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‘Newsweek's' editor to speak on ‘American Gospel'

September 21, 2006
Newsweek editor Jon Meacham looks to the religious faith of America 's founding fathers to glean insight into today's conversations and debates about the role of religion in American society.

Meacham will be on the ASU Tempe campus Sept. 26 to deliver the Jonathan and Maxine Marshall Distinguished Lecture at 7:30 p.m. in Gammage Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required.

The title of his talk – American Gospel – reflects the title of his latest book, American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation. In the book, a New York Times bestseller, Meacham tells the story of how the founding fathers viewed faith and how they ultimately created a nation in which belief in God is a matter of choice.

“In these polarized times, Meacham's book provides an enlightening look at how the founding fathers discovered ways to tame but not extinguish the fires of faith,” wrote USA Today .

Meacham also wrote Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship, another New York Times bestseller.

A Tennessee native, Meacham recently was named editor of Newsweek magazine. He previously earned distinction when he became the managing editor of the magazine at the young age of 29 and was named “one of the most influential editors in the news magazine business” by the New York Times. He began his journalism career with The Chattanooga Times .

Earlier this month, Meacham was named editor of Newsweek by chairman and editor-in-chief, Richard Smith.

“In Jon we are fortunate to have perhaps the best and brightest young editor in the business. He is a gifted writer on social, political and religious affairs, a remarkable editor and talented manager,” Smith said. “His uncanny judgment, lively intelligence and steadfast commitment to quality in print and on the Web will lead Newsweek into a bright future.”

Meacham has a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he now serves on the Board of Regents. He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University in 2005.

Meacham is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a communicant of Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, where he serves on the Vestry of the 180-year-old Episcopal parish.

Free tickets are required and available at the ASU Bookstore or may be reserved by calling (480) 965-0051 or online (

The Jonathan and Maxine Marshall Distinguished Lecture Series brings to ASU nationally known scholars concerned with promoting culture through the humanities and a better understanding of the problems of democracy. The lecture series is funded by grants from Jonathan and Maxine Marshall, retired publishers of The Scottsdale Progress and The Marshall Fund of Arizona.