Dates: Wednesdays; March 21–April 25

Time: 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Location: Museum of the Rockies

Since the mid-20th century, American society has experienced a number of demographic and cultural changes that have challenged conventional understandings of the relationship between politics and religion. This course examines some of the most vital and contentious issues in American politics: What is the relationship of religion to American democracy? Is the United States a Christian nation, a secular nation, or something else entirely? What exactly do we mean by “separation of church and state”? In what ways has religion shaped the politics of gender and race? Why have faith and science been so often in conflict (or have they?)?

Class Format: Lecture and discussion 

Suggested Readings/Viewings: The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language & Politics, Harding; Political Religion and Religious Politics: Navigating Identities in the US, Gutterman & Murphy; PBS 6 episode series, God in America viewable online: http:/

Instructor: Karen deVries

deVriesKaren deVries grew up in the Gallatin Valley in the 1980s. Her academic credentials include a Masters of Divinity from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a PhD in the History of Consciousness program with an emphasis in Feminist Theory at the UC/Santa Cruz. Three years ago, she returned to the Bozeman area where she has been teaching in MSU’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies minor; the Political Science Department; and the Honors College.



Kathryn Earley 2When my husband and I were looking for our place to retire, one of the places we visited was Bozeman.  While we were here we went to the library, where I happened to pick up a Wonderlust brochure.  Here was university-quality instruction by experts in a huge number of subjects.  No homework, no exams, no papers, just a chance to learn new things or review things we’d already studied.  It was also an opportunity to meet people with a wide variety of interests.  I was hooked! Over the past several years, I’ve come to feel strongly about supporting this valuable community resource for lifelong learning, and fortunately there’s a community of dedicated volunteers who feel the same way.

This past year was our first as Friends of MSU Wonderlust, whose mission is to support and promote MSU Wonderlust.  We’ve contributed funds to getting a new projector at Hope Lutheran Church, where many of our classes are held, and to Gallatin Community Radio, which broadcasts many of our Friday Forums.  We’re also sponsors of and taking part in Active Aging Week and the Prime Age 50+ Expo.

In September Friends will sponsor the MSU Wonderlust reception.  Join us at the Country Bookshelf on September 9, 5 pm – 7 pm, where you can meet instructors and other people interested in learning.  Also in September we’ll be a sponsor of the Bozeman Public Library’s celebration of Yellowstone National Park, Our Yellowstone.  

On October 3rdand 4thMSU Wonderlust is hosting an interactive symposium for practitioners and lifelong learners, Lifelong Learning: New Opportunities for Aging Communities.  This symposium, sponsored by Friends of MSU Wonderlust and MSU’s Office of Research and Development, will provide an opportunity to share knowledge, experiences, innovations, and strategies.

Save the dates: Wednesday, October 3, 5 pm – 7 pm, for the opening reception and presentation featuring Dr. Renee Reijo Pero of MSU and Dr. Rick Knopf of Arizona State, and Thursday, October 4, 9 am – 4 pm,for in-depth sessions on various topics, featuring speakers from across Montana and the U.S.  For details on the symposium and on all MSU Wonderlust program offerings, see   

Kathryn Earley, President of Friends of Wonderlust