• Basic Information
  • Awards & Honors
  • Publications
  • Areas of Interest
  • Professional Affiliations
  • Presentations
Brian Smith

Brian Smith

Professor of Religion Emeritus

[email protected]
Office: East 308

Basic Information


  • A.B. in History and Classical Culture, Fordham University
  • M.A. in Political Science, Columbia University
  • M.Div. in Theology, Woodstock College
  • S.T.M. in Sacred Theology and Ethics, Union Theological Seminary
  • Ph.D. Political Science, Yale University


Courses Taught

  • REL 221  Comparative World Religions
  • REL 231  History of Christian Theology and Ethics
  • REL 321  Ethics and International Affairs
  • REL 322  Religion and Politics in Comparative Perspectives
  • REL 332  Comparative Religious Ethics
  • REL 442  The Problem of God in Comparative Perspective
  • REL 451, 452   Year -Long Senior Seminar

Awards & Honors

  • Unterkofler Award, April 2018
  • ACM FACE 3 grant, with two colleagues in religious studies from Lake Forest College and Colorado College, 2015.
  • Faculty/Staff Mentor award for promoting in and out of classroom learning experiences, 2012
  • May Bumby Severy Award for Teaching Excellence, Ripon College, 1997 and 2003
  • First Place Award for Professional Books, The Catholic Press Association, (The Catholic Church and Democracy in Chili and Peru), 1998
  • Summer Research Grant, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1995
  • Research Grant, U.S. Institute for Peace, 1990-91
  • Senior Class Teaching Award, Ripon College, 1990 and 2005


  • “To heal from latest priest sex abuse revelations, Catholic Church will need secular help.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 20, 2018.
  • "Who Would Jesus Vote For?" Wisconsin State Journal, Aug. 12, 2016
  • "Muhammad Ali and His 'Greater Jihad,'" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 12, 2016, p. J4.
  • Opinion piece, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. June 29, 2015.
  • Brian H. Smith, “Los obispos y el golpe, años 1973-1975,” Mensaje (Chile) 622 (Septiembre 2013): 21-26. (article on the reaction of the Chilean Catholic bishops to the military coup of 1973, published in the Chilean Jesuit magazine, Mensaje, in an issue commemorating the 40th anniversary of military intervention in September 1973.
  • “Teaching the Devout Student: Faith and Scholarship in the Classroom,” Teaching Theology and Religion 16, 2(April 2013):132 – 149.
  • Brian H. Smith, “Religion, Politics, and the State in a Stepaneque Perspective,” in Problems Confronting Contemporary Democracies: Essays in Honor of Alfred Stepan, eds. Douglas Chalmers and Scott Mainwaring. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2012, pp. 339-80)
  • Book review of Paul Freston, Evangelicals and Politics in Asia, Africa and Latin America (Cambridge University Press, 2001) in “Political Science Quarterly,” Winter 2003
  • Religious Politics in Latin America, Pentacostal vs. Catholic, 1998
  • The Catholic Church and Democracy in Chili and Peru, 1997
  • More Than Altruism: The Politics of Private Foreign Aid, 1990
  • The Church and Politics in Chile: Challenges to Modern Catholicism, 1982

Areas of Interest

  • Comparative religions
  • Comparative religious ethics
  • Religion and politics on global perspective
  • International charities
  • Religion in Latin America

Professional/Scholarly Affiliations

American Academy of Religion (AAR)
American Academy of Religion Midwest Conference (MAAR)


  • "Religions and the Environment: Motivators for Change?" Midwest American Academy of Religion annual conference, Ball State University in Muncie, IN, March 2019.
  • Lecture series at St. Raphael the Archangel Church in Oshkosh, WI on effective moral decision making, February-March 2018
  • "What Does the Bible Say about LGBTQ?" Midwest American Academy of Religion annual conference, Ball State University in Muncie, IN, March 2018
  • Baccalaureate Address appealing for bipartisanship in addressing critical issues in our time and how a liberal arts education prepares one to analyze public challenges from multiple perspectives, First Congregational Church, Ripon, Wisconsin, May 2017
  • "Using the Bible to Bash LGBTQ?" Unitarian Fellowship congregation, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, April 2017.
  • Empathy as a Political Virtue," Open Circle Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, November 6, 2016.
  • Two presentations on origins and beliefs of Islam to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowships, Ripon, Wisconsin, July 10, 2016; Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, June 5, 2016.
  • Presentation to Badger Boys, "Religion and Politics in the United States," Ripon College, Ripon, Wisconsin, June 14, 2016.
  • Joint presentation on uses of technology in teaching religion with two colleagues from Lake Forest College and Colorado College, annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, Atlanta, Georgia, Nov. 20-24, 2015.
  • "Vatican II Today and Pope Francis' Vision for the Church," St. Mary Catholic Church, Omro, Wisconsin, Sept. 21, 2015.
  • "Religions and Contemporary Global Affairs," Prairie Lakes Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Ripon, Wisconsin, Sept. 20, 2015.