Growing up, I was taught that there were two topics it was important to avoid in polite conversation: politics and religion (ironic since my career thus far has included working for churches and blogging about politics). Increasingly, it seems, it’s impossible to talk about one of those topics without bringing up the other. That intersection (some might say collision) is the topic for “Religion in the 2012 Election” a free public symposium this Wednesday, January 25 at James A. Baker III Hall at Rice University (6100 Main) from 1 to 4:30 pm.
The symposium includes speakers on a variety of topics including religion and immigration, Islamophobia, religion and science, abortion and LGBT equality. Speakers include John Green, a senior research adviser at the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life; D. Michael Lindsay, author and president of Gordon College; Pulitzer-winning columnist Leonard Pitts; Anna Greenberg of the national public opinion research firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and scholars from the James A. Baker III Institute and Rice University.
Pitts will also appear at Congregation Emanu El (1500 Sunset) Wednesday evening at 7 pm for a special presentation sponsored by The Texas Freedom Network. Tickets to Pitts’ speech are $20 and may be purchased at tfn.org/symposium.
The symposium kicks off with a panel discussion focusing particularly on the various ways religious issues and candidates’ beliefs are influencing the 2012 presidential race. All panels are free and open to the public, but registration is required. Visit tfn.org/symposium to register. “Religion in the 2012 Election” is co-sponsored by the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, the Rice University Religion and Public Life Program and the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, a public policy research and civic education organization based in Austin.