicals in Civic Life program. He is also an expert on religious liberty and Christianity and politics. His books include, as editor, Religion and Politics in America: A Conversation.

  • E.J. Dionne Jr.

    E.J. Dionne Jr. is a senior fellow for governance studies at the Brookings Institution. His books include, as co-editor, What’s God Got to Do With the American Experiment?

    Contact: 202-797-6178, 202-797-6105.
  • Richard Land

    Richard Land is president of the nondenominational Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, N.C., and previously served for 25 years as president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

  • Russell D. Moore

    Russell D. Moore is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Contact through Carrie Kintz.

  • Joseph Telushkin

    Rabbi Joseph Telushkin was spiritual leader of the Synagogue for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles. He wrote Jewish Humor: What the Best Jewish Jokes Say About the Jews, as well as several books on Jewish ethics, such as The Book of Jewish Values: A Day-by-Day Guide to Ethical Living and The Ten Commandments of Character: Essential Advice for Living an Honorable, Ethical, Honest Life.

Evangelical Christians

  • Richard Cizik

    The Rev. Richard Cizik is president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good. He has said he promotes a political agenda that supports the values of a free and open society.

  • Kimberly Conger

    Kimberly Conger is an assistant visiting professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati. She has studied the influence of religious conservatives in state Republican parties, and she presented a paper titled “Evangelicals: Outside the Beltway” at a 2003 seminar at the Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. She also contributed to chapters in The Values Campaign? The Christian Right and the 2004 Elections.

  • James Guth

    James Guth is a professor of political science at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. He has written widely on the emergence of Christian conservatives in the political arena.

  • Barry G. Hankins

    Barry G. Hankins is a professor of history and church-state studies at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He is an expert on Christian conservatives and their interaction with American culture. He wrote the book Uneasy in Babylon: Southern Baptist Conservatives and American Culture.

  • Peter Kuzmic

    Peter Kuzmic is the Eva B. and Paul E. Toms Distinguished Professor of World Missions and European Studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Mass. He can comment on a range of issues related to evangelicalism.

  • Mark Noll

    Mark Noll is Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame and one of the most cited authorities today on evangelicalism in America. He co-founded the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College, where he taught for many years. Noll’s many books include America’s God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln.

  • Ron Sider

    Ron Sider is founder and president of Evangelicals for Social Action, which promotes Christian engagement, analysis and understanding of major social, cultural and public policy issues. He is also Distinguished Professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry and Public Policy at Palmer Theological Seminary in St. Davids, Pa. He is the author of Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger and Just Generosity: A New Vision for Overcoming Poverty in America.

Hindus

  • Hindu American Foundation

    The Hindu American Foundation is an advocacy organization for the Hindu American community. The foundation educates the public about Hinduism, speaks out about issues affecting Hindus worldwide and builds bridges with institutions and individuals whose work aligns with HAF’s objectives. HAF focuses on human and civil rights, public policy, media, academia and interfaith relations. It is based in Washington, D.C.

    Contact: 202-223-8222.
  • Vasudha Narayanan

    Vasudha Narayanan is Distinguished Professor of Religion at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and she helped found the university’s Center for the Study of Hindu Traditions, of which she is director. She is a noted scholar of Hinduism and the environment.

Hispanics

  • John García

    John García is a research professor at the Center for Political Studies at the University of Michigan. His research interests are minority group politics, especially Latinos; political behavior; political mobilization; urban politics; social survey research; and public policy-health. He wrote Latino Politics in America: Community, Culture and Interests.

  • Gastón Espinosa

    Gastón Espinosa, assistant professor of religious studies at Claremont McKenna College in California, specializes in Latino religion and politics.

  • Lara Medina

    Lara Medina is an associate professor of Chicano and Chicana studies with an interest in politics and religion at California State University, Northridge. She wrote Las Hermanas: Chicana/Latina Religious-Political Activism in the U.S. Catholic Church.

War

  • James T. Johnson

    James T. Johnson is a distinguished professor of religion at Rutgers University in New Jersey where he specializes in religious ethics, religion and society, and just war theory. He is considered one of the deans of contemporary just war theory and has written many articles and books on the topic.

