Examining the Influence and Interplay of Religion and Politics

The interplay between religion and politics is top of mind for many Americans in today’s political climate. From the dramatic impacts of recent Supreme Court rulings to revelations surfaced by the U.S. House Select Committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol, religiously informed tropes, models, and ideologies are increasingly playing center stage in our society’s political discourse. That’s why, this month—in which the United States also commemorates its independence and commitment to core freedoms, including that of religion—GTUx is taking “Religion and Politics” as its focus.

As we explore this critical area of inquiry from a variety of vantage points (including immigration policy, the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, racial justice, and beyond), we would like to take a moment to offer a special note of acknowledgement and gratitude to GTU trustee, Dale Walker, whose generous support of GTUx has made this month’s content offerings and dynamic discussions directly available to our global community of learners. We are grateful for his support of our mission at GTUx. The work we do would not be possible without the support of Mr. Walker, and community members like you.

To present a comprehensive look at religiously informed values and how they contribute to the framework of our country’s formation and current workings, we’re releasing two new GTUx lectures and revisiting our GTUx Original The Lure of Power. Our hope is that these offerings will provide you with a greater context for thinking about how our country’s collective ideals and aspirations can be informed by religious dialogue. Primarily, our discussions will center around the themes of exclusionist practices in contrast with inclusionary actions and messages.

Our newly released lecture, “Dignity and Justice: Welcoming the Stranger at the Border” with immigration attorney Linda Dakin-Grimm examines the ways in which sacred texts and teachings instruct us to recognize the dignity of migrants and welcome them while sharing insights into the intersection of Catholics teachings, immigration law, and the effects of prejudice, crime, violence, and war. Later in the month, we will be releasing our lecture, “Christianity and the Problem of Race,” in partnership with the Faith + Justice Network that examines the role of Christianity and its problematic representations of race in the founding and establishment of the United States of America. Join our Facebook group to stay up to date on the release of this lecture and exciting upcoming content.

For a deeper look on the dynamics around faith and politics, our GTUx Original The Lure of Power speaks to the surfacing of religion in today’s political environment. Invoking imagery present in the January 6th insurrection, examining the art inside the capital, and studying protest art of past and present, this GTUx Original explores how the symbols of our political discourse detail who we are as a society and how the values of the past play into the dialog of today’s political landscape. In this four-part GTUx Original, GTU scholars Drs. Deena Aranoff, Valerie Miles-Tribble, Elizabeth Peña, and Devin Zuber discuss the power that religion exerts in American society and the blurred lines between civic and sacred in our government.

At GTUx, we are proud to offer digital content that brings our academic community and thought leadership at the GTU in conversation with some of the most pressing topics of our day. Without your generous support, these dialogues would not be possible. We are deeply grateful to our hopeful community for empowering the work of GTUx.