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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

1960 and 2008: The Continuities and Disparities Between Obama and Kennedy

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Shaun Casey, Wesley Theological Seminary
Date: Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Time: 12:00-1:15 PM
Location: Boisi Center, 24 Quincy Road


Commentators often draw comparisons between President John Kennedy and President Barack Obama.  Shaun Casey, author of The Making of a Catholic President: Kennedy vs. Nixon 1960, will examine the electoral strategies of both candidates with special attention to the role of religion in each campaign.  Religion was a crucial factor in each election and both Kennedy and Obama deployed sophisticated faith outreach strategies to overcome weaknesses with major faith groups.

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Shaun Casey is a professor of Christian ethics and Director of the National Capital Semester for Seminarians (NCSS) at the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. Casey served as senior advisor for religious affairs for the Obama campaign and was National Evangelical Coordinator in the 2008 presidential campaign. He received his Th.D. in Religion and Society from Harvard Divinity School and his M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government. His research interests include ethics and international affairs, the public implications of religious belief, and the intersection of religion and politics.  He is most recently the author of The Making of a Catholic President (Oxford, 2009), a book on the state of the “religious question” during the 1960 presidential campaign of the late John F. Kennedy. He is a member of the American Academy of Religion and serves on its Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion.

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