The Weekly Blog: 2/14/07

NOTE: This post was originally published at princetonalumniweekly.blogspot.com/

The religion gap

Are Democrats really “anti-religious”? Harvard economist Richard Parker, the son of an Episcopal minister and a co-founder of Mother Jones, examined the question in this semester’s first installment of the Crossroads of Religion and Politics Lecture Series at Robertson Hall Feb. 13. The idea that Democrats have a “God problem” is widely acknowledged, Parker said. But he raised doubts about the significance of the issue, partly by using data from same paper often used to back claim, the Pew Research Center publication “Do the Democrats Have a ‘God Problem’?: How Public Perceptions May Spell Trouble for the Party.” Three quarters of voters in the last presidential election were not regular church goers, Parker said, and while Democrats have less homogenous viewpoints on religion than Republicans, members of both parties overwhelmingly say they believe in God (about 80 percent of Democrats and about 90 percent of Republicans).

“While there is some kind of a God gap between the two parties, it’s just one of many gaps between the two parties today,” said Parker, who added that other issues, including the war in Iraq, proved more significant in the 2006 midterm elections.

The Crossroads series, sponsored by the Center for the Study of Religion, will include two more installments in March: former Sen. Gary Hart will speak about “God and Caesar in America” March 6 at 4:30 p.m., and former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and to Egypt Daniel Kurtzer, the S. Daniel Abraham Professor in Middle Eastern Policy Studies, will address “Ethical Issues and Dilemmas in the Formulation of National Security Policy” March 27 at 4:30 p.m. Both lectures will be held in Bowl 016 at Robertson Hall.

Ice hockey, lake style

The ice on Lake Carnegie swelled the ranks of hockey players at Princeton on the sunny afternoon of Feb. 10. At center, with his eye on the puck, is Scott Mildrum, a data research analyst in the economics department.

Photo by Frank Wojciechowski

February’s finest

This week’s PAW online columns highlight Princeton’s take on two February holidays. On the Campus writer Bridget Reilly Durkin ’07 looks at the joys of Valentine’s Day, from the simple romance of sledding with a special someone to students sharing a “Crush” for a cause. In his Under the Ivy column, Gregg Lange ’70 marks the 275th anniversary of Washington’s birthday with a look back at the first president’s connections to Old Nassau.

Making a splash

Princeton women’s swimming will try for its second straight championship and its seventh title in eight years at the Ivy League Swimming and Diving Championships Feb. 15-17 at DeNunzio Pool. The Tigers return several talented swimmers from the team that edged out Harvard last year, but their most important contributor may be a newcomer to the Ivy meet, Alicia Aemisegger ’10, who won three individual events in the annual H-Y-P meet earlier this month and has been piling up school records all season. The Ivy League will provide a live blog of the women’s swimming championships at psychesheet.blogspot.com.

From print to film and back to print

Richard Powell ’30’s novel The Philadelphian, touted as an exposé and indictment of blue-blooded Philadelphia society, was immortalized on the screen in the 1959 film The Young Philadelphians, starring Paul Newman and Robert Vaughn. Now, 50 years after the book’s release, Powell’s daughter has worked with Plexus Publishing to republish the novel, originally printed by Charles Scribner’s Sons. The saga of a family of humble origins climbing the Philadelphia social ladder spans four generations, starting with the immigration of a poor Irish girl in 1857 and ending with her great grandson, a young defense lawyer, in a climactic courtroom scene. Powell, who died in 1999, was a prolific writer, and several of his novels were made into feature films. For information about other books by alumni and faculty, visit New Books at PAW online.

Posted by Brett Tomlinson, with reporting by Katherine Federici Greenwood.