News Release: Events, Politics, Religion and Ethics, Student Life, Teaching

Apr. 1,  2009

Randall Balmer to Address Intersection of Religion, Politics

News Article ImageRandall Balmer

Author, historian and Emmy Award nominee the Rev. Dr. Randall Balmer, McDonald distinguished visiting professor at Emory University's Candler School of Theology, will give two public lectures at Emory, April 2 and April 16.  Both take place at 4:30 p.m. in Room 102 of Candler.

Balmer's April 2 lecture, titled "So Help Me God: Religion and the Presidency since John F. Kennedy," is based on the most recent of his dozen books, "God in the White House: A History: How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush." The April 16 lecture is "Mistaken Identity: Jimmy Carter, the Abortion Myth, and the Rise of the Religious Right."

A prize-winning historian and Emmy Award nominee, Balmer is professor of American religious history at Barnard College, Columbia University, and an Episcopal priest. He has published widely both in academic and scholarly journals and in the popular press. An editor for Christianity Today since 1999, his commentaries on religion in America also have appeared in news publications across the country, including the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Slate.

Balmer's 1989 book, "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America," was made into a three-part documentary for PBS. Balmer was nominated for an Emmy for his script-writing and for hosting that series in 1992-93. His second documentary, "Crusade: The Life of Billy Graham," was aired on PBS and also appeared in A&E's Biography series. "'In the Beginning': The Creationist Controversy," a two-part documentary on the creation-evolution debate, was first broadcast by PBS in 1995, then re-edited and broadcast in 2001.

The Alonzo L. McDonald Family Chair in the Study of Jesus and Culture was established at Emory in 1998 by the McDonald Agape Foundation, chaired by Alonzo L. McDonald, a longtime trustee of Emory. The McDonald Agape Foundation "supports lectures and other public presentations that deal creatively and imaginatively with the person and teachings of Jesus as they shape and form culture." The foundation has established McDonald chairs at Emory and at Harvard University.

The full title of the McDonald Chair at Emory has varied from year to year according to the field of the chosen professor. Balmer holds the Alonzo L. McDonald Family Chair on the Life and Teachings of Jesus and their Impact on Culture at Candler School of Theology. Past holders of the visiting professorship in the McDonald chair include historian Jaroslav Pelikan; John T. Noonan, Ninth U.S. Current Court of Appeals; composer Alice Parker; and art historian Herbert Kessler, among others.

Event Details

  • April 2, 2009 – Randall Balmer; "So Help Me God: Religion and the Presidency since John F. Kennedy," 4:30 p.m., Room 102, Candler School of Theology.
  • April 16, 2009 – Randall Balmer; "Mistaken Identity: Jimmy Carter, the Abortion Myth, and the Rise of the Religious Right." 4:30 p.m., Room 102, Candler School of Theology.

About Candler School of Theology

Candler School of Theology, Emory University, is an intellectually vital, internationally distinguished, and intentionally diverse university-based school of theology. Candler is committed to educating ministers, scholars of religion, and other leaders. Candler is dedicated to expanding knowledge of religion and theology, deepening spiritual life, strengthening the public witness of the churches, and building upon the breadth of Christian traditions, particularly the Wesleyan heritage, for the positive transformation of church and world. It is one of 13 United Methodist Church seminaries, and its enrollment includes more than 500 students from more than 50 denominations.

Original release posted March 30, 2009


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