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July 10, 2020

Faith and the Faithful in the 2020 Elections: Religion, Racism, and the COVID-19 Crisis

Man holding hands in prayer over USA flag background

The 2020 presidential campaign is being reshaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic crisis it created, and the national focus on racism in the aftermath of the killings of George Floyd and other African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement officers. These challenges are testing our faith and our politics, our religious communities, and our nation.

This online dialogue focused on how the social and economic costs of the pandemic and the moral and human costs of racism may be affecting religious communities and voters in advance of the November elections. How are our leaders and communities responding? What are our obligations and opportunities in this time of crisis as citizens and as believers? How will recent United States Supreme Court decisions affect the views and choices of religious voters and the dynamics of the campaign?

In this volatile context, the attitudes of evangelical, Catholic, and other religious voters may be shifting dramatically, with old alignments losing ground to new realities. What do we know now? What are the implications of potential shifts for religious communities, U.S. politics, and the November 2020 elections?

The role of religion, racism, and the COVID-19 crisis was addressed by a panel of respected journalists and political leaders who bring differing religious, racial, generational, and political perspectives and backgrounds. John Carr, director of the Initiative, moderated the online conversation.

Resources

View a list of articles, books, statements, videos, websites, and other resources for this dialogue.

This online conversation was a Public Dialogue and Salt and Light Gathering for young leaders in public life and was co-sponsored by Georgetown's Institute of Politics and Public Service. It is part of the Faith and the Faithful series organized by the Initiative and was supported by the Democracy Fund.


Faith and the Faithful in the 2020 Elections: Religion, Racism, and the COVID-19 Crisis Video Player

Showing the Faith and the Faithful in the 2020 Elections: Religion, Racism, and the COVID-19 Crisis Video

Participants

Michael Gerson

Michael Gerson

Michael Gerson is a Washington Post columnist and a policy fellow with the ONE Campaign. He was a speechwriter for President George W. Bush and a former senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Justin Giboney

Justin Giboney

Justin Giboney is an attorney and a political strategist in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also the president and co-founder of the AND Campaign, a Christian civic organization that focuses on asserting the compassion and conviction of Jesus Christ in the public square.

Jeanné Lewis

Jeanné Lewis

Jeanné Lewis is a board member of Faith in Public Life, a member of St. Augustine Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., a facilitator of interfaith dialogue and racial healing, and a leader in the Initiative’s Salt and Light Gatherings for young people in public life.

Gabby Orr

Gabby Orr

Gabby Orr is a White House reporter for POLITICO and has been covering Donald Trump since the day he announced his 2016 presidential campaign. She covers social issues, religion, the vice president, and the 2020 campaign.

Gregory Smith

Gregory Smith

Gregory Smith is an associate director of research at Pew Research Center. He opened the dialogue with data from their recent report on religious voters and the 2020 U.S. presidential election.