Diversity and Stability
...The first clause of the First Amendment, with its guarantee of free exercise of religion and the proscription against religious establishment, has made a particular contribution to American political stability, I shall argue, because religious freedom has siphoned off social discontent that might otherwise find expression in the political sphere....
American author, educator, filmmaker, and Episcopal priest. Born in Chicago, Balmer received an extensive religious education culminating in a Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1985 and his ordination as an Episcopal priest in 2006. He has authored many articles and more than a dozen books, including Religion in Twentieth Century America (2001) and a memoir, Growing Pains: Learning to Love My Father's Faith (2001). His most recent book is The Making of Evangelicalism: From Revivalism to Politics and Beyond (2010). Balmer made an Emmy-nominated documentary of his second book, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Sub-culture in America (1989, 4th ed. 2006), and he has produced documentaries on the life of evangelist Billy Graham and the creation-evolution debate. The editor of Christianity Today, Balmer is a professor of American religious history at Barnard College, Columbia University. See also columbia.edu/cu/religion/faculty-data/ randall-balmer/faculty.html.