John Phillips Professor in Religion, Dartmouth College
discussing his new book
“Solemn Reverence: The Separation of Church and State in American Life”
A prize-winning historian and Emmy Award nominee, Randall Balmer earned the Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1985 and taught as Professor of American Religious History at Columbia University for twenty-seven years before becoming the Mandel Family Professor in the Arts & Sciences at Dartmouth College in 2012; two years later, he was named Dartmouth Professor in the Arts & Sciences, and in 2015 he was named to the John Phillips Chair in Religion, the oldest endowed professorship at Dartmouth. In 2014, he was named the inaugural director of the Society of Fellows at Dartmouth. He has been a visiting professor at Princeton, Yale, Northwestern, and Emory universities and in the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was a visiting professor at Yale Divinity School from 2004 to 2008.
Dr. Balmer has published widely in both scholarly journals and in the popular press. His op-ed articles have appeared in newspapers across the country, including the Los Angeles Times, the Des Moines Register, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Dallas Morning News, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Hartford Courant, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Anchorage Daily News, and the New York Times. His work has also appeared in the New Republic, the New York Times Book Review, Christian Century, the Nation, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Washington Post Book World. Dr. Balmer is regularly asked to comment on religion in American life, and he has appeared frequently on network television, on NPR, and on both the Colbert Report and the Daily Show, with Jon Stewart. He has been an expert witness in several First Amendment cases, including Snyder v. Phelps and Glassroth v. Moore, the so-called Alabama Ten Commandments case.
Dr. Balmer has published more than a dozen books (you can find his books at Powell’s and on Amazon, including “Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter and “The Making of Evangelicalism: From Revivalism to Politics and Beyond.” His second book, “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America”, now in its fifth edition, was made into an award-winning, three-part documentary for PBS. Dr. Balmer wrote and hosted that series as well as a two-part series on creationism and a documentary on Billy Graham. He has lectured around the country in such venues as the Commonwealth Club of California and the Chautauqua Institution and, under the auspices of the State Department, in Austria and Lebanon.
Randall Balmer was ordained an Episcopal priest on December 7, 2006, by the bishops of both the Diocese of Connecticut and the Diocese of the Rio Grande. He has served as rector of two parishes in Connecticut and as a reader for the General Board of Examining Chaplains. In addition, he has advised the Episcopal Church on legal matters, and he has been a lecturer for several diocesan clergy retreats. He is canonically resident in the Diocese of Connecticut, and he is licensed in both the Diocese of New Hampshire and the Diocese of Vermont.