On September 26, Brookings hosted the first of three panel discussions on America's polarized politics. Inspired by chapters in the book Red and Blue Nation? Characteristics and Causes of America's Polarized Politics (Brookings, December 2006), the series examines the root causes of today's political polarization.
This discussion addressed religion and "moral values" in American politics, and whether the polarization today can be explained by attitudes toward religious faith. Brookings Senior Fellow E.J. Dionne, Jr., author of the book's chapter "Polarized by God? American Politics and the Religious Divide," discussed the influence of religion as an organizing and polarizing force in American politics. Dionne was joined by Alan Wolfe, professor of political science and director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College, and Karlyn H. Bowman, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI).