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2012 News Releases

Bestselling religious author and political commentator to speak at Longwood

January 31, 2012

Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer, a bestselling religious author and political commentator, will speak Thursday, Feb. 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Blackwell Ballroom on "Crazy for God: Navigating Politics & Faith."

The title of Schaeffer's talk is taken from his 2007 memoir, Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of it Back. The talk, which will be followed by a question and answer period, is part of a public lecture series, "Faith, Duty, Citizenship...and the Cost of Changing one's Mind," that is being presented in conjunction with Hampden-Sydney College.

Schaeffer also will speak at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 9 in H-SC's Johns Auditorium on "God, Sex, & Mom." That title is taken from another autobiographical book by Schaeffer, Sex, Mom, & God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics - How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway.

"This lecture series will examine the role in religion in American politics," said Dr. Steven Isaac, associate professor of history at Longwood, the chief coordinator for Schaeffer's appearance at Longwood. "Frank Schaeffer was there at the creation of the American Religious Right, and his parents were major evangelists in the 1970s and early '80s. I have been in touch with him since around 2008."

Crazy for God and Sex, Mom, & God and another Schaeffer book, Patience with God, form what Isaac called a "trilogy of memoirs." Schaeffer is the son of the the late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer, and his wife, Edith Seville Schaeffer, still living and herself a prominent Christian author. Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984) was a 1935 Hampden-Sydney College graduate.

Novelist Jane Smiley, reviewing Crazy for God in the Washington Post in July 2011, said that Schaeffer is "a good memoirist, smart and often laugh-out-loud funny...He seems to have been born irreverent, but his memoirs have a serious purpose, and that is to expose the insanity and the corruption of what has become a powerful and frightening force in American politics...he has been straightforward and entertaining in his campaign to right the political wrongs he regrets committing in the 1970s and '80s...As someone who had made redemption his work, he has, in fact, shown amazing grace."

Journalist and author Max Blumenthal has called Schaeffer's book Sex, Mom, & God  "a penetrating analysis of political extremism, with a moving and at times hilarious account of growing up in one of the Christian right's most influential families. Few writers command Frank Schaeffer's intimate understanding of right-wing radicalism, and even fewer are able to share their insight as entertainingly and with as much moral weight as he has."

Schaeffer, who lives near Boston, also is a film director, screenwriter and novelist. "He's done almost too much in his lifetime," Isaac said with a laugh.

Sponsors for Schaeffer's appearance at Longwood and Hampden-Sydney include the American Democracy Project, Longwood's Department of History, Political Science & Philosophy, H-SC's Department of Religion, and the Longwood chapters of InterVarsity Fellowship and the Secular Student Alliance. Parking for the public will be available in the Wheeler lot.

Poster for the Public Lecture by Frank Schaeffer