Yoder Public Affairs Lecture: Ryan Claassen: Godless Democrats and Pious Republicans? Party Activists, Party Capture and the ‘God Gap’
Date and time: Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Location: Goshen College Music Center’s Rieth Recital Hall
Cost: Free and open to the public
New Perspectives on Faith Lecture: Ryan Claassen: Godless Democrats and Pious Republicans? Party Activists, Party Capture and the ‘God Gap’
Date and time: Sunday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m.
Location: Goshen College Church-Chapel
Ryan Claassen Ph.D., a 1994 Goshen College alumnus and professor of American politics, public opinion and research methodology at Kent State University, will present the 2016 Yoder Public Affairs lecture at Goshen College, titled “Godless Democrats and Pious Republicans? Party Activists, Party Capture and the ‘God Gap’” on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Goshen College Music Center’s Rieth Recital Hall.
On Sunday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m., Claassen will deliver a New Perspectives on Faith presentation in the Goshen College Church-Chapel. Both events are free and open to the public, and will be followed by a short question and answer session with the audience.
Claassen is a 1994 Goshen College graduate and earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Davis in 2005.
In his book “Godless Democrats and Pious Republicans” (Cambridge University Press), Claassen carefully assesses the way campaign activists represent religious and non-religious groups in American political parties dating back to the 1960s. By providing a new theoretical framework for investigating the connections between macro social and political trends, the results challenge a conventional wisdom in which recently mobilized religious and Secular extremists captured the parties and created a God gap.
The new approach reveals that very basic social and demographic trends matter far more than previously recognized and that mobilization matters far less. The God gap in voting is real, but it was not created by Christian Right mobilization efforts and a Secular backlash. Where others see culture wars and captured parties, Claassen finds many religious divisions in American politics are artifacts of basic social changes. This very basic insight leads to many profoundly different conclusions about the motivations of religious and non-religious activists and voters.
Claassen will also speak to religion and history classes at Goshen College during his visit.
The Frank and Betty Jo Yoder Public Affairs Lecture Series is an endowed lectureship that was created for Goshen College in 1978 by Frank (1917-1996) and Betty Jo Yoder of Goshen. The goal of the series is to enable faculty, students and community to hear well-known speakers address current issues.