Coe Thursday Forum to explore religion and politics on the world stage

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Secretary of the College
(319) 399-8605 or

2018-03-22 08:45:36 - General

Lynda Barrow
Lynda Barrow,
Professor of Political Science

Headlines, crises and a diverse cast of characters – how can we make sense of religion's role on the world political stage? These questions and much more will be discussed by Political Science Professor Lynda Barrow in the last Coe Thursday Forum presentation of the academic year. "Saints, Sinners and Secularists: Religion and Politics on the World Stage" will be presented April 5, 12, 19 and 26.

Thursday Forum presentations are held in Kesler Lecture Hall in Hickok Hall on the Coe campus. Each session begins with registration and refreshments from 8:45-9:15 a.m., followed by the class until 11:30 a.m. An optional luncheon is offered at the conclusion of the series on April 26.

Does religion tend to be a force for conflict or peacemaking? When is a conflict (e.g., Northern Ireland's "Troubles") really about religion? Why do states' leaders play the "religion card"? Is the so-called "Islamic State" either Islamic or a state? Are we witnessing a "clash of civilizations"?

To answer such questions, Professor Barrow will explore the trends, theories, assumptions and individuals behind the front-page news. Each session begins with a couple of scenes, specific events that depict key aspects of the nexus between religion and world politics. For instance: How did Bono make Senator Helms cry? Was Pope Pius XII really "Hitler's pope"? Why did Saddam Hussein, a secular ruler, declare a holy war? What is "holy war," anyway?

These scenes are entryways into the bigger picture, including global trends (the waning and waxing of religion's role in politics) as well as globalization, the rise of Islamism, resurgent nationalism, and the "hotter bits" of religion. Since these hotter bits are especially found in Christianity and Islam, discussions will focus on these two world religions and the fault lines within and between them.

The Coe College Thursday Forum Series

Coe College Thursday Forum courses are open to all adults. Admission to the entire four-week course can be purchased for $35 on the first day or in advance. Admission to individual lectures is $12 per week. The closing luncheon costs an additional $8. Payment can be made in person on Thursday mornings by cash or personal check. Credit card payments can be processed online only. For more information about paying by credit card or directly from a checking account, or to order gift certificates, call (319) 399-8623.