The place of faith and the roles of the faithful in U.S. politics are often misunderstood and neglected, generate confusion and conflict, and are changing and challenging both religious communities and political leaders and parties.
This first of a series of three Dialogues offered an overview and analysis of the continuing and changing religious dimensions of political life, including the election of President Trump and the leadership of Pope Francis. It also explored the roles of religious voters, evangelicals, Catholics, and other religious communities in a divided nation and polarized politics.
John Carr, the director of the Initiative Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, moderated a civil and substantive roundtable with E.J. Dionne, Joshua DuBois, Jocelyn Kiley, and Peter Wehner.
These respected leaders debated the following questions:
- How are current politics changing religious attitudes and behaviors and how are religious believers changing politics?
- Do our political parties have a "religion problem"?
- Does religious faith contribute to polarization or can it help overcome divisions, turning cynicism and anger into hope and the pursuit of the common good?
- How can religious convictions on human life and dignity, a priority for the poor, and protection for religious freedom be advanced in a pluralistic and increasingly secular society?
The Dialogue was held at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in the Holy Trinity Theatre located at the corner of 36th and O Streets Northwest. There was parking available at Visitation Preparatory School located at 1524 35th Street Northwest.
This series, which includes further events on faith and the faithful in the Democratic and Republican Parties, was supported by the Democracy Fund and co-sponsored by Holy Trinity Catholic Church, the Institute of Politics and Public Service at Georgetown, and the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life.
E.J. Dionne is a Washington Post columnist, professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and author of Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith and Politics (2009) and co-author of One Nation After Trump (2017).
Joshua DuBois is a CNN contributor, CEO of Values Partnerships, and former executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships under President Obama.
Jocelyn Kiley is associate director of research at Pew Research Center, where her primary focus is on U.S. public opinion, politics, and polarization.
Peter Wehner is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, director of the Faith Angle Forum, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, and author of City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era.