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Tim Kaine, Religion & Democracy: Reflections from a Life in Public Service


Senator Tim Kaine delivered the 2020 Joseph Smith Lecture on Thursday, Nov. 5. This year’s program was jointly hosted by the University of Virginia’s Department of Religion and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. Batten School Dean Ian H. Solomon provided introductory remarks, followed by a lecture from Senator Kaine and questions from the audience. Bushman Professor of Mormon Studies Kathleen Flake served as moderator.

The Senator has helped people throughout his life as a missionary, civil rights lawyer, teacher, and elected official. He is one of only 30 people in American history to have served as a Mayor, Governor and United States Senator. He currently serves on the Armed Services; Budget; Foreign Relations; and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committees. He is Ranking Member of the Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee and the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism.

After graduating from the University of Missouri, Senator Kaine started his public service career by running a technical school founded by Jesuit missionaries in Honduras, equipping teenagers with skills to lift up themselves and their communities. He has described these years as his “North Star” which reinforced three core values that guide his personal and professional life today: “Fè, familia, y trabajo” – “Faith, family, and work.” As the 2020 Joseph Smith Lecturer, the Senator will reflect on the role of religion in sustaining democracy and its political institutions.


Full Lecture