  • David Kinsella

    David Kinsella is a professor of political science and international studies at Portland State University in Oregon. He is also the chair of the political science division of the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government. His primary areas of research the global arms trade, regional conflict, democratic peace and just war theory. He is the co-editor of the 2007 book The Morality of War: A Reader.

  • Glen H. Stassen

    Glen H. Stassen is the Lewis Smeades Professor of Christian Ethics at the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. He is an expert on religion and social justice and specializes in war, peace and ethics. He wrote Just Peacemaking: Ten Practices for Abolishing War.

  • Michael Walzer

    Michael Walzer is a professor emeritus of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. He is a prominent expert on just war theory and the author of Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument With Historical Illustrations.

  • John Kelsay

    John Kelsay is distinguished research professor at Florida State University in Tallahassee.  He specializes in comparative religious ethics, religion and war, and peace and has written extensively about Islam and war. His publications include Arguing the Just War in Islam. He can speak to Islamic law and warfare.

    He has written about just war theory.

  • James Childress

    James Childress is the John Allen Hollingsworth Professor of Ethics in the department of religious studies at the University of Virginia. His research interests include religious ethics, social and political ethics, biomedical ethics and methods in ethics.

    He is an expert on just-war theory.

  • Robin W. Lovin

    Robin W. Lovin is the Cary Maguire University Professor of Ethics at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas where he specializes in religion, politics and ethics.

    He can discuss just war theory.

  • Gerard F. Powers

    Gerard F. Powers is professor of the practice of Catholic peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He also coordinates the Catholic Peacebuilding Network, which links scholars with Catholic leaders from war-torn countries in an effort to enhance the study and practice of conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict reconciliation. Powers co-edited Peacemaking: Moral and Policy Challenges for a New World.

    He criticized military action in Iraq using just war reasoning.

Judaism

  • American Jewish Committee

    The American Jewish Committee is an international think tank and advocacy organization that works to identify and fight anti-Semitism and bigotry, protect human rights and protect Israel and Jewish life everywhere. Its executive director is David Harris. Contact via Jon Schweitzer, director of public affairs.

  • American Jewish Congress

    The American Jewish Congress is a leading Jewish advocacy group dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism. The AJC has regional chapters around the country for local sources.

  • Phyllis Chesler

    Phyllis Chesler of New York City is a prolific author and lecturer, an emeritus professor of psychology and a longtime human-rights activist. She is active in Jewish causes. She wrote The New Anti-Semitism: The Current Crisis and What We Must Do About It (Jossey-Bass, 2003). Contact through her website.

  • Abraham Foxman

    Abraham Foxman is the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, probably the best-known Jewish organization battling anti-Semitism. Based in New York, the ADL has state and regional chapters around the country.

  • Jonathan D. Sarna

    Jonathan D. Sarna is professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. He is co-author of Religion and State in the American Jewish Experience and author of American Judaism: A History, which won the Jewish Book Council’s Jewish Book of the Year Award in 2004.

  • Steven Rosenthal

    Steven Rosenthal is a professor of history at the University of Hartford in Connecticut.

    He is the author of Irreconcilable Differences? The Waning of the American Jewish Love Affair With Israel and has written that the erosion of a consensus on Israel has driven a wedge in American Jewry.

Mormonism

  • Terryl L. Givens

    Terryl L. Givens is a professor of literature and religion at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Va. He is the author of several books on Latter-day Saints, including The Latter-day Saint Experience in America.

  • Michael Otterson

    Michael Otterson is head of public relations for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City. He can discuss the church and its stand on politics and government matters.

  • Francis J. Beckwith

    Francis J. Beckwith is professor of philosophy and church-state studies at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He writes and comments widely in defense of traditional Christianity. He also wrote Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice.

    He co-edited The New Mormon Challenge: Responding to the Latest Defenses of a Fast-Growing Movement, a book of essays by evangelical scholars about Mormon growth.

  • Kathleen Flake

    Kathleen Flake is Richard Lyman Bushman Professor of Mormon Studies at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. She has written extensively on Mormons and is the author of The Politics of American Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle.

    She is the author of The Politics of American Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle.

Islam

  • American Muslim Alliance

    The American Muslim Alliance promotes participation of Muslim Americans in the political process. The alliance is based in Newark, Calif. Agha Saeed is its national chairman.

  • American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections

    The American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections promotes civic equality for Muslims and their participation in the American political process. It is an umbrella association of 11 Muslim-American groups. Contact Salim Akhtar.

