New York Times Columnist Ross Douthat to Speak at Third Annual Niebuhr Forum on Religion in Public Life

October 4, 2012 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

Ross Douthat is a Catholic conservative and the youngest opinion columnist in the history of The New York Times.

His latest book, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, is a compelling critique of contemporary Christianity.

Douthat will discuss his new book on Thursday, October 11, during the Third Annual Niebuhr Forum on Religion in Public Life at Elmhurst College.

Douthat advocates a return to authentic tradition and genuine communitarianism in the face of self-centered spirituality (on the left) and wealth-obsessed evangelicalism (on the right). “Both doubters and believers have benefited from the role that institutional Christianity has traditionally played in our national life,” he says, citing Christianity’s “communal role, as a driver of assimilation and a guarantor of social peace, and its prophetic role, as a curb against our national excesses and a constant reminder of our national ideals.”

In Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, Douthat charts institutional Christianity’s decline from a vigorous, mainstream and bipartisan faith through the culture wars of the 1960s and 1970s to the polarizing debates of the present day.

Before joining The New York Times as an Op-Ed columnist in 2009, Douthat was a senior editor at the Atlantic and a blogger for He is the author of Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class (Hyperion, 2005) and the co-author, with Reihan Salam, of Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream (Doubleday, 2008).

Douthat’s lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 11, in the Founders Lounge of the Frick Center. A book signing will follow the lecture. Admission is $10 for the general public and free for Elmhurst College students, faculty, staff and alumni. Tickets are available at the door or online. For more information, call (630) 617-3390.

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