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Center for Policy Studies

Public Affairs Discussion Group

Biblical Rhetoric in the 2012 Elections

Timothy K. Beal, Ph.D. - Florence Harkness Professor of Religion at Case Western Reserve University
Friday October 19, 2012
12:30-1:30 p.m.

***Special Location: Mather House 100***
Case Western Reserve University

Dear Colleagues:

Religion is one of the most basic elements in U.S. politics. It justifies or drives beliefs on both the left and right of the political spectrum. The Bible, as Tim Beal says, “is a powerful weapon that has been wielded for good and for ill throughout American history.”

Politicians claim the Bible supports their positions, and “most people just don’t know the Bible well enough to say whether these claims are right, wrong, correct, incorrect or a matter of interpretation.” In response, Professor Beal has done a series of BibliFact blogs on, in which he has commented on both the biblical basis for claims and the extent to which politicians are making them. Mitt Romney, for example, has had to figure out how to use the Bible when his Mormonism makes evangelical Christians suspicious. President Obama has to appeal to religious voters yet deal with the fact that his party’s base is the more secular of the two. Other politicians and advocates, however, are much less constrained!

Few if any scholars can match Tim Beal’s studies of the links between religion and everyday life in the United States. Join us for what should be a fascinating discussion about both the election and our society.

All best regards,
Joe White
Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy and Director, Center for Policy Studies

About Our Guest...

Timothy Beal is the Florence Harkness Professor of Religion at Case Western Reserve University and Editor-in-Chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and the Arts (in progress). He has published thirteen books and many scholarly articles on the cultural history of the Bible, religion and popular culture, and relations between critical theory and academic religious studies. He has also published essays on religion and American culture for The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education,, The Washington Post, and The Cleveland Plain Dealer, and is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. He has been featured on national radio shows including NPR’s All Things Considered, The Bob Edwards Show, WBUR's On Point, and Interfaith Voices.

Where We Meet

Mather House is located next to the Thwing student center two buildings to the right of Kelvin Smith Library on Euclid Avenue. Please enter the front door to Mather House and turn right. Mather House Room 100 is at the end of the hall.

Parking Possibilities

The most convenient parking is the lot underneath Severance Hall. We regret that it is not free. From that lot there is an elevator up to street level labeled as for the Thwing Center..

Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

October 26: Special Event in Memory of Alec Lamis – “Insecure Majorities: Congress and the Permanent Campaign.” With Frances E. Lee, Professor of Government and Politics, University of Maryland ***Special Location: Wolstein Medical Research Building auditorium, first floor, 2103 Cornell Road. Lunch and Mama Jo’s pies provided.***

November 2: Political Science Department Pre-Election Forecasts.
With Justin Buchler, Associate Professor of Political Science, and colleagues.

November 9: What Just Happened? Open discussion about the election results,
with Joe White, Chair, Department of Political Science.

November 16: Learning from Mad Cows.
With Dr. Pierluigi Gambetti, Professor and Director, Division of Neuropathology and Director, National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center.

November 23: No Session - Thanksgiving Break

November 30: The Medium is the Message: What Happens When Universities Digitize Course Evaluations.
With Timothy J. Fogarty, Professor of Accountancy.

December 7: The “Chicago Boys” Without Pinochet: Privatization and Protest in Chile.
With Diane Haughney, Ph.D.
October 15, 2012

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Upcoming Events

Insecure Majorities: Congress and the Permanent Campaign

A Discussion in Honor and Memory of Professor Alexander P. Lamis Featuring: Frances E. Lee, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science at the University of Maryland, Friday October 26, 2012, 12:00 p.m., Wolstein Medical Research Building Auditorium, 2103 Cornell Road, Cleveland, OH 44106. Sponsored by the Department of Political Science and the Center for Policy Studies at Case Western Reserve University.

Much of the discussion of party alignments in the past claimed either that one party was dominant (such as the Republicans after 1896, or Democrats after 1932) or that voters were becoming less aligned with either party (supposedly in the 1970s). But the current party cleavage is different. Voters and interest groups are not “dealigned” at all. Most are closely tied to one or the other party. But the cleavages are quite severe – the parties have very different policy positions – and the balance is very close. That greatly raises the stakes in each election, and so may add to the tone of extremism and “winner take all” refusal to compromise that many believe characterizes Congress today.

China Town Hall: Local Connections, National Reflections

A live webcast featuring U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2012, 7:00 p.m., Mandel Center Building, Case Western Reserve University, 11402 Bellflower Road Bellflower Road, Cleveland, OH 44106. Sponsored by the Program in Asian Studies and the Department of Political Science.

Leadership transition in China, trade disputes between China and the United States, and America’s new focus on East Asian Security put the future of U.S.-China relations on the front burner for those interested in business and public policy choices involving the People’s Republic.

Dr. Steven P. Feldman, professor of business ethics at the Weatherhead School of Management, will provide an overview of key issues in U.S.-China business relations. Dr. Paul Schroeder, visiting professor of political science and interim director of the Asian Studies Program, will discuss Chinese domestic issues that impact U.S.-China Relations.

Following their presentations, Ambassador Gary Locke will be interviewed live from Beijing by Stephen A. Orlins, president of the National Committee on U.S. China Relations.

October 2012








































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