So Help Me God: Religion and the Presidency Since John F. Kennedy

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This timely lecture was delivered on October 2, 2012, by Randall Balmer, chair of the Religion Department and Mandel Family Professor of Arts and Sciences at Dartmouth College.

John F. Kennedy's address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on September 12, 1960 ushered in an era of voter indifference to a candidate's faith. This "Kennedy paradigm" persisted until the mid-1970s, when the corruptions of the Nixon administration paved the way for a Southern Baptist Sunday-school teacher to win the White House. The rise of the religious right during Jimmy Carter's presidency once again altered the relationship between religion and presidential politics. But for all of the religious rhetoric on the campaign trail, what does a candidate's faith tell us about how he will govern?

Please note that the Center for the Study of World Religions at HDS will host another event on religion and politics on October 10, at 5:15 pm, Andover Hall, titled "Religion & the Election: Does It Matter?" A panel of four scholars will speak on the relevance of different religions in this year's presidential election. The panelists are J. Bryan Hehir of Harvard; Ruth Langer of Boston College; Max Perry Mueller, associate editor of Religion & Politics and PhD candidate at Harvard; and Jonathan Walton, Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church. The panel will be moderated by HDS professor Dan McKanan. View more information about this event.