September 13, 2005

Speaker to explore role of religion in politics

by Pete Rosenbery


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CARBONDALE, Ill. -- One of the nation's prominent analysts on the role of religion in American politics is presenting a lecture at Southern Illinois University Carbondale next week.

John C. Green presents "The Twelve Tribes: Religion and Politics in the 2004 Campaign," at 8 p.m., Monday, Sept. 19, in the Student Center Auditorium. SIUC's political science department and the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute are sponsoring Green's appearance, which is part of the Morton-Kenney Public Affairs Endowed Lecture Series.

The lecture is open to the public, and admission is free.

Green is director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, a post he has held since 1988. He is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Akron. Prior to joining the University of Akron, Green taught political science at Furman University.

Green is "probably the leading expert on the role of religion in American politics in the nation today," said SIUC visiting professor John S. Jackson.

Green will discuss religion and politics, and the role that especially fundamental and evangelical groups played in the 2000 and 2004 Republican victories for president and other races, Jackson said. Green has written extensively on the subject, and is widely quoted in the nation's leading publications.


Green has done extensive research on American religion and politics, political parties and campaign finance. He is co-author of three books – "The Diminishing Divide: Religion's Changing Role in American Politics," "The Bully Pulpit: The Politics of Protestant Clergy," and "Religion and the Culture Wars." In addition to publishing more than 60 scholarly articles and 35 essays, he is a contributing editor for

"John Green is the foremost expert on grass-roots party politics in the United States," said professor and political science department chair Robert L. Clinton. "He has conducted the largest public opinion on politics and religion after each of the past four presidential elections. If you want to know what is going on in the culture wars of American politics, John Green is the person to ask."

Green is also a respected analyst of Ohio politics, said Jackson, noting that Ohio was the pivotal state in the 2004 presidential election.

Jackson notes an increasing interest in both religion and politics – and the increased role of religion in American politics.

"Clearly people are interested in both, and the convergence of both has become quite volatile in the United States today," he said.

Green received his doctorate in political science from Cornell University in 1983. He received his bachelor's in economics from the University of Colorado in 1975.

The lecture series brings speakers to campus in the spring and fall of each year. SIUC alumnus Jerome M. Mileur, a native of Murphysboro, established the series in 1995 in honor of two of his political science professors – Ward Morton and David Kenney – who inspired him as a student. Mileur earned a bachelor's degree in speech in 1955 and a doctorate in political science in 1971 from SIUC. He became a professor emeritus in political science at the University of Massachusetts in 2004.

Developing citizen-leaders with global perspectives is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.