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Is America 'Too Damn Religious?'

Intelligence Squared U.S. Announces Debate in New York City


Fifth Debate in Series to Take Place on February 7th


Contact: Darley Newman, The Weiser Group, 212-535-9678, dnewman@weisergroup.com


NEW YORK, Jan. 17 /Christian Newswire/ -- Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2 US), an Oxford-style three-on-three debating series sponsored by The Rosenkranz Foundation, today announced the panel for its Wednesday, February 7th debate on the motion "America Is Too Damn Religious" at Asia Society and Museum in New York City. The debate is fed to National Public Radio(R) member stations across the country the following week and airs on WNYC(R) AM 820 on Friday, February 16th at 2:00 PM. This is the fifth debate of eight in the IQ2 US inaugural series addressing hot-button concerns of the day.


"Americans have very strong views on religion and its place in our society," said Robert Rosenkranz, chairman of The Rosenkranz Foundation. "Our aim is to raise the level of debate on this topic and free it of rancor and ideology."


Peter Steinfels, co-director of the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture and a New York Times columnist covering religion and ethics, will moderate the debate.


  Speakers in favor of the motion:


  • Susan Jacoby, author of Freethinkers:  A History of American Secularism and Wild Justice, The Evolution of Revenge.

  • Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and a civil-liberties lawyer who recently authored:  Piety & Politics:  The Right Wing Assault on Religious Freedom.

  • Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College.  Wolfe is a professor of political science and author of Does American Democracy Still Work? and The Transformation of American Religion:  How We Actually Practice Our Faith.


  Speakers against the motion:


  • Jean Bethke Elshtain, a political philosopher and well-known author, whose works include Public Man, Private Woman:  Women in Social Thought, The Family In Political Thought and Democracy on Trial.

  • William A. Galston, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution. Galston was Deputy Assistant to President Clinton for Domestic Policy from 1993 to 1995.

  • Albert Raboteau, a professor at Princeton University who holds the Henry W. Putnam Chair in Religion. He specializes in religion in America, with a particular focus on African-American religion and Roman Catholicism.



As is customary at IQ2 US debates, audience members will be asked to vote on the motion before and after the debate. One side is deemed the winner based on the final audience vote. The comparison of the initial vote before the debate and the final vote shows the audience and panelists how far the audience was swayed by their arguments.


IQ2 US debates slated for the 2007 Spring season include "Global Warming Is Not A Crisis" (March 14th); "Better More Domestic Surveillance Than Another 9/11" (April 18th); and "Beware the Dragon: A Booming China Spells Trouble for America" (May 16th). A 6:00 PM reception precedes each debate, which begins promptly at 6:45 PM.


Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2 US) is a New York-based initiative of The Rosenkranz Foundation. Launched in September, IQ2 US is a version of Intelligence Squared, a London-based debate program that attracts sell-out crowds of London's opinion leaders. For more information about IQ2 US, please visit http://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/.


The Rosenkranz Foundation was established in 1985 to encourage the highest levels of achievement and innovation in public policy, higher education and the arts. It seeks to promote fresh and effective intellectual perspectives. The foundation is committed to promoting intellectual diversity in public policy discourse and higher education. For more information about The Rosenkranz Foundation, please visit www.rosenkranzfdn.org/.