Religion and Politics in 21st Century America

A conference at Southern Methodist University with keynote speech by Sen. Jack Danforth.

line drawing of a person in a chair talking, audience members, and a person with a microphone



Mack Ballroom Southern Methodist University

3300 Dyer Street
Dallas, TX 75205

timthumb.phpThe subjects of religion and politics have infiltrated every sliver of American history and society.  21st-century America is no exception to this rule.  In fact, the new century has brought new points of contact between religion and politics into focus.

The John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis is proud to co-sponsor with the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University this conference and its ensuing book with Oxford University Press.  This all-day event is free and open to the public, and will occur in two parts:


The daytime conference will feature four panels, and more than a dozen of today’s top scholars on the roles of religion in American history.  In each presentation, our guests will explore a 21st-century issue in religion and politics, and then reach back into American History to provide context and explanation for the issue at hand    The panels will be:

Panel 1: Faith and Modern Politics

  • The Founding Fathers in Modern America – Kate Carte Engel (SMU)
  • Religion and the ‘Outsider’ Candidates – Charles Irons (Elon)
  • Never-Ending Mormon Moments – J. Spencer Fluhman (Brigham Young)
  • Faith in the Foreign Policy of Barack Obama – Andrew Preston (Cambridge)

Panel 2: Religion and Social Issues

  • Outsiders in the ‘Christian’ Nation – Edward Blum (San Diego State)
  • Barack Hussein Obama: The First Muslim President? – Rebecca Goetz (NYU)
  • The Resurrection of African-American Conservatives – Anthea Butler (UPenn)
  • Immigrant Sanctuaries and Divine Borders – Arlene Sanchez-Walsh (Azusa Pacific)

Panel 3: Religion and Policy

  • The Welfare of Faith – Allison Collis Green (Mississippi State)
  • Orchestrating Death from the Oval Office – Jennifer Graber (UT-Austin)
  • Fracking for Family – Darren Dochuk (Danforth Center, Washington U.)

Panel 4: Transitions in Politics and American Religion

  • Teaching about Religion in Red State America – Mark Chancey (SMU)
  • The Blessings of American Pluralism – Kevin Schultz (U. Illinois-Chicago)
  • Prepping for Doomsday – Matthew Avery Sutton (Washington State)
  • The End of the Evangelical Age – Steven P. Miller (Independent Scholar)
  • The Rise of the ‘Nones’ – Matthew Hedstrom (Virginia)

Danforth Book Cover


One would be hard-pressed to find a better person than John C. Danforth to deliver the keynote presentation for a conference on 21st-century religion and politics.  Danforth is an ordained Episcopal priest, and served formerly as Ambassodor to the United Nations,  special envoy to Sudan, U.S. Senator from Missouri, and Attorney General of Missouri.  He is also the author two books (one forthcoming) on religion and politics in America, including Faith and Politics: How the “Moral Values” Debate Divides America and How to Move Forward Together.

This event is part of an ongoing series, the Danforth Distinguished Lectures, sponsored by the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics.

More details on the event and registration will appear in the Fall of 2014 on the SMU Center for Presidential History Event Page.


  • John C. Danforth