Last updated on: 5/15/2009 | Author:

James M. Dunn, PhD Biography

Resident Professor of Christianity and Public Policy at Wake Forest University's School of Divinity
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should the Words “under God” Be in the US Pledge of Allegiance?"

“Some suggest that government support for religion should be permitted as long as no religion is favored over another and no citizen is forced to participate. The weight of the evidence suggests the Framers considered and rejected this approach. Even benign, non-coercive endorsements of religion make outsiders of those who are nonadherents of the prevailing faith. A proper interpretation of the establishment clause ensures that one’s standing in the political community is not affected by one’s standing in the religious community.

In practical terms, the separation of church and state requires that government refrain from promoting or inhibiting religion. Neutrality – by which religion is accommodated, but never advocated, by the state – should be the touchstone for interpreting both religion clauses.”

“Religious Liberty Requires Unceasing Vigilance,” USA Today, Sep. 1996

Involvement and Affiliations:

  • Resident Professor of Christianity and Public Policy, School of Divinity, Wake Forest University, 1999-present

  • President, Baptist Joint Committee Endowment
  • Board member, Churches Center for Theology and Public Policy
  • Advisory Board member, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)

  • Recipient, Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree, Furman University, 2002
  • Recipient, Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, 2001

  • Recipient, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree, Linfield College, 1999
  • Recipient, Honorary LLD (Doctor of Laws) degree, William Jewell College, 1996
  • Recipient, Honorary LLD (Doctor of Laws) degree, Alderson-Broaddus College, 1990

  • Executive Director, Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, 1980-1999
  • Former Executive Director, Christian Life Commission
  • Former President, Bread for the World

  • Former Chairman, Ethics Commission of the Baptist World Alliance
  • Education:
  • PhD, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • MDiv, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • BA, Texas Wesleyan College

  • Other:
  • Born in Fort Worth, TX on June 17, 1932