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Lycoming College will host Dr. David L. Holmes, author and professor of religious studies emeritus at the College of William and Mary, for a free public lecture, titled "God and the White House: Religion and the Presidency in American History," on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at 6:30 p.m. in Mary Lindsay Welch Honors Hall. During his two-day visit to Lycoming, Holmes also plans to speak at a variety of courses in history, political science and religion.
At the lecture, Holmes will discuss his new book, "The Faith of the Postwar Presidents." His earlier work, "The Faiths of the Founding Fathers," was an acclaimed look at the spiritual beliefs of such iconic Americans as Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and established Holmes as a measured voice in the heated debate over the new nation's religious underpinnings. With the same judicious approach, Holmes' new book looks at the role of faith in the lives of the 12 presidents who have served since the end of World War II.
Holmes examines not only the beliefs professed by each president but also the variety of possible influences on their religious faith, such as their upbringing, education and the faith of their spouse. In each profile, close observers such as clergy, family members, friends and advisors recall churchgoing habits, notable displays of faith, or lack of it, and the influence of their faiths on policies concerning abortion, the death penalty, Israel and other controversial issues.
Whether discussing John F. Kennedy's philandering and secularity or Richard Nixon's betrayal of Billy Graham's trust during Watergate, Holmes includes telling and often colorful details not widely known or long forgotten.
Lycoming College is a four-year, residential liberal arts and sciences school dedicated to the undergraduate education of 1,400 students. Located near the banks of the Susquehanna River in Williamsport, Pa., the College fosters academic rigor, a supportive faculty and successful outcomes. It offers 36 academic majors and is recognized as a Tier 1 educational institution by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1812, Lycoming is one of the 50 oldest colleges in the nation.