“Religion and Democracy: Allies or Antagonists?”

“Religion and Democracy: Allies or Antagonists?” is the topic of the fifth annual Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture on Democracy in the World, which will be delivered by Jean Bethke Elshtain on Wednesday, November 12, at 6:00 pm at the Embassy of Canada in Washington, DC. Dr. Elshtain’s remarks will address themes that include the inseparability of American democracy from religion, the prospects for democracy in the Islamic world, and the essential role played by civil society in determining the health of any democracy.

Dr. Jean Bethke Elshtain is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. A political philosopher whose task has been to show the connections between our political and ethical convictions, her many books include Public Man, Private Woman: Women in Social Thought; The Family in Political Thought; Meditations on Modern Political Thought; Women and War; Democracy on Trial (a New York Times “Notable Book” for 1995); Augustine and the Limits of Politics; Real Politics: Political Theory and Everyday Life; New Wine in Old Bottles: Politics and Ethical Discourse; and Who Are We? Critical Reflections, Hopeful Possibilities, for which she received the Theologos Award for Best Academic Book 2000 by the Association of Theological Booksellers. In 2003, she published Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World, which was named one of the best non-fiction books of 2003 by Publishers Weekly. In 2006, she was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and also delivered the prestigious Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh, joining such previous Gifford Lecturers as William James, Hannah Arendt, Karl Barth, and Reinhold Niebuhr. Elshtain’s lectures were published in June 2008 in her latest book, Soveriegnty: God, State, and Self.

The Lipset Lecture, which is cosponsored by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the Munk Centre for International Studies of the University of Toronto, is named for one of the great scholars of democracy and public intellectuals of the twentieth century. “Marty Lipset’s scholarship on themes like the conditions for democracy, political parties, voting behavior and public opinion constitutes one of the most prolific and insightful bodies of work on democracy ever produced by a single author,” said NED President Carl Gershman.

Lipset, who died in December 2006, was also one of the most important comparative analysts of the two great democracies of North America, and a strong advocate for US-Canadian cooperation. The joint US-Canadian sponsorship of the Lipset Lecture provides an opportunity for influential audiences in both countries to hear and discuss a major intellectual statement on democracy each year and serves as a catalyst for further cooperation between Canada and the United States in the promotion of democracy and democratic ideas around the world. The lecture also serves as an intellectual platform for men and women who, like Lipset, have made important contributions to our thinking about key issues of democracy through their writings and other accomplishments.

For more information on the National Endowment for Democracy, please visit www.ned.org.
For more information on the Embassy of Canada, please visit www.canadianembassy.org.

This event is open to the media. Press should RSVP to Jane Jacobsen at 202-378-9700 or jane@ned.org.

Who: Jean Bethke Elshtain, National Endowment for Democracy, Embassy of Canada
What: Fourth Annual Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture on Democracy in the World
Where: Embassy of Canada, 501 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC
When: Wednesday, November 12, 2008, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.