  • Johari Abdul-Malik

    Johari Abdul-Malik is outreach director for Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Va., one of the largest Islamic centers in the country. He is a former chaplain at Howard University and is also president of the coordinating council of Muslim organizations representing 46 Islamic centers, schools and organizations from Baltimore to Richmond, Va. His interest in Islam and politics is informed by his professional background in genetics and bioethics. He is active with the Muslim American Society, based in Washington, D.C.

  • John Esposito

    John Esposito is founding director of Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and professor of religion and international affairs and of Islamic studies at Georgetown. He is an expert on global terrorism, Islam and democracy, and international interfaith relations. His publications include Islamaphobia: The Challenges of Pluralism in the 21st Century and Islam: The Straight Path; The Oxford Dictionary of Islam; Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam; What Everyone Needs to Know About IslamWho Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think; and Women in Muslim Family Law.

  • Council on American-Islamic Relations

    The Council on American-Islamic Relations says it is the largest advocacy group for Muslims in the U.S. It advocates for Muslims on issues related to civil liberties and justice. Contact communications director Ibrahim Hooper in Washington, D.C.

  • Islamic Society of North America

    The Islamic Society of North America promotes unity and leadership among Muslims. The organization, based in Plainfield, Ind., has a large immigrant presence. Contact executive director Ahmed Elhattab.

  • Sarah Eltantawi

    Sarah Eltantawi is a scholar of religion, with a specialty in Islamic studies. She has written widely on Islam and politics.

  • Muslim American Society

    The Muslim American Society is a dynamic charitable, religious, social, cultural, and educational, organization. Over the past two decades, MAS has expanded to more than 50 chapters across the United States. MAS offers unique programs and services that seek to better the individual and in turn, the greater society by imparting Islamic knowledge, promoting community service, engaging in political activism, and much more.

  • Muslim Public Affairs Council

    The Muslim Public Affairs Council works for Muslim participation in civic life. It is a leading Islamic advocacy group with offices in New York and Los Angeles, committed to developing leaders with the purpose of enhancing the political and civic participation of American Muslims. It works to cultivate leadership in young Muslims and encourage a sense of ownership over their religious and national identity as Americans. The group’s $1.1 million budget includes no overseas funding. It has offices in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles and several state chapters. The council is considered moderate and politically savvy and is led by first- and second-generation Americans. Contact Salam Al-Marayati, executive director.

  • Omid Safi

    Omid Safi is professor of Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in contemporary Islamic thought and classical Islam. He edited Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender and Pluralism, and he blogs for Religion News Service.

  • James Zogby

    James Zogby is founder and president of the Arab American Institute in Washington, D.C.

  • Ihsan Bagby

    Ihsan Bagby is an associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of Kentucky and an expert in Islam and its history and practice in North America. He is one of the authors of the research report “The American Mosque 2011.”

    He has been watching the growth of Muslim political participation in the United States.

  • Karen Leonard

    Karen Leonard is an anthropologist at the University of California, Irvine. Her publications include Muslims in the United States: The State of Research and Immigrant Faiths: Transforming Religious Life in America.

    She says that since 9/11, American Muslims have been diverging and decentralizing politically as well as socially, with many reaching out and becoming directly engaged in politics.

Native Americans

  • American Indian Movement

    The American Indian Movement is a Native American advocacy group that looks to help Native People regain human rights and achieve restitutions and restorations.

  • John E. Echohawk

    John E. Echohawk, a Pawnee, is executive director of the Native American Rights Fund, a non-profit 501c(3) organization that provides legal representation and technical assistance to Indian tribes, organizations and individuals nationwide. NARF focuses on applying existing laws and treaties to guarantee that national and state governments live up to their legal obligations. Contact Ray Ramirez.

    Contact: 303-447-8760.
  • Jacqueline Pata

    Jacqueline Pata is the executive director of the National Congress of American Indians.

  • Suzan Shown Harjo

    Suzan Shown Harjo, who is Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee, is president of the Morning Star Institute, a national Indian rights organization. She helps Native Americans regain the land that was taken from them, and preserved many sacred places.

  • Winona LaDuke

    Winona LaDuke, an Anishinaabe, is an author and program director of Honor the Earth, which supports Native environmental issues by working to break the geographic and political isolation of Native communities.

