A Conversation on the Intersection of Religion and Politics


Two nationally known journalists who specialize in the coverage of religion will visit the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics on Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 5:30 p.m. to discuss religion and the 2020 election.  The journalists are Terry Mattingly, a senior fellow at the center and editor of the daily blog GetReligion.org, and Richard Ostling, a former chief religion writer for The Associated Press and a former senior correspondent for Time Magazine.

          “The intersection of religion and politics is often misunderstood or stereotyped. This year’s presidential election will definitely be influenced by religion. Our discussion should offer fresh insights into what to expect in the upcoming primaries and general election,” said Charles Overby, chairman of the center, who will moderate the conversation with Mattingly and Ostling.

          For 17 years, Mattingly’s GetReligion blog has offered a daily critique of mainstream media coverage of religion news and trends. His blog has included essays by Ostling and other veteran religion-beat professionals.  Mattingly also writes a weekly “On Religion” column for the Universal syndicate, which distributes the column to about 300 newsrooms in North America.

          In announcing Mattingly’s appointment as a senior fellow Overby said: “I have followed Terry’s work for many years and consider him the premier religion columnist in the country. He is a keen observer of how religion affects politics and public policy, and he will add another voice and perspective for our programs dealing with First Amendment freedoms.”

          Richard Ostling is the co-author, along with his late wife, Joan, of “Mormon America: The Power and the Promise,” which The New York Times called “eminently fair, well-researched and exhaustive.”  Ostling is also the co-author, with Bernard Nathanson, of “Aborting America: A History of the Abortion Rights Movement in the United States.”

          In more than 25 years at Time magazine, Ostling wrote articles on the rise of fundamentalist Christianity, including cover stories on Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart.

          The Feb. 18 event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Overby Center Auditorium on the University Mississippi campus. A reception will follow the program. Parking will be available in the lot adjacent to the auditorium.