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The Institute for Freedom & Community Announces April Events in Spring Series on Religion and Public Life

The Institute for Freedom & Community at St. Olaf College will host two events with religious and political scholars as part of its Spring Series on Religion and Public Life. The two-day Symposium on Religious and Political Disagreement will be held on April 20 and 21, and the panel discussion Debating Religious Freedom Today will be held on April 27.

All speaker presentations on April 20, 21, and 27 are free and open to the public. They will be livestreamed at

Symposium on Religious and Political Disagreement

Thursday, April 20 and Friday, April 21

Four distinguished scholars of religion will address issues of religious and political disagreement as they bear on (a) diversity within the Christian community largely considered, (b) differences among evangelical Christians, (c) debates arising out of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and (d) disagreements among the “world religions” (e.g., Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism) and secular perspectives in pluralistic and globalized societies. Sessions include:

Negotiating Difference Without Sacrificing Identity: Religion, Pluralism, and Globalization

Thursday, April 20 at 3:45 p.m., Tomson Hall 280 – Miroslav Volf

Volf’s lecture will focus on how we negotiate differences in pluralistic societies while remaining true to our deepest – and often tradition-based – commitments. Volf is the Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology at Yale Divinity School and the founder and director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture. His most recent books, Flourishing: Why We Need Religion in a Globalized World and Public Faith in Action: How to Think Carefully, Engage Wisely, and Vote with Integrity (co-authored with Ryan McAnnally-Linz) were released in 2016. He is actively involved in many top-level initiatives concerning Christian-Muslim relations.

Evangelicalism and Politics in the Trump Era: Definitions and Debates

Thursday, April 20 at 7 p.m., Tomson Hall 280 – Amy E. Black

Black’s talk will explore how growing divides over cultural issues – especially LGBT rights – are testing the boundaries of evangelicalism and how Donald Trump’s victory has revealed major fault lines in evangelicalism at the leadership and grassroots levels. Black is a professor of political science at Wheaton College. A recent book of hers is titled Honoring God in Red or Blue: Approaching Politics with Humility, Grace, and Reason. She regularly contributes commentary to the Christian Science Monitor and to the Center for Public Justice’s Capital Commentary.

Religious Diversity, Political Conflict, and the Spirituality of Liberation: The Voice of a Palestinian Christian

Friday, April 21 at 3:15 p.m., Tomson Hall 280 – Mitri Raheb

Raheb will…

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