  • Mary L. Smith

    Mary L. Smith is the president of the National Native American Bar Association.

Religious Left

  • Russell Arben Fox

    Russell Arben Fox is a political science professor at Friends University in Wichita, Ks. On In Medias Res, a blog of his writings, he has written that the Democratic Party has abandoned religious progressives. He has called for transformation of America’s political and party system.

  • Al From

    Al From is the founder of the Democratic Leadership Council in Washington, D.C.

  • C. Welton Gaddy

    The Rev. C. Welton Gaddy is president of the Interfaith Alliance and author of numerous books, including First Freedom First: A Citizen’s Guide to Protecting Religious Liberty and the Separation of Church and State. Gaddy serves as pastor for preaching and worship at Northminster Baptist Church in Monroe, La. The alliance is based in Washington, D.C.

    Contact: 202-238-3300, 202) 466-0567.
  • Michael Lerner

    Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun magazine and founder of the Tikkun Community, a peace and social justice movement. He is also a co-founder The Network of Spiritual Progressives.

  • David Saperstein

    Rabbi David Saperstein is the director of Reform Judaism’s Religious Action Center, the advocacy arm of the Reform movement.

  • Stephanie Summers

    Stephanie Summers is CEO of the Center for Public Justice, a Christian-based policy research center.

  • Amy Sullivan

    Amy Sullivan is a contributing writer for TIME magazine and a former editor for Washington Monthly, where she wrote of the Democrats’ need to reclaim religion from the Republican Party. She is the author of The Party Faithful: How and Why Democrats are Closing the God Gap (Scribner, 2008).

  • Jim Wallis

    The Rev. Jim Wallis is an evangelical author and commentator and the founder of Sojourners magazine, a periodical that tries to promote social change through Christian values. He has served on the White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and can comment on public policy issues.

  • Sojourners

    Sojourners magazine is a progressive evangelical magazine in Washington, D.C. Its commitment is to faith in action for social justice. Jim Wallis is CEO and editor in chief of Sojourners.

  • Geoffrey Layman

    Geoffrey Layman is an associate professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland in College Park. He wrote The Great Divide: Religious and Cultural Conflict in American Party Politics.

    He has said that there may be nothing the Democrats can do to win the evangelical and conservative Christian vote, but they can focus more strongly on the mainline Protestant, Catholic and black Protestant voters.

News coverage

  • Religion & Ethics Newsweekly

    PBS’s weekly podcast hosted by Bob Abernethy examining religion’s role and ethical dimensions behind top news headlines.

  • Religion Headlines

    Religion Headlines constantly updates with the latest feeds from dozens of top blogs, academic sites and mainstream media with faith and spirituality stories from the U.S. and abroad.

  • Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

    The Pew Forum on Religion Religion & Public Life is a project of the Pew Research Center. The Pew Forum seeks to promote a deeper understanding of issues at the intersection of religion and public affairs by conducting surveys, demographic analyses and other social science research on important aspects of religion and public life in the U.S. and around the world.

    The Forum has a section on politics and elections.

Regional sources

In the Northeast

  • George Annas

    George Annas is professor and chairman of the health law department at the Boston University School of Public Health and an expert on abortion policy, embryo research, stem cells and end-of-life research.

  • Jack M. Balkin

    Jack M. Balkin is a constitutional law professor at Yale Law School and an expert on abortion policy and the First Amendment.

  • Walton Brown-Foster

    Walton Brown-Foster teaches a course on religion and politics at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.

  • J. Bryan Hehir

    J. Bryan Hehir is the Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is an expert on religion and American society.

  • David Hollenbach

    David Hollenbach is a professor of theology at Boston College as well as the University Chair in Human Rights and International Justice and director of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice. He has written widely on issues related to Christian ethics, religious freedom, church-state relations and the role of religion in promoting the common good. He is the author of The Global Face of Public Faith: Politics, Human Rights and Christian Ethics.

  • Dale Kuehne

    Dale Kuehne is a professor in the department of politics at St. Anselm College, a Benedictine school in Manchester, N.H., and focuses on the intersection of religion, politics and sexuality.  He also is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church of America and is the founding director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

  • Phillip Levine

    Phillip Levine is the Katharine Coman and A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Economics at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. He wrote Sex and Consequences: Abortion, Public Policy, and the Economics of Fertility (Princeton University Press, 2004).

