A religious history scholar, Balmer writes about the role of faith and faith language in American politics. His book, God in the White House, looks at the disconnect between a candidate's religious rhetoric and the way he actually governs--Jimmy Carter being the exception. Balmer will deliver this year's Cole Lectures at Vanderbilt's Divinity School. Established in 1892, the Cole program promotes religious dialogue and has featured theological superstars such as Paul Tillich and George Buttrick. Balmer, who teaches at Barnard College and is a visiting professor at Yale Divinity School, will deliver two lectures. The first concerns the role of faith in administrations from Kennedy to GW Bush, and the second deals with reclaiming Christianity from the religious right. Both are free and open to the public.
Thu., Oct. 23, 7 p.m.; Fri., Oct. 24, 7 p.m., 2008