Religion and Public Life Program to host April events

Rice’s Religion and Public Life Program (RPLP) will host events April 10 and 14 focusing on modern-day religious issues.

Pictured from left to right: Robert Wuthnow, Jennifer Wiseman, Donald Nesti and Philip Clayton

The April 10 event, “Red State Religion: Faith and Politics in Kansas and Texas,” will take place from noon to 1 p.m. in Rice Memorial Chapel. A lunch reception will be held in Ray Courtyard after the talk.

The event will include a lecture by Robert Wuthnow, professor of sociology at Princeton University. He will discuss his two recent books: “Red State Religion: Faith and Politics in America’s Heartland” and “Rough Country: How Texas Became America’s Most Powerful Bible Belt State.”

The April 14 event, “A Public Conversation on Religious Understandings of Science,” will be held at 7 p.m. in Duncan Hall’s McMurtry Auditorium. A dessert reception will follow in Martel Hall.

Elaine Howard Ecklund

Elaine Howard Ecklund

During the event, Elaine Howard Ecklund, the Herbert S. Autrey Professor of Sociology and director of the RPLP, will present initial findings from her latest research in cooperation with the Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion (DoSER) program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The study is the largest survey to date of what religious people think about different scientific issues, from stem cells to evolution to climate change.

Ecklund will be joined by panelists Jennifer Wiseman, director of the DoSER program of the AAAS; Philip Clayton, professor of theology at Claremont School of Theology; and Donald Nesti, director of the Center for Faith and Culture at University of St. Thomas.

Both events are free and open to the public. For more information on RPLP, visit

About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.