Tuesday April 22, 2008

Separation of Church and State

Author Martha Nussbaum will give a talk related to her book Liberty of Conscience: In Defense of America's Tradition of Religious Equality. The New York Times called the book "a grand and penetrating discourse on religion and American law."

People who use partisan or unfair ways to restrict religion's influence in public life violate the spirit of the U.S. Constitution, according to a prominent legal scholar? who will give a talk at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 2, at the University of Dayton School of Law's Keller Hall.

A New York Times book review said Martha Nussbaum's book, Liberty of Conscience: In Defense of America's Tradition of Religious Equality, is "a grand and penetrating discourse on religion and American law.” Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund distinguished service professor of law and ethics at the University of Chicago.

The University of Dayton and the Dayton Council on World Affairs will sponsor Nussbaum's free, public talk, "Liberty of Conscience and Equal Respect: The US and Abroad."

Nussbaum recently was a guest on the PBS program Bill Moyers Journal.

According to a Publisher’s Weekly review, Liberty of Conscience does not add to the bitter disharmony around the idea of separation of church and state. Rather than pushing for strict separation, she argues for what philosopher John Rawls calls overlapping consensus, which echoes Rhode Island founder Roger Williams’ belief that citizens who differ greatly on matters of ultimate meaning can still agree to respect each other's liberty of conscience.

Nussbaum has received honorary degrees from 32 colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada, Asia and Europe. She is the founder and coordinator of the Center for Comparative Constitutionalism at the University of Chicago.

For more information, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of media relations, at 937-229-3391 or srobinson@udayton.edu.