  • Laurence H. Tribe

    Laurence H. Tribe is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard University. Tribe’s areas of expertise include abortion and church-state issues. He wrote the book Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes.

  • Alan Wolfe

    Alan Wolfe is the founding director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College and a frequent commentator on religion and politics. His books include The Transformation of American Religion: How We Actually Live Our Faith, which focuses on the impact of evangelicals on American religious culture. He has written widely on secularism.

  • Jonathan E. Brockopp

    Jonathan E. Brockopp is associate professor of history and religious studies at Pennsylvania State University. He edited the book Islamic Ethics of Life: Abortion, War and Euthanasia, and he wrote an article on Shariah for the Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World.

  • Bernard K. Freamon

    Bernard K. Freamon is a law professor at Seton Hall University in Newark, N.J., where his teaching load includes courses on Islamic jurisprudence; law in the modern Middle East; and slavery, human trafficking and the law.

  • Faye Ginsburg

    Faye Ginsburg is professor of anthropology at New York University. She wrote the book Contested Lives: The Abortion Debate in an American Community (University of California Press, 1998).

  • Marci A. Hamilton

    Marci A. Hamilton is a professor at Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. She is author of God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law.

  • N.E.H. Hull

    N.E.H. Hull is a law professor at Rutgers University in Camden, N.J., and co-author of Roe v. Wade: The Abortion Rights Controversy in American History (University Press of Kansas, 2001).

  • Harvey Kornberg

    Harvey Kornberg is associate professor of political science at Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J. He has expertise in abortion politics.

  • Patrick Lynch

    The Rev. Patrick Lynch is chair of the religious studies department at Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y. He is a Jesuit priest and has taught courses on Catholic social ethics, religion & politics and the Jesuits.

  • Jennifer A. Marshall

    Jennifer A. Marshall is director of domestic policy at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., and former director of family studies at the Family Research Council. She has written widely about Republican support of moral issues such as abstinence education, defense of marriage and welfare.

  • Elizabeth McKeown

    Elizabeth McKeown is a professor of theology at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. McKeown focuses on American studies. She is co-editor of Public Voices: Catholics in the American Context (Orbis Books, 1999).

  • Thomas O’Hara

    The Rev. Thomas O’Hara is the elected provincial superior of the United States Province of Priests and Brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross. He oversees the work and welfare of more than 500 priests, brothers and seminarians in the U.S. Province. He can comment on issues of Catholics and politics, especially in old-line Catholic communities in keystone states such as Pennsylvania.

  • Mary Segers

    Mary Segers is professor of political science at Rutgers University, Newark campus. Her specialties include religion and politics. She co-wrote the book Faith-Based Initiatives and the Bush Administration: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003).

  • Rita Simon

    Rita Simon is university professor emerita of justice, law and society for the School of Public Affairs at American University in Washington, D.C. She wrote the book Abortion: Statutes, Policies and Public Attitudes the World Over (Praeger Publishers, 1998).

  • Jeffrey Stout

    Jeffrey Stout is a professor of religion at Princeton University in New Jersey. He is the author of Democracy and Tradition (Princeton University Press, new edition 2005).

  • Robert Wuthnow

    Robert Wuthnow is director of the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University. He wrote the book Poor Richard’s Principle: Recovering the American Dream Through the Moral Dimension of Work, Business and Money and was the editor of the 2006 Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion. He is also the author of  After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings Are Shaping the Future of American Religion and Red State Religion: Faith and Politics in America’s Heartland. He can speak about hot-button issues including abortion, the separation of church and state and gun control.

  • Gerard Magill

    Gerard Magill is the Vernon F. Gallagher Chair for the Integration of Science, Theology, Philosophy, and Law at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where he also teaches health care ethics. He co-edited Abortion and Public Policy: An Interdisciplinary Investigation Within the Catholic Tradition (Creighton University Press, 1996).

  • Samuel Abrams

    Samuel Abrams is a political science professor at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. He is the author of Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America.

    Abrams has argued that voters have not grown more conservative but that religious organizations have become better at organization and capturing attention and influence. The Republicans have tapped into this growth, while the Democrats, lacking a clear plan, have not.

