Kresta in the Afternoon – June 23, 2009 – Hour 1

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    First Topic – Iran: What’s The End Game?

    Iran's top electoral body said today it found "no major fraud" and will not annul the results of the presidential election, closing the door to a do-over sought by angry opposition supporters alleging systematic vote-rigging.

    Iranian government officials have repeatedly suggested that a revote is extremely unlikely. However, today’s announcement by Iran's top electoral body, the Guardian Council, was the clearest yet in ruling out a new election.

    The announcement on Iran's state-run English language Press TV is another sign the regime is determined to crush the post-election protests — the strongest challenge to its leadership in 30 years — rather than compromise. We talk with Middle East expert Jim Phillips.

    Second Topic – The Faith of the Founders

    Religion has been a major part of the presidency since George Washington's first inaugural address to Barak Obama’s Trinity United background. Despite the mounting interest in the role of religion in American public life, we actually know remarkably little about the faith of our presidents. Was Thomas Jefferson an atheist, as his political opponents charged? What role did Lincoln's religious views play in his handling of slavery and the Civil War? How did born-again Southern Baptist Jimmy Carter lose the support of many evangelicals? Was George W. Bush, as his critics often claim, a captive of the religious right? Gary Smith answers these questions and many more. He takes a sweeping look at the role religion has played in presidential politics and policies. Drawing on extensive archival research, Smith paints compelling portraits of the religious lives and presidencies of eleven chief executives for whom religion was particularly important. We will examine what each of its subjects believed and how those beliefs shaped their presidencies and, in turn, the course of our history.

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