Asbury Hosts Public Policy and Political Discourse Researchers – Asbury University
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Asbury Hosts Public Policy and Political Discourse Researchers

Author Kaitlyn Schiess and Ph.D. Candidate Abbie Wood discuss politics and the Bible

October 3, 2023

Kaitlyn Schiess

In September, the Asbury Honors Program hosted Kaitlyn Schiess on the topic of “The Ballot and the Bible: Scripture and Public Life,” and The Joe Pitts Center for Public Policy welcomed Ph.D. Candidate Abbie Wood to present her research of “When Justices Go Public: Supreme Court Members, Public Statements, and Court Legitimacy.”

“It was really exciting for the Asbury Honors Program to bring author and scholar Kaitlyn Schiess to campus,” said Honors Program Director Dr. Paul Nesselroade. “With her new book being released a few weeks ago, our students were among the first audiences to hear what she had learned from her research.”

Schiess is an author, speaker, and theology student. She is the author of “The Ballot and the Bible: How Scripture has been Used and Abused in American Politics and Where We Go from Here” (Brazos, 2023) and “The Liturgy of Politics: Spiritual Formation for the Sake of Our Neighbor” (IVP, 2020). Her writing has appeared in Christianity Today, The New York Times, Christ and Pop Culture, RELEVANT, and Sojourner.

In her presentation, Schiess discussed how American history can teach us important lessons about how to read and interpret the Bible for our political lives in the present. She argued that there is both promise and peril when it comes to using the Bible in politics, because Scripture’s powerful language and stories can be misused and abused for harmful political ends.

“This topic is so important because we are entering an election season in which biblical references will inevitably be invoked in support of all kinds of policies and politicians,” said Schiess. “We need to learn how to think critically about how the Bible is being used in politics and learn the kinds of habits and practices that can make us the kind of people who can hear the word of the Lord and obey.”

In the Joe Pitts Center for Public Policy, Wood offered insight about public statements from the Supreme Court.

Abbie Wood

“It is a great privilege for our students and community members to hear from a fine young scholar just up the road at the University of Kentucky,” said Professor of Political Science Dr. Steve Clements. “Abbie is doing fascinating doctoral studies on how Supreme Court justices have over the past couple of decades increased their outreach to public audiences.  Her presentation nicely illustrated how a political scientist frames such a study, produces data to analyze, and reaches plausible conclusions about her topic.”

As a Ph.D. candidate in political science, Wood researches and collects public documents dealing with analyses of the Supreme Court based on their case opinions, as well as records of justices speaking out in public via interviews, speeches, and op-eds in papers or magazines. Her presentation discussed how those public statements affect the legitimacy of the Court itself.

“In this day and age, politics is vastly influencing every aspect of individuals’ lives,” said Wood. “Therefore, being well-informed about the actions of courts and Congress is especially crucial for college students as they navigate their future careers and lives.”

The Asbury University Honors Program invites students to join a community of scholars engaged in a themed enrichment experience which gives particular focus to the concept of human value and dignity and the virtuous life. Learn more:

The Joe Pitts Center for Public Policy provides an opportunity to expand the University’s civic engagement through focusing on human trafficking, humanitarian relief, cultural renewal, preparation for public service, and religious freedom (domestic and international). Learn more: