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Religion and Politics Speaker Bios

Jones Photo Dr. Robert P. Jones, Ph.D is a leading scholar in both the academy and public policy circles. He is the author two academic books and numerous peer-review articles on religion and public policy.
Dr. Jones writes a weekly column for PRRI’s “Figuring Faith” blog at the Washington Post’s On Faith section. Dr. Jones is one of six members of the national steering committee for the Religion and Politics Section at the American Academy of Religion and serves on the editorial board for the journal “Religion and Politics,” a journal of the American Political Science Association. He is also an active member of the Society of Christian Ethics and the American Association of Public Opinion Research. He holds a Ph.D. in religion from Emory University, where he specialized in sociology of religion, politics, and religious ethics. He also holds a M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Before founding PRRI, Dr. Jones worked as a consultant and senior research fellow at several think tanks in Washington, DC, and was assistant professor of religious studies at Missouri State University.  Dr. Jones’s work is frequently featured in major national media. Dr. Jones’ two books areProgressive & Religious: How Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist Leaders are Moving Beyond the Culture Wars and Transforming American Public Life and Liberalism’s Troubled Search for Equality.

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Susan Pace Hamill has been a Professor of Law at the University of Alabama since 1994 teaching in the areas of tax law, business organizations and ethics. Since completing the masters in theological studies degree at the Beeson Divinity School of Samford University during her first sabbatical her scholarship has focused on evaluating tax policy under the moral principles of Judeo-Christian ethics. Her 2002 article attacking Alabama's state and local tax laws on faith-based grounds received national attention, including a front page story in the Wall Street Journal and being named on the list of best ideas for the New York Times in 2003. In 2006 she published an article criticizing the federal tax policy trends of the Bush administration and her most recent scholarship, which was the subject of a feature article in the New York Times on December 25, 2007, illustrates why the state and local policy of thirty-one states grossly violates the moral principles of Judeo-Christian ethics. Professor Hamill has also published numerous articles, and, a chapter in BUSINESS TAX STORIES, focusing on business organizations, especially limited liability companies. Before joining the law faculty Professor Hamill practiced tax law in New York City and served as a government attorney for the Chief Counsel's Office of the Internal Revenue Service in Washington DC. She received her B.A. (in English and History) from Emory University (after first completing the A.A. degree from Oxford College), her J.D. (magna cum laude) from Tulane University (where she served on the Tulane Law Review), and her LL.M (in taxation) from New York University (where she served on the Tax Law Review). Professor Hamill's work to improve the state of Alabama includes publishing an article arguing, on faith-based moral grounds, that the state should provide drug courts in all counties and serving on the board of directors of the University of Alabama Wesley Foundation, the Alabama Poverty Project and Turning Point, an organization dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in West Alabama. On a pro bono basis she served as an expert witness and authored an amicus curiae brief for the 11th Circuit in a lawsuit challenging Alabama's property tax structure on race-based equal protection grounds and continues to assist the plaintiffs as a consultant. She is married, the mother of two, and a member of the United Methodist Church.

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Rev. Linda Hanna Walling is the Executive Director of Faithful Reform in Health Care, the largest interfaith coalition of national, state and local organizations and individuals supporting comprehensive and compassionate health care reform in the United States. She founded this coalition in early 2007 after serving for seven years as the Faith Project Director of the Universal Health Care Action Network (UHCAN). In this position she has co-authored several editions of "Seeking Justice in Health Care: A Guide of Advocates in Faith Communities," and has written numerous articles, study resources, and tool kits for advocates. Most recently she coordinated the development of an amicus brief in support of the moral argument for Medicaid expansions in the Affordable Care Act. Linda is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), in which she serves as a Senior Advisor in Health Care Reform for the Disciples Center for Public Witness. Previously, she served for thirty years in congregational ministries in Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Georgia, and Ohio. She has served on the Disciples' national governing Board and its Executive Committee; chaired the church's Division of Higher Education, and presided as Moderator of the denomination's largest region. Linda lives in Cleveland, OH. Her husband is also a Disciples minister. Her daughter is a Peace Corps volunteer focusing on public health in Madagascar and her son is a freshman at the Ohio State University.

Parham photo Robert M. Parham is the founder and executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics, better known by its Web Reared in Nigeria as the child of missionaries, he has a doctorate from Baylor University, the master's of divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a bachelor's in foreign service from Georgetown University. He is the author of Walk Right: A Christian Guide for Proactive Discipleship, Loving Neighbors Across Time: A Christian Guide to Protecting the Earth and What Shall We Do in a Hungry World? He is a regular contributor to the Washington Post's "On Faith" Web page. His columns have appeared in daily newspapers such as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dallas Morning News, Orlando Sentinel and Tennessean. In addition to appearing on Fox News, CNN Talk Back Live, MSNBC News Chat, ABC World News Tonight and NPR's Morning Edition, he interfaces with reporters across the country. He is the co-producer/director of several documentaries, including the award-winning "Beneath the Skin," "Different Books, Common Word," which aired on more than 130 ABC-TV stations in early 2010, and "Sacred Texts, Social Duty." He is also the co-producer of "Gospel Without Borders," a documentary on faith and immigration. He serves on the Commission on Religious Freedom, the Commission on Social and Environmental Justice, and the Commission on Christian Ethics of the Baptist World Alliance, the world's largest Baptist body.

Stephen Fotopulos was named the second Executive Director of TIRRC in June of 2008, and previously served as Policy Director after joining the organization in 2004. He holds a Master's in public administration from the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, having completed his thesis work studying the impact of US public policy on English acquisition among immigrants. After graduate school, he served for five years as a logistics officer in the United States Navy, living and working in the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf. Stephen sits on several boards and advisory committees dealing with immigration and integration, including the Mayor's New Americans Advisory Council (Chair) in Nashville, the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (Task Force on Immigrants and Refugees), the Tennessee Supreme Court's Access to Justice Commission (Disability & Language Barriers Subcommittee), the DC-based Rights Working Group (Executive Committee), the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (Executive Committee), and the National Partnership for New Americans (Executive Committee).