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University of Iowa News Release


Aug. 28, 2007

Wallis to speak on politics and faith Sept. 13 for UI Geneva Lecture Series

Noted activist, author and religious leader Jim Wallis will speak about the intersection of Biblical faith and political values in a free lecture at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union on the University of Iowa campus.

The lecture, part of the Geneva Lecture Series at the UI, will be moderated by Cary Covington, associate professor of political science in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Corwin Smidt, a professor of political science at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., will give a response to Wallis' talk. Smidt will also offer a seminar "Determinants of Attitudes Toward the Role of Religion in Public Life" from noon to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14 in Schaeffer Hall Room 140.

Wallis is author of the best-selling book "God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It," which was on The New York Times bestseller list for four months.

Wallis is also a public theologian, preacher, speaker, and international commentator on ethics and public life. He is president and executive director of Sojourners/Call to Renewal, where he is editor-in-chief of Sojourners magazine, a print and electronic publication that reaches more than 250,000 people. He also convenes a national network of churches, faith-based organizations and individuals working to overcome poverty in America.

Wallis speaks at more than 200 events each year and his columns have appeared in major newspapers including the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times; and he comments regularly on radio and television news programs. In addition, Wallis is the author of eight books and teaches the course "Faith, Politics, and Society" at Harvard University.

Wallis was raised in a Midwest evangelical Christian family. As a teenager, his questioning of the racial segregation in his church and community led him to the black churches and neighborhoods of inner city Detroit. He spent his student years involved in the civil rights and antiwar movements. While at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois, Wallis and several other students started a small magazine and community with a Christian commitment to social justice that has grown into a national faith-based organization and network. In 1979, Time magazine named Jim Wallis one of the "50 Faces for America's Future." He resides in inner-city Washington, D.C.

"Jim Wallis senses a profound hunger in America for a politics that appeals to our deepest hopes and values, not our fears and selfish interests; that speaks to the whole range of problems confronting us, not just a few 'hot-button' issues; that unites us rather than divides us. He seeks to show how a full biblical faith, put into action, speaks to that hunger. We expect that, whatever a person's religious or political views, Wallis will stimulate a positive dialogue about the interaction of faith, politics and moral values in American life," said Ed Laarman, director of the Geneva Campus Ministry.

Since 1976, the Geneva Lecture Series has brought over 65 noted Christian scholars, writers, artists and professionals in a variety of fields to speak at the UI campus.

The Geneva Lecture Series has received a $2,000 grant award from Humanities Iowa, a state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, in support of the Wallis/Smidt lecture.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Ed Laarman, Geneva Campus Ministries, 319-341-0007; George McCrory, 319-384-0012,