About Gary S. Smith

Dr. Gary Scott Smith is the retired chair of the history department at Grove City College and is a fellow for faith and politics with the Institute for Faith and Freedom. He is the author of "A History of Christianity in Pittsburgh" (2018), "Suffer the Children" (2017), "Religion in the Oval Office" (Oxford University Press, 2015), “Faith and the Presidency From George Washington to George W. Bush” (Oxford University Press, 2009), "Religion in the Oval Office" and “Heaven in the American Imagination” (Oxford University Press, 2011).

Explaining the Mystique of Donald Trump

How can we explain the surprising electoral success of Donald Trump, especially in light of his lack of political experience, limited knowledge of and specificity about policy issues, and crude and insulting rhetoric? Who supports him and why do they … Continue reading

The Faith of Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio is relying in part on his Christian faith in his quest to win the Republican nomination for president. The Florida senator recently hired a director of faith outreach, assembled a religious advisory committee, has been interviewed in Christianity … Continue reading

Trump and Evangelicals: Strange Bedfellows

Donald Trump, who has been leading the national polls for the Republican nomination since this past summer, has strong support among evangelicals. Given Trump’s beliefs, lifestyle, crude language, and some of his positions on issues, this is baffling. As Jonathan … Continue reading

Presidents and Thanksgiving

Responding to a request from Congress, President George Washington issued our nation’s first Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789. Only in the midst of the crucible of civil war, however, did presidential proclamations of Thanksgiving become customary. Every year since 1863 our … Continue reading

Barack Obama and the Grace of God

President Barack Obama’s remarkable eulogy for Clementa Pinckney, the pastor of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, one of the nine victims of the recent tragic shooting there, has again called attention to the president’s often misunderstood faith. … Continue reading

John Adams and American Independence

As we celebrate our independence and astounding development from a fledging nation to the world’s superpower, we should applaud the extraordinary contributions of numerous founders. One of them whose accomplishments are often overlooked is John Adams. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, … Continue reading

V&V Q&A – “Religion in the Oval Office”

Editor’s note: The “V&V Q&A” is an e-publication from The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. In this latest edition, professor of political science and executive director of the Center—Dr. Paul Kengor—interviews the chair of the history department at Grove … Continue reading

Does the Faith of Presidents Matter?

Last month we celebrated the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, two presidents whose deep but somewhat unconventional faith has evoked great debate. Does the faith of presidents truly matter? Does it significantly affect how they think, live, and govern?  … Continue reading

Is heaven for real?

The movie “Heaven Is for Real,” based on The New York Times bestseller of the same name, made an impressive debut last week. The film recounts the near-death experience (NDE) of then 4-year-old Colton Burpo as told by his father, … Continue reading

Recent presidents and religious liberty

American presidents have played a major role in fostering religious liberty at home and abroad. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison strongly supported the separation of church and state and freedom of worship. Washington used his enormous influence as both commander in … Continue reading

Remembering John F. Kennedy

Few events in American history have brought more sorrow, grief and confusion than the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Astounded by the intensity of Americans’ reactions, a British journalist wrote, “One would think that one was … Continue reading