University of Pittsburgh
October 5, 2004

Pitt Public Forum to Explore "The God Gap" In Presidential Politics Oct. 11

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh's William Pitt Debating Union will conduct a public forum "Red God, Blue God: The God Gap in Presidential Politics: Is It Real?" from noon to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 11 in William Pitt Union (WPU) Assembly Room, 3959 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

"God Gap" forum panelists are Shaun Casey, assistant professor of Christian Ethics and director of the National Capital Semester for Seminarians program at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.; Michael Cromartie, vice president at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.; and David Barker, assistant professor of political science at Pitt. David Shribman, executive editor and vice president of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, will moderate the event.

"Not since the presidential election of 1960 has a candidate's faith played such a key role among the electorate as we are now witnessing in 2004," said Gordon Mitchell, associate professor in Pitt's Department of Communication and director of debate. "With the linkage between faith and politics emerging as a key variable in the 2004 election, journalists and voters are taking a keen interest in a number of questions that relate to the so-called 'God Gap.'"

Participants will explore such questions as: What lies beneath the headlines of recent research that appears to show that the more religious a person is the more likely he or she is to vote Republican? How are both political parties capitalizing on the linkage between beliefs and expression in faith and politics? On the issues and agendas chosen for debate, how are the candidates' actual positions consistent with fundamental values of the Judeo-Christian tradition? Among a divided American electorate, how is faith influencing political choices and how are political conflicts spilling over into sanctuaries of worship?

The forum will include an opening statement, a discussion period with Pitt student debaters, and an audience question-and-answer session.

For more information, call 412-624-2887.