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Dr. Anthea Butler, “Civil Religions: Evangelicals and Latter-day Saints in Civic Spaces”

Dr. Anthea Butler, Geraldine R. Segal Professor in American Social Thought and Chair of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, delivered the Ninth Annual Joseph Smith Lecture on October 14th, 2023, entitled “Civil Religions: Comparing Latter-day Saints and Evangelicals in Civic Spaces.”






Professor Butler spoke on the role religion is playing and could constructively play in America’s moral politics.

A historian of African American and American religion, Professor Butler’s research and writing spans African American religion and history, race, politics, Evangelicalism, gender and sexuality, media, and popular culture. She is the winner of the 2022 Martin E. Marty Award for Public Understanding of Religion from the American Academy of Religion. Her most recent book is White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America. Currently Professor Butler is a co-director of the Henry Luce Foundation funded Crossroads Project for Black Religious Histories, Communities, and Cultures. She is past President of the American Society for Church History and the Society of Pentecostal Studies. A sought-after commentator, Professor Butler is an op-ed contributor for MSNBC. Her articles have also been featured in the New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NBC, and The Guardian. She has also served as a consultant to PBS series including Billy Graham, The Black Church, God in America and Aimee Semple McPherson.

In addition to her Lecture, Dr. Butler participated in a workshop discussing the state of research in Mormonism in Africa and the African Diaspora.


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