Claremont Discourse, March 10 - Religion and Presidential Politics: The Faith Factor in Barack Obama's 2008 Election Campaign

Gaston Espinosa, Claremont McKenna College
Founders Room, Honnold/Mudd Library
Wednesday, March 10, 4:15 PM

Religion has been invoked by political parties and presidential candidates to unite, divide, and mobilize the American people. Prof. Gaston Espinosa will examine the tightropes walked by candidates seeking to balance the separation of church and state and yet win the White House on Election Day. This presentation will explore a number of questions about religion and the 2008 Election, such as: What impact did Obama's spiritual journey, Muslim heritage, and Black church experience have on his campaign? How and why did Obama, a liberal Protestant with a strong secular orientation, harness the power of religious rhetoric and conversion in his outreach to the American people? How did Catholics, Evangelicals, mainline Protestants, Jews, seculars, women, Blacks, Asian Americans, and Latinos vote for Obama? Why? What long-term trends may his election signal for the future of American religion and politics?

Gaston Espinosa is Chair and Arthur V. Stoughton Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Claremont McKenna College and co-editor of the Columbia University Press Series in Religion and Politics. His recent books include Religion and the American Presidency: George Washington to George W. Bush (Columbia, 2008); Religion, Race, and the American Presidency (April 2009); and the forthcoming Religion, Barack Obama, and the 2008 Election.

Light refreshments will be provided.

FMI: Adam Rosenkranz.

The Claremont Discourse Lecture Series is sponsored by the Claremont Colleges Library, Claremont University Consortium.

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