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Crossroads lecture on religious politics

Professor David Domke - Contributed photo
Professor David Domke
— image credit: Contributed photo

The lecture series Crossroads: Ideas for a New Century will continue on Friday, Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at Orcas Center, when David Domke, an award-winning professor of communications and political science, will speak on Religious Politics in America: Why the 2008 Presidential Election May Change Everything for Everyone.

Professor Domke’s research confirms that, prior to 1980, presidents mentioned God in less than half of their major addresses, while presidents from Reagan on have done so in more than 90 percent of theirs, confirming his observation that Americans have seen a striking increase in the appearance of religious discourse in politics. In the past few years, Domke says, new issues and new leaders have emerged, so that the upcoming presidential election might see the emergence of a new coalition that would fundamentally alter the contours of American politics and global security.

Drawing on both his expertise in mass communications and his past experience as a journalist for several major newspapers, Professor Domke has become known for his commentary on how political leaders act strategically to shape public discourse, the ways in which news media report on politics, and the implications for American public opinion and democracy.

He has authored highly influential books, “The God Strategy: How Religion Became a Political Weapon in America” (with Kevin Coe), published earlier this year, and “God Willing?: Political Fundamentalism in the White House, the ‘War on Terror,’ and the Echoing Press,” which appeared in 2004.

Professor Domke earned his Ph.D. in Mass Communications from the University of Minnesota, and is currently a professor of communications and political science at the University of Washington, where he received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2002 and was elected “favorite professor” by the class of 2008. In 2006, he was named Washington State Professor of the Year.

The Crossroads series of speakers address timely issues, both local and global. The fall schedule also includes a lecture on Nov. 7, when Juliet Stumpf will discuss “Crossing New Borders: Making Sense of the U.S. Immigration Debate through Law, History and Politics.”

Tickets may be obtained at Darvill’s Bookstore and the Orcas Library at no cost.

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