    • Amaney A. Jamal

      Amaney A. Jamal is an associate professor of politics at Princeton University and the director of the Workshop on Arab Political Development.

      She has found that government heavy-handedness has alienated many Muslims since 9/11 not only from government but from their own communities. She has done studies in New York and Detroit among Arabs and Muslims, particularly regarding their confidence in police.

    • Ira C. Lupu

      Ira “Chip” Lupu is F. Elwood and Eleanor Davis Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School and a church-state expert who writes frequently about the faith-based initiative. In a January 2009 Q-and-A with the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, Lupu said that the trend has been toward greater church-state partnerships.

      He has said that if religious groups want to engage in partisan politics, they must separate their political activities from their educational or religious work.

    In the South

    • Alan Abramowitz

      Alan Abramowitz is a professor of political science at Emory University in Atlanta and an expert on abortion politics.

    • Stephen Chapman

      Stephen Chapman is an associate professor of Old Testament at Duke Divinity School. Previously, he worked as a legislative assistant to a member of Congress. He has examined the use of the Bible and religious language in contemporary society and defends the separation of church and state.

    • Mark A. Chaves

      Mark A. Chaves is professor of sociology, religion and divinity at Duke University in Durham, N.C. He is an expert on religion in American politics and wrote the books Religious Congregations and Welfare Reform: Who Will Take Advantage of Charitable Choice? (The Aspen Institute, 1999) and Congregations in America (Harvard University Press, 2004). He says Americans want their religious leaders to be less involved in politics.

    • David Dalin

      David Dalin is a Conservative rabbi and a professor of history and political science at Ave Maria University in Naples, Fla. He has written about Jews and American political history and about the influence of Jews on the presidency.

    • Ferrel Guillory

      Ferrel Guillory is a professor of journalism and director of the Program on Public Life at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C.

    • Nathan O. Hatch

      Nathan O. Hatch is president of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., and one of the most influential historians of religion in America. His books include, as author, The Democratization of American Christianity. Contact Donna K. Gung.

    • James Davison Hunter

      James Davison Hunter is Labrosse-Levinson Distinguished Professor of Religion, Culture and Social Theory at the University of Virginia and executive director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. He is a frequent writer and commentator on the culture wars dividing America, especially as regards homosexuality. Contact Hunter through his assistant.

    • Michael J. Perry

      Michael J. Perry is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law at Emory University in Georgia and specializes in religious liberty issues and religious influences over politics. He is author of Religion, Politics and Nonestablishment, among others.

    • Melissa Rogers

      Melissa Rogers served as special assistant to President Barack Obama and executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. She previously served as director of the Wake Forest University Divinity School’s Center for Religion and Public Affairs in Winston-Salem, N.C.; as founding executive director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life; and as general counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs. Rogers is an expert on church-state issues and was a leader in the coalition that urged Congress to pass the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

    • Steven M. Tipton

      Steven M. Tipton is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Sociology of Religion at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. He researches American religion and politics, and the sociology of morality.

    • Robert Wineburg

      Robert Wineburg is the Jefferson Pilot Excellence Professor of social work at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro who has looked at IRS investigations of churches for political activities related to elections. He is the author of the Faith-Based Inefficiency: The Follies of Bush’s Initiatives, and he has been writing comprehensively about faith-based politics and social services since the Reagan era.

    • J. David Woodward

      J. David Woodard is a professor of political science at Clemson University in Clemson, S.C., and author of The New Southern Politics.

    • David Yamane

      David Yamane is an assistant professor of sociology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., and author of the Pentecostalism article in The Encyclopedia of Religion and Society and The Catholic Church in State Politics: Negotiating Prophetic Demands and Political Realities (Rowman and Littlefield, 2005), a study of the role of Conferences of Catholic Bishops in state legislative politics.

    • John M. Bruce

      John M. Bruce is an associate professor of political science at the University of Mississippi. He specializes in politics and religion.

    • Steven P. Brown

      Steven P. Brown is a professor of political science at Auburn University in Auburn, Ala., where he specializes in religion and politics.

    • David P. Gushee

      David P. Gushee is a distinguished professor of Christian ethics and director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University in Atlanta. He is frequently quoted about evangelical perspectives on ethics and was the principal drafter of the Evangelical Declaration Against Torture. He describes himself as a “Christian centrist.” Gushee’s most recent book is Changing Our Mind: A Call From America’s Leading Evangelical Ethics Scholar for Full Acceptance of LGBT Christians in the Church, in which he outlines his change of heart from opposing same-sex relationships.

