I (all about me) will be in Chattanooga this week to speak at the University of Tennessee in the LeRoy Martin Distinguished Lecturer Series. I will be drawing on recent reflections about Islam and Turkey to consider the assets and liabilities of Christian political engagement in the United States. Here is the description from the Philosophy and Religion Department, which is hosting the event:
D.G. Hart’s comparison of Political Islam to Christian activists in the United States is a provocative and even inflammatory juxtaposition. Aside from obvious and significant differences between political activism and the use of violence, conservative Muslims and evangelical Protestants do register significant objections to secular understandings of society and the state. They also seek to have secular governments recognize, if not implement, the morality taught in sacred texts. In sum, both groups are raising important questions about the secular politics and whether efforts to bracket religion actually end up imposing a secular version of morality on citizens. And yet, some political observers in the United States do not find the Religious Right to be as threatening as political Islam. On the other hand, other commentators see no difference because all politically motivated religious groups are at odds with the norms of liberal democracy. These considerations raise important questions about whether Christianity is more compatible than Islam with liberal democratic societies, and whether secular constructions of public life owe their existence the developments of Christianity in the West. D. G. Hart will explore these questions in the light of his recent book From Billy Graham to Sarah Palin: Evangelicals and the Betrayal of American Conservatism (Eerdmans, 2011).
The event is scheduled for Thursday, September 27, 2012, Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm in the University Center’s Raccoon Mountain Room (269). The public is welcome. Rotten tomatoes are not.