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2019 Grawemeyer Lecture is April 9

by Chris Wooton | Feb 21, 2019

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How does religion influence American politics and culture? For most of America’s history, white Protestantism, has been a dominant cultural force, but a combination of demographic change and an abandonment of churches by younger generations may bring this era to an end.

Robert P. JonesOn April 9, 2019, Public Religion Research Institute CEO Dr. Robert P. Jones will deliver his Grawemeyer Lecture “Why Religion is at the Heart of America’s Identity Crisis” in Caldwell Chapel at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (1044 Alta Vista Road, Louisville, KY 40205). The lecture, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m.

Jones won the 2019 Grawemeyer Award in Religion for his book, The End of White Christian America (Simon & Schuster, 2016), which offers insight into the meaning of faith and the proper place of faith in defining our civic values at a time when evangelical Christianity seems to have become a political rather than a spiritual movement.

How does Jones explain the election results of 2016 with Republicans in control of both houses of Congress and the White House?

“The 2016 election results are better understood as the death rattle of white Christian America, said Jones, who is also a columnist for The Atlantic. “Down the home stretch of the 2016 presidential campaign, one of Donald Trump’s most consistent talking points was a claim that America’s changing demographics and culture had brought the country to a precipice. He repeatedly cast himself as the ‘last chance’ for Republicans and conservative white Christians to step back from the cliff, to preserve their power and way of life.”

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, jointly with the University of Louisville, awards the $100,000 prize to honor and publicize creative and significant insights into the relationship between human beings and the divine. The award also recognizes ways in which this relationship may inspire or empower human beings to attain wholeness, integrity, or meaning, either individually or in community.

2019 Grawemeyer Book Cover“Jones’ book well explains the decline of mainline Protestantism that many of us see in our churches and theological institutions,” said Tyler Mayfield, Faculty Director of the Grawemeyer Award in Religion and A.B. Rhodes Associate Professor of Old Testament at Louisville Seminary. He offers appropriate critique of the ways in which mainline Protestants have been a public voice for racial justice yet have failed to address systemic racism, and he outlines the shift in the discourse of evangelicals from dominance to ‘religious liberty’.”

In addition to his work with Public Religion Research Institute, Jones serves as the co-chair of the national steering committee for the Religion and Politics Section at the American Academy of Religion and is a past member of the editorial boards for the Journal of the American Academy of Religion and Politics and Religion, a journal of the American Political Science Association. He holds a doctorate in religion from Emory University, a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor of Science degree in computing science and mathematics from Mississippi College.

The University of Louisville presents the Grawemeyer Award annually for outstanding works in music composition, ideas improving world order, psychology and education, and presents a religion prize jointly with Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. See www.grawemeyer.org for more information.
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