Dr. Randall Balmer of Columbia University will present the address "Taking the Country Back: The Religious Right in Historical and Contemporary Perspective" as the 2007 Danforth Lecture at Hope College on Monday, March 12, at 3:30 p.m. in the Maas Center auditorium.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

Balmer is the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of American Religion at Barnard College of Columbia University.

He has published widely both in academic and scholarly journals and in the popular press, and he is editor-at-large for "Christianity Today." His commentaries on religion in America, distributed by "The New York Times," have appeared in newspapers across the country, and one of his essays, "Adirondack Fundamentalism," appears in the Ninth Edition of "The Norton Reader."

His first book, "A Perfect Babel of Confusion: Dutch Religion and English Culture in the Middle Colonies," won several awards, and his second book, "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America," was made into a three-part documentary for PBS. Balmer was nominated for an Emmy for his script-writing on that series.

His second documentary, "Crusade: The Life of Billy Graham," was aired on PBS and also appeared in A&E's "Biography" series. "'In the Beginning': The Creationist Controversy," a two-part documentary on the creation-evolution debate, was first broadcast over PBS in May 1995 and then recut and broadcast in fall 2001.

Balmer has co-written a history of American Presbyterians and a book on mainline Protestantism. His most recent books are "The Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism," published by Baylor University Press, and "Religion in Twentieth Century America," part of the Religion in American Life series, published by Oxford University Press. He is currently at work on a history of religion in North America.

A spiritual memoir, "Growing Pains: Learning to Love My Father's Faith," was published by Brazos Press in the fall of 2001 and named "book of the year" (spirituality) by "Christianity Today" the following year.

Balmer has lectured at the Chautauqua Institution and the Smithsonian Associates and to audiences around the country. He has been a visiting professor at Rutgers, Yale, Drew, Princeton, and Northwestern universities, and at Union Theological Seminary, where he is also an adjunct professor. He holds his Ph.D. from Princeton University.

The Danforth Lecture is sponsored by the Hope College department of religion with support from an endowment established by the Danforth Foundation of St. Louis, Mo. The program was established by the foundation "to deepen and enlarge the religious dimension of the campus family through speakers who can reflect on the broad, interdenominational and yet positive sense of the Judaeo-Christian perspectives of life and existence."

Some of the many distinguished scholars who have visited the campus through the program in the past include Dr. Diana L. Eck, a faculty member and director of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University; Dr. Stanley M. Hauerwas of the Divinity School at Duke University; Dr. Martin E. Marty of the University of Chicago Divinity School; Dr. Phyllis Trible of Union Theological Seminary; Dr. Jon D. Levenson of Harvard University; and Dr. Daniel Maguire of Marquette University.

The Maas Center is located at 264 Columbia Ave., on Columbia at 11th Street.