Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

Willamette U Think features expert on the separation of church and state

Steven K. Green, Fred H. Paulus Professor of Law; Director of the Center for Religion, Law & DemocracySteven K. Green, Fred H. Paulus Professor of Law; Director of the Center for Religion, Law & Democracy

On Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m., Willamette University’s U Think series features law professor, litigator, historian and author Steven K. Green, who will present “How America Became a Christian Nation – and Other Myths.”

Green will discuss the widely held but indeterminate belief that Christian values and traditions underlie the nation's founding principles – that America is "one nation under God." He’ll explore how this idea arose, why it is so compelling and the practical implications of claims that America is a "Christian nation." He will also discuss related myths: that people settled America in pursuit of religious freedom; and that the Founders were deeply religious men who intended for government to reinforce religious values.

Green earned a doctorate in American constitutional history and master’s in American religious history from the University of North Carolina, a law degree from the University of Texas, and a bachelor’s in history and political science from Texas Christian University in addition to post-graduate study at Duke law and divinity schools.

Green is a widely sought speaker at national conferences and a prolific author whose writings have been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and others. His latest book, “The Bible, the School, and the Constitution,” will be released on Feb. 1 by Oxford Press and follows “The Second Disestablishment: Church and State in Nineteenth-Century America.”

Willamette U Think features professors in an informal environment. The free presentations are geared for the public, and no background knowledge is needed. A question and answer session will follow the talk.

At 189 Liberty St. NE, between Court and State Streets in downtown Salem, Brown's Towne Lounge is open to adults over 21. Tables fill quickly, so arrive early to enjoy food and drink specials before the discussion.