Center for American Progress

The Politics of Jesus: A Conversation with Dr. Obery Hendricks
Press Advisory

The Politics of Jesus: A Conversation with Dr. Obery Hendricks

Dynamic discussion on the crossroads of religion and politics

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tomorrow, the Center for American Progress will host a dynamic discussion with Dr. Obery M. Hendricks, author, The Politics of Jesus.  The conversation promises to dissect the correlation between religion, politics and the future relationship between the two.

Featured Participants:
Dr. Obery M. Hendricks, Jr., Author, The Politics of Jesus and Professor of Biblical Interpretation, New York Theological Seminary
Melody C. Barnes, Executive Vice President for Policy, Center for American Progress

Thursday, April 5, 2007
Program: 12:30pm to 2:00pm
Admission is free.
Lunch will be served at noon.

RSVP for this Event

Center for American Progress
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Dr. Obery M. Hendricks, Jr. is among the most radical and innovative biblical scholars in America. The Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation calls his work “the boldest post-colonial writing ever seen in Western biblical studies.” His study, “The Problem with Gospel Music Today,” has been anthologized as one of “the greatest writings on the music of the African American church in the last century.”

“[E]ssential reading for Americans” is what Jon Meacham, the managing editor of Newsweek, wrote in The Washington Post about Hendricks’ latest book, The Politics of Jesus. Social critic Michael Eric Dyson calls it “an instant classic” that “immediately thrusts Hendricks into the front ranks of American religious thinkers.” His novel, Living Water, was chosen as Best Christian Fiction of 2003 by Black Issues Book Review.

A widely sought speaker, lecturer, and media commentator, Hendricks is a featured writer for and He is a member of the Faith Advisory Council for the Democratic National Committee and an Ordained Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

A former Wall Street investment executive and past president of Payne Theological Seminary, the oldest African American theological seminary in the United States, Hendricks is currently Professor of Biblical Interpretation at New York Theological Seminary. He holds the Master of Divinity with academic honors from Princeton Theological Seminary and both the M.A. and Ph.D. in Religions of Late Antiquity from Princeton University. He is a principal commentator in The Oxford Annotated Bible, one of the most widely used academic study Bibles in the English-speaking world, and a contributing editor to The Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion.

Hendricks’ trailblazing contributions to American religious discourse are summarized by Cornel West: “Obery Hendricks is not just on the cutting edge, he is the knife!”

Melody C. Barnes is the Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress, where she coordinates and helps to integrate all of the Center’s policy work from the policy departments, fellows, and the Center’s network of outside policy experts.

From December 1995 until March 2003, Ms. Barnes served as chief counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) on the Senate Judiciary Committee. As Kennedy’s chief counsel, she shaped civil rights, women’s health and reproductive rights, commercial, and religious liberties laws, as well as executive branch and judicial appointments. Ms. Barnes’ experience also includes an appointment as Director of Legislative Affairs for the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and serving as assistant counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights. During her tenure with the Subcommittee, she worked closely with members of Congress and their staffs to pass the Voting Rights Improvement Act of 1992, which was signed into law.

Ms. Barnes began her career as an attorney with Shearman & Sterling in New York City and is a member of both the New York State Bar Association and the District of Columbia Bar Association. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of The Constitution Project, EMILY’s List, The Maya Angelou Public Charter School, and The Moriah Fund. She received her law degree from the University of Michigan and her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from which she graduated with honors in history.