Obery Hendricks

 Richard Land

 Luis Lugo

Rev. Barry Lynn
Julie Segal Walters

LEWISBURG, Pa. -- A panel of distinguished religion experts representing a broad spectrum of thought will examine "Religion and Politics in America" in a Bucknell Forum discussion Wednesday, Feb. 6.

The 7:30 p.m. panel discussion will be held in Trout Auditorium at BucknellUniversity. It is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow the panel discussion.

It is the fifth event in the national speaker series, "The Bucknell Forum: The Citizen & Politics in America," which started September 2007 and will continue to the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States in January 2009.

Shaping views
Tony Massoud, associate professor of political science and a member of the national speaker series task force, said that even before the 2008 presidential field narrowed religion was playing a significant role in shaping the views that citizens have of presidential candidates.

"Are religion and politics inseparable in America?" said Massoud. "Our panel of religion experts will help explain and, perhaps, define what role religion is playing in today's fabric of partisan politics."

The panel will include:

  • Obery Hendricks is a professor of biblical interpretation at the New York Theological Seminary. Hendricks is a former investment executive, past president of Payne Theological Seminary, and ordained elder in the AME Church. His novel Living Water was selected as Best Christian Fiction of 2003 by Black Issues Book Review, and his most recent work is The Politics of Jesus: Rediscovering the True Revolutionary Nature of Jesus' Teachings and How They Have Been Corrupted.  He earned his masters of divinity and arts and doctoral degrees at Princeton.
  • Richard Land has served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission since 1988. The host of three nationally syndicated radio programs, Land was named one of "The Most Influential Evangelicals in America" in Time magazine in 2005. His most recent book is  The Divided States of America? What Liberals and Conservatives are Missing in the God-and-Country Shouting Match! He is a graduate of Princeton and Oxford universities. 
  • Luis Lugo is the director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Prior to joining the Pew Forum in 2004, he served as the director of the religion program at The Pew Charitable Trusts and as a professor of political science for more than 12 years. Among his published works are several edited volumes, including Religion, Public Life and the American Polity and Sovereignty at the Crossroads? Morality and International Politics in the Post-Cold War Era. A native of Cuba, he is listed in Who's Who Among Hispanic Americans. He holds degrees from the University of Memphis, Villanova University, and the University of Chicago.
  • The Rev. Barry Lynn has served as the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State since 1992. In addition to being an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, he is a member of the Washington, D.C., bar, earning his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center after  receiving his bachelor's degree at Dickinson College and his theology degree from Boston University School of Theology. Lynn is the co-author of The Right to Religious Liberty: The Basic ACLU Guide to Religious Rights. He writes frequently on First Amendment issues, appearing in such publications as USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Nation.
  • Julie Segal Walters, who is the founder of Civic Action Strategies, will be the moderator. An attorney specializing in strategic planning and mobilizing citizen political actions, Walters has appeared as a commentator on religion and politics on National Public Radio, Court TV, C-Span, and Univision. Prior to founding Civic Action Strategies, she worked for two years in Kosovo where she directed civic participation and democracy development programs for U.S. and European organizations.

"The Bucknell Forum: The Citizen & Politics in America" is a national speakers series exploring major issues in the 2008 presidential election, notably those at the forefront of the national discourse. The series features nationally renowned leaders, scholars, and commentators exploring these issues from multi-disciplinary perspectives and offers opportunities for campus and community conversations.

More dates
On March 17, best-selling author Barbara Ehrenreich will speak on "Class, Citizenship, and the Presidency." Pulitzer-prize winning syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts will speak on March 24.
 
NBC newsman Tim Russert was The Bucknell Forum's inaugural speaker in September, followed in October by a panel of national political correspondents from among the country's most influential print, broadcast, and online news sources discussed the role that media play in shaping the presidential election and the issues affecting the race. In November, the renowned political theorist Benjamin Barber spoke about the challenges facing democracy in America.

In January, CNBC-TV "Mad Money" host, best-selling author, and Wall Street investor Jim Cramer gave the talk  "The Capitalist Citizen and Democracy."

Contact: Office of Communications

Posted Jan. 9, 2008
Updated Jan. 28, 2008
Updated Feb. 1, 2008

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