Robert P. Jones Speaks on the Shifting Role of Religion in American Politics

October 12, 2012

Two days after the general election, Jones will analyze what we saw

Free lecture: Thursday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. 

TACOMA, Wash. – Fresh after the excitement of the U.S. election on November 6, leading scholar and commentator Robert P. Jones will give a talk offering his views on the role that religion played in the political outcome.

The free, Thursday, Nov. 8 lecture may not produce the answers that everyone expects—for the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) that Jones founded and directs has been busy exploding common myths about public voting patterns.

For example, the PRRI examined issues such as: Are abortion and gay marriage really pivotal issues for Catholic voters? Are the values of the Tea Party and religious right truly the domain of white, working-class Americans?  Are ignorance of President Obama’s Christian religion and wariness of Gov. Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith influencing voting patterns?

Jones, who is regularly featured on CNN and NPR, and in The New York Times and The Washington Post, will address these issues and more in a free lecture titled “Beyond Value Voters: The Shifting Role of Religion in American Politics.” The talk will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, in Schneebeck Concert Hall. Entrance is complimentary, but tickets are required. See below for more information.

In addition to analyzing the election, Jones will discuss the results of new PRRI survey reports that will be released that week. He will look at how religion traditionally divided and swayed voters, and how this has changed in recent decades, influenced by factors such as immigration, economic shifts, lifestyle changes, new generational thinking, and mass media.

The public will be invited to ask questions, and all attendees are welcome to a reception following the lecture in Rasmussen Rotunda in the Wheelock Student Center. The talk is presented by the Swope Endowed Lectureship on Ethics, Religion, Faith, and Values.

Robert P. Jones is the founding chief executive officer of PRRI, as well as a writer and commentator on religion, values, and public life. His weekly column, “Figuring Faith,” appears in The Washington Post, and he is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles on religion and public policy. He served for six years on the religion and politics steering committee of the American Academy of Religion, and he is on the editorial board for Politics and Religion, a journal of the American Political Science Association.

Jones is also a member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, The Society of Christian Ethics, and the American Association for Public Opinion Research. Earlier he worked as a senior research fellow at a number of Washington, D.C., think tanks and taught at Missouri State University.

His two academic books are Progressive & Religious: How Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist Leaders are Moving Beyond the Culture Wars and Transforming American Public Life;and Liberalism’s Troubled Search for Equality. Jones holds a Ph.D. in religion degree from Emory University, and a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The Swope Endowed Lectureship on Ethics, Religion, Faith, and Values was established at University of Puget Sound through a gift from Major Ianthe Swope in honor of her mother. The Jane Hammer Swope Lectureship is intended to promote broad discussions and ethical inquiry about matters of religion, such as its role in public life, and about issues in contemporary spirituality, ethics, and world religions.

FOR TICKETS: The lecture is free, but ticketed. Tickets can be ordered online at, by telephone at 253.879.6013, or picked up at Wheelock Information Center on campus. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door. The doors open at 7 p.m. The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m.

For more about Robert P. Jones and the PRRI visit:

For directions and a map of the
For accessibility information please contact or 253.879.3236.

Press photos of Robert P. Jones can be downloaded from:

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