    • Mark Hulsether

      Mark Hulsether, Religious Studies Professor and Director of the American Studies Program at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, has written extensively on religion and popular culture. He wrote the 2007 book Religion, Culture and Politics in the Twentieth-Century United States (Edinburgh University Press). He has also written about North American liberation theologies and the transformation of the Protestant left since World War II.

    • Penny Long Marler

      Penny Long Marler is a professor of religion at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., with interests in the relationship between church and society and religious change. She has written about measuring growth in church attendance.

    • Wilfred M. McClay

      Wilfred M. McClay holds the SunTrust Bank Chair of Excellence in Humanities at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he is also a professor of history. He is a widely published author on issues related to religion in America. He co-edited Religion Returns to the Public Square: Faith and Policy in America. He is also a senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and co-director of the Evangelicals in Civic Life program.

    • Mark Pryor

      Mark Pryor is a Democratic U.S. senator from Arkansas. He partially credits his election to the advice of a political consultant who told him to never give a speech without quoting the Bible. He has said Democrats have trouble with people of faith.

      Contact: 202-224-2353, 501-324-6336.
    • Melissa Snarr

      Melissa Snarr is an associate professor of ethics and society and a Christian social ethicist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. Her research focuses on political and religious ethics, social change, religion and war and religion and politics.

    • Robert M. Baird

      Robert M. Baird is a professor and chairman of the philosophy department at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He co-edited the books Same-Sex Marriage: The Moral and Legal Debate, Caring for the Dying: Critical Issues at the Edge of Life, and The Ethics of Abortion: Pro-Life Vs. Pro-Choice.

    • Ravi Batra

      Ravi Batra is an economics professor at Southern Methodist University and author of The New Golden Age: The Coming Revolution Against Political Corruption and Economic Chaos (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming January 2007). Batra says journalists should investigate such issues as how political corruption creates poverty and how politicians exploit religion to get elected and then adopt policies to benefit themselves and the wealthy.

    • Clarke E. Cochran

      Clarke E. Cochran is an expert on religion and politics in America. His numerous books include, as co-author, Catholics, Politics and Public Policy: Beyond Left and Right and the 2007 release Church, State and Public Justice: Five Views.

    • Charles E. Curran

      Charles E. Curran is the Scurlock Professor of Human Values at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He specializes in moral theology, social ethics and the role of the church as a moral and political actor in society. He is a liberal theologian who was dismissed from Catholic University of America for his teachings on human sexuality after an extended struggle, which included meetings with then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Curran can also comment on the politics of the papacy.

    • Allen Hertzke

      Allen Hertzke is Presidential Professor of Political Science at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, where he specializes in religious studies. His books include Freeing God’s Children: The Unlikely Alliance for Global Human Rights; Representing God in Washington: The Role of Religious Lobbies in the American Polity; and, as co-author, Religion and Politics in America: Faith, Culture and Strategic Choices. He is an expert on church-based populist movements.

    • William Martin

      William Martin is the Harry and Hazel Chavanne Senior Fellow in Religion and Public Policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy in Houston. His interests include the impact of religious fundamentalism on politics, and he is the author of With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America.

    • Robin Meyers

      The Rev. Robin Meyers is a United Church of Christ pastor, syndicated columnist and professor of rhetoric at Oklahoma City University. Books he has written include Why the Christian Right Is Wrong: A Minister’s Manifesto for Taking Back Your Faith, Your Flag, Your Future.

    • J. Matthew Wilson

      J. Matthew Wilson is a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. His interests include religion and politics, and he is an expert on abortion politics.

    • Douglas Laycock

      Douglas Laycock is a law professor at the University of Virginia and an authority on religious liberty.

    In the Midwest

    • Laurie M. Johnson

      Laurie M. Johnson is a professor of political science and has taught a course on religion and politics at Kansas State University.

    • David Campbell

      David Campbell is a political science professor at the University of Notre Dame who has written widely on religion and politics and what motivates voters to go to the polls. His books include A Matter of Faith: Religion and the 2004 Presidential Election.

    • J.D. Davidson

      J.D. Davidson is an emeritus professor of sociology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. He specializes in the study of American Catholicism. He co-authored a 2004 study of American Catholic attitudes and his books include Catholicism in Motion: The Church in American Society.

    • Kevin den Dulk

      Kevin den Dulk teaches political science at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. His interests include American politics, religion and politics cross-nationally, public law and courts and political theory. He has written about free speech and religious liberty and about the legal mobilization of conservative Christians in the United States. He is the co-author of Religion and Politics in America: Faith, Culture and Strategic Choices.

    • Paul Djupe

      Paul Djupe is a professor of political science at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, specializing in religion and politics. He co-authored the Encyclopedia of American Religion and Politics and co-edited the 2007 book Religious Interests in Community Conflict: Beyond the Culture Wars. His interests include secularism and politics.

    • Timothy Johnson

      Timothy Johnson is Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis-St. Paul. His books include, as co-author, Religious Institutions and Minor Parties in the United States. He wrote the entry on Roe v. Wade for the Encyclopedia of American Religion and Politics.

    • George Marsden

      George Marsden is an emeritus professor of history at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. His areas of expertise include evangelicalism and American religious and intellectual history. His books include Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth-Century Evangelicalism.

    • Robert Sirico

      The Rev. Robert Sirico is president of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in Grand Rapids, Mich. Sirico says liberation theology faded with the collapse of the Soviet Union but has since “morphed,” and much of its progressive agenda reappears in “eco-spirituality,” indigenous rights groups and anti-globalization efforts. These movements, he says, tend to avoid the explicitly Marxist language of their predecessor while using the same socialist analysis.

    • Brendan Sweetman

      Brendan Sweetman is a professor of philosophy at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo., and the author of Why Politics Needs Religion: The Place of Religious Arguments in the Public Square.

    • Paul Weithman

      Paul Weithman is a professor of philosophy at Notre Dame University and the author of Religion and the Obligations of Citizenship.

    • Moon Khan

      Moon Khan is a writer, motivational speaker and contributing columnist of several ethnic newspapers. Khan looks to create respect and political empowerment for all ethnic and immigrant groups. He has ran for and held public office in DuPage County, Ill.

      He has said that most observant Muslims object to abortion and same-sex marriage and so gravitate to the GOP on local issues, although national Republican candidates are losing Muslim voters because of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

    In the West

    • Deborah R. McFarlane

      Deborah R. McFarlane is a professor in the department of political science at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. She co-wrote the book The Politics of Fertility Control.

    • Dr. Laila Al-Marayati

      Dr. Laila Al-Marayati is a physician and past president of the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Muslim Women’s League, which represents Muslim women and supports the status of women as equal members of society. The league has a speakers bureau and position papers on topic issues such as divorce, honor killing, female genital mutilation, gender equality, inheritance and women’s dress. Members often speak at interfaith public events and at their children’s schools to increase awareness, particularly during Ramadan.

    • Marc Dollinger

      Marc Dollinger is a professor of Jewish studies at San Francisco State University. His interests include separation of church and state, and Jews and public policy. He contributed an article on Jews and the Democratic Party to the Encyclopedia of American Religion and Politics.

    • Drew Halfmann

      Drew Halfmann is an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Davis, and an expert on abortion policies.

    • Michael Horan

      Michael Horan is a theologian at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles who can relate Catholic beliefs to Catholic practice, particularly in the political realm. Horan believes hard-line tactics by bishops to deny communion to abortion rights politicians can backfire.

    • John E. Seery

      John E. Seery is a professor of politics at Pomona College in California. He is an expert on abortion politics and wrote the article “Moral Perfectionism and Abortion Politics” for the journal Polity (2001).

    • Chris Soper

      Chris Soper is a professor of political science at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., and the author of Evangelical Christianity in the United States and Great Britain: Religious Beliefs, Political Choices.

    • Thomas P. Rausch

      The Rev. Thomas P. Rausch is a professor of theology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. A Catholic priest, Rausch is the author of Authority and Leadership in the Church: Past Directions and Future Possibilities.

      He can comment on various aspects of Catholic political life, including efforts to forge bonds with Christian conservatives. He wrote Being Catholic in a Culture of Choice and edited Catholics and Evangelicals: Do They Share a Common Future?

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