Politics and Evangelical Christians
Randall Balmer, Dartmouth College
John Fea, Messiah College
Date: Monday, April 8, 2019
Location: Gordon-Conwell, Alumni Hall, Kerr Building
Co-sponsored with Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts
What is the relationship between evangelicals and politics? How do some evangelical groups think through their responsibilities to vote? What historical roots provide deeper insight into the high turnout of evangelical support for Donald Trump? Do evangelicals see voting Republican as synonymous with or tied to being a Christian and living out their faith? Randall Balmer and John Fea -- both authors of recent books covering evangelicals and American politics -- will address these questions and more at a co-sponsored event at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Randall Balmer holds the John Phillips Chair in Religion at Dartmouth, the oldest endowed professorship at Dartmouth College. A prize-winning historian and Emmy Award nominee, Balmer earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1985 and taught as Professor of American Religious History at Columbia University for twenty-seven years before becoming the Mandel Family Professor in the Arts & Sciences at Dartmouth College in 2012. Balmer has published more than a dozen books, including Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter, God in the White House: How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush, and The Making of Evangelicalism: From Revivalism to Politics and Beyond. His second book, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America, now in its fifth edition, was made into an award-winning, three-part documentary for PBS.
John Fea is professor of American history at Messiah College. Fea received his Ph.D. in American history from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His interests center on early American history, American religious history, the history of religion and politics, and the place of historical thinking in a democratic society. Fea recently published Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump (Eerdmans Publishing, 2018), and, among his five other books, his 2011 manuscript, Was America Founded as a Christian Nation: A Historical Introduction (Westminster/John Knox Press), was selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title and as Religion Book of the Year (Gold Medalist) by the Association of Independent Publishers.
IN THE NEWS
A recent survey by the Pew Research Center revealed that among American religious groups, evangelical support of President Donald Trump remains strong. According to the Pew Center's report, "Roughly seven-in-ten white evangelical Protestants (69%) say they approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president." Other religious groups are less supportive, though Catholics are still more in favor of President Trump than the religiously unaffiliated. Of the religious groups surveyed, non-white Catholics and black Protestants approve of the president least, with only 26% and 12% of those surveyed approving, respectively. On April 8, 2019, Randall Balmer and John Fea will discuss this evangelical relationship with President Trump, and general evangelical engagement with politics in a panel discussion entitled "Politics and Evangelical Christians," held at Gordon-Conwelll Theological Seminary.