Religion and Presidential Politics
This online course seeks to examine the role of religion in presidential politics. Specific elections will be utilized as case studies in order to provide a broad understanding of the impact of religious belief on US civic life and voter sentiment and participation. Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim perspectives on presidential elections will be examined.
Format: This virtual workshop will take place over four 90-minute Thursday evening sessions.
-Thursday, October 8 at 7:00 – 8:30 pm
-Thursday, October 15 at 7:00 – 8:30 pm
-Thursday, October 22 at 7:00 – 8:30 pm
-Thursday, October 29 at 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Facilitator: Eli Valentin
Session 1: Religion in Presidential Elections
Description: This session will introduce students to the role religion plays in public life, and more specifically, its role in presidential politics. Examples from the current presidential election will be utilized in order to evaluate how religion continues to impact electoral politics.
Session 2: Protestant and Catholic Perspectives
Description: Primarily using the Kennedy-Nixon 1960 presidential election as a model, this session will focus on Catholic and Protestant involvement in electoral politics.
Session 3: Jewish and Muslim Perspectives
Description: The 2008 and 2012 Obama presidential campaigns will be used as a case study on the role of religious coalition building within presidential campaigns. This session will focus more specifically on the role Jewish and Muslim leaders and organizations played during these two cycles, and their continuing work in this current presidential election.
Session 4: Faith-based organizations and PACs in Presidential Elections
Description: This session will examine the role religious organizations have played in the electoral process and in presidential elections. Some specific groups (i.e., Faith and Freedom Coalition, Faith 2020) will be selected as case studies for examining the role religious groups have played, and continue to play, in presidential elections.
About Eli Valentin
Eli Valentin serves as pastor of The Bridge Church of God. Eli has also served as a political advisor to numerous elected officials across the country and is the editor of Sermons from the Latino/a Pulpit. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Reinhold Niebuhr and Politics. In addition to his pastoral ministry, he has been a lecturer at Union Theological Seminary, New York Theological Seminary and Hunter College (CUNY).