Religion and politics don’t have to be taboo subjects

Dionne to speak on the need for civil discourse for Danforth Center on Religion & Politics, Assembly Series

In Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith and Politics after the Religious Right, E.J. Dionne’s 2008 treatise on the shifting influences of religion on American politics, the author makes a case for abandoning the restrictive ways in which Americans think and talk about religion and instead focusing on the richer and more varied beliefs present in American society.


Since the publication of Souled Out, Dionne, PhD, has written extensively about the need for civil discourse instead of button-pushing statements that sidetrack Americans from understanding the significant role religion plays in American culture.

As the fall keynote speaker for the John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics, Dionne will present his thoughts on the question “Can Religion and Politics Make Us More Civil and Not Just Angry?”

His talk, which also is an Assembly Series program, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10, in Graham Chapel.

It is free and open to the public, although RSVPs are requested at

Dionne, a regular political commentator on NPR, is widely recognized for his expertise in analyzing the American political landscape and its intersection with religion. The strands of religion and politics run through his essays and have been a mainstay of his work for the past three decades.

After 14 years reporting for The New York Times, he joined The Washington Post as a political reporter. Since 1993, he has been a popular op-ed writer whose twice-weekly columns are syndicated to more than 90 papers. He also contributes to Commonweal and the Post’s opinion blog, PostPartisan.

In addition to Souled Out, Dionne has authored three books: Why Americans Hate Politics, which was published in 1991 and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a National Book Award nominee; They Only Look Dead: Why Progressives Will Dominate the Next Political Era, published in 1996; and Stand Up Fight Back: Republican Toughs, Democratic Wimps, and the Politics of Revenge, in 2004. He also has edited publications on the intersection of religion and politics.

Since 2003, he has been the University Professor in the Foundations of Democracy and Culture at the Public Policy Institute at Georgetown University and has been associated with the Brookings Institution as a senior fellow in governance studies for 15 years.

Among Dionne’s many accolades are the American Political Science Association’s annual Carey McWilliams Award in 1996; the Empathy Award from the Volunteers of America in 2002; and the National Human Services Assembly’s Award for Excellence by a Member of the Media in 2004.

After earning a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, Dionne was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and earned a doctoral degree in sociology in 1982.

For information about the Assembly Series, visit or call (314) 935-4620. For more information about the Danforth Center programs, visit or call (314) 935-9345.