Joseph Loconte is the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society at theHeritage Foundation, where he examines the role of religious belief in strengthening democracy and reforming civil society. Mr. Loconte previously served as deputy editor of Policy Review, where he wrote widely about religion and politics. He is especially interested in new models for church-state partnerships, efforts to protect religious liberty at home and abroad, and the relationship of Islam to democracy.
He is the editor of the forthcoming book The End of Illusions: Religious Leaders Confront Hitler’s Gathering Storm (Rowman & Littlefield, September 2004). His other book is Seducing the Samaritan: How Government Contracts Are Reshaping Social Services (Boston: Pioneer Institute, 1997), which documents the destructive impact of government funding on private charities. His most recent research studies include “The White House Initiative to Combat AIDS: Learning From Uganda” (published by the Heritage Foundation) and “Churches, Charity and Children: How Religious Organizations Are Reaching America’s At-Risk Kids,” (published by the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society). A monograph, God, Government and the Good Samaritan: The Promise and the Peril of the President’s Faith-Based Agenda, was published in 2002 by the Heritage Foundation.
Since 1996, Mr. Loconte has served as a regular commentator on religion and culture for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. He also has appeared on CBS Morning News, Fox News, and PBS’ Flashpoints — and has debated at the Oxford Union. His articles have appeared in the nation’s leading magazines and newspapers, including The Weekly Standard, The Public Interest, National Review, The American Enterprise, Christianity Today, First Things, Books and Culture, The Journal of Church and State, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Chicago Tribune. He has testified before U.S. House and Senate subcommittees on federal efforts to expand the role of faith-based poverty-fighting groups. In 1998, Mr. Loconte won the $10,000 first prize in the Amy Writing Award Program for his article “Making Criminals Pay,” which appeared in Policy Review.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Loconte earned his bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana and has a master’s degree in Christian History and Theology from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill. He lives in Washington, D.C.