Douglas A. Hicks Dean of Emory's Oxford College and William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Religion

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Areas of Expertise

  • Religion and politics
  • Political leadership
  • Religious/spiritual diversity of U.S. voters and candidates


Douglas A. Hicks is dean of Emory’s Oxford College and William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Religion. His scholarship focuses on leadership, religion in politics and the workplace, and the ethical dimensions of economic issues, and he is a frequent commentator in the media on these and other topics. 

He is the author of four books: Money Enough (2010); With God on All Sides​: Leadership in a Devout and Diverse America (2009); Religion and the Workplace (2003); and Inequality and Christian Ethics (2000). In addition, he edited, with Thad Williamson, Leadership and Global Justice (2012) and with Mark Valeri, Global Neighbors (2008). He is co-editor of the three-volume International Library of Leadership (2006) and the author of numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals ​and national newspapers.


Tenth Democratic Debate (Feb. 25, 2020)

Three candidates interpreted the debate questions about "words they live by" to talk about their faith.  The two candidates most comfortable talking about their faith—Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg— did just that. Warren, a Methodist, cited Matthew 25— the parable of the sheep and the goats— emphasizing the call of Christians to serve the poor, the sick, the hungry. Notably, she cited it in the King James Version, which might appeal to traditional Christians, including many African American voters. Buttigieg, an Episcopalian, cited Jesus' words that a leader must be a servant first and the golden rule that we should treat others as we would wish to be treated. Another Episcopalian, Tom Steyer, was less explicitly biblical in citing his faith, saying that daily he draws a cross on his hand to signify his commitment to telling the truth. Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg chose a different path to talking about the words that guide them.

Ahead of the South Carolina Democratic Debate & Primary, Tip for Candidates

The Democratic presidential candidates who have descended upon South Carolina seem to have trouble connecting with primary voters. The candidates would do well to remember the visit, in June 2015, of then-President Barack Obama, who came to Charleston for a memorial service for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was murdered alongside eight parishioners at Mother Emanuel AME church by a white supremacist. Obama eulogized Pinckney with the themes of hope and grace, while confronting racism and comforting the people. In a remarkable moment of religion and politics, President Obama broke into singing Amazing Grace. Candidates should watch the video of this event as required reading to understand how leaders understand their followers and their contexts.

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