Righteous Reckoning: Religion and the 2020 Election

Righteous Reckoning: Religion and the 2020 Election
A Conversation with Anthea Butler and Sarah Posner

Wednesday, November 18, 2020  •  3:00pm  •  Online, via Zoom

The November 2020 election has played out against a tumultuous backdrop: over 200,000 deaths from a pandemic we have failed to contain; massive social unrest over police violence and systemic racism; and apocalyptic scenes of environmental destruction resulting from climate change.

In this season of “righteous discontent,” to invoke the great historian Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, we ask how American's views and experiences of religion informed the 2020 election and what influence they might have as we unpack its aftermath.

  • In what ways have Americans’ religious and racial identities shaped their responses to the pandemic and to social unrest? What impact have these cataclysmic events had on the election?
  • How have different religious groups explained their support for different candidates? What are the religious and racial undercurrents of political rhetoric and conspiracy theories that recycle anti-Jewish and anti-Catholic propaganda?
  • What will a post-Ginsburg Supreme Court look like? What is at stake for Americans’ access to health care, education, employment, and housing across religious, racial and gender lines?
  • What is “religious freedom” and what is it likely to look like in the years to come? If religion has played a role in undermining democracy in recent years, how might religion help strengthen democracy?

Join us for a discussion of these and other questions with Anthea Butler, associate professor of religious studies and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Women in the Church of God in Christ: Making a Sanctified World, and Sarah Posner, a journalism fellow with the Recovering Truth project, reporting fellow with Type Investigations, and the author, most recently, of Unholy: Why White Evangelicals Worship at the Altar of Donald Trump.

About the speakers: 

Anthea Butler is professor of religious and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania. A historian of American and African-American religion, Butler’s research and writing spans religion and politics, religion and gender, African American religion, sexuality, media, religion, and popular culture. She is the author of and Women in the Church of God in Christ: Making A Sanctified World and is currently completing a book project on religion, race politics and evangelicals. Bulter is currently on a Religion and International Journalism grant from the American Council of Learned Societies on prosperity gospel and politics in Nigeria and regularly writes opinion pieces covering contemporary politics, religion, and race at The GuardianWashington Post, and The New York Times, as well as offered media commentary on the BBC, MSNC, CNN, and ABC.

Sarah Posner is a Reporting Fellow with Type Investigations and journalism fellow with the Recovering Truth project. Her investigative reporting and analysis on the religious right in Republican politics has appeared in Rolling Stone, The New Republic, Vice, HuffPost, The Nation, Mother Jones, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The American Prospect, Talking Points Memo, and many other publications. Posner is also author of Unholy: Why White Evangelicals Worship at the Altar of Donald Trump and God's Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters, which explores the unholy alliance between the Republican Party and prosperity televangelists.

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This event is made possible through a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation for the project, “Recovering Truth: Religion, Journalism & Democracy in a Post-Truth Era."

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 • 3:00pm
Online, via Zoom (Link